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Beirut baristas try to revive city’s once vibrant cafe culture


In the years before Beirut was struck by civil war, the city was known for its vibrant cafe culture that attracted intellectuals from across the Arab world.

The tables that spilled out on to the pavements of Hamra Street were a hub for academics, students, writers and artists, who would sip thick Arabic coffee and argue into the night.

“It was a magical time,” says Cesar Nammour, 81, who was an art collector in the 1960s and frequented them often. “It was mostly about the companionship. We used to meet there after going to the movies in the evening, to talk and discuss ideas.”

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