Starbucks Growing Its Empire in Beirut
The Starbucks empire in Lebanon is growing. A few weeks ago, the worldwide coffee chain put up move-in posters at an outlet on Zaitunay Bay, right next to Classic Burger Joint. And just today I confirmed that another Starbucks branch will be occupying the former spot of Cafe M in Beirut Souks.
Cafe M belonged to Beirut Hospitality Group, which encompasses Relais Foch, The Garden, Momo at the Souks, Grid and Grid Le Resto. It closed its doors nearly a month ago.
There's a prominent two-story Starbucks less than 500m away in the nearby Nejmeh Square across from Al Balad restaurant. Perhaps everything in that historic star-shaped quartier has buckled or is on its way there amid the latest economic lull seizing Lebanon, but Starbucks has proven untouchable. A popular hangout for students, professionals, and American coffee lovers in general, Starbucks is distinctive in that it is a self-serve cafe. Guests are encouraged to curl up with a book and make themselves at home, not having to fear being hassled by Starbucks staff. And few other establishments in Lebanon can attest to that.
Starbucks in Beirut Souks would actually mark the presence of the second foreign-born beverage chain (after Dunkin Donuts) in the outdoor commercial complex. The other cafés have been exclusively Lebanese makes.