If Mar Mikhael is the more young, hip and trendy neighborhood in Beirut, then Saifi Village is the more quaint, upscale and artsy one - that's for sure.
Saifi Village went from an area completely destroyed during the Lebanese war to what is known today as Le Quartier des Arts, or The Arts Quarter. It's a small but very special little neighborhood in the heart of Beirut.
Its architecture is French-colonial-reminiscent, boasting beautiful town houses, cobblestone streets, and the hippest array of local fashion stores and designers, furniture designers, restaurants, and coffee shops. Oh, and its mainly a pedestrian area so you'll be able to enjoy walking around without having to worry about cars creeping up on you.
15 Local Fashion Destinations
Saifi Village is one of Beirut's shopping districts that hosts a whole range of homegrown fashion designers and local fashion stores - which are most typically multibrand boutiques stocking up unique designs from cities like Paris and Australia. The neighborhood is fairly easy to navigate but some stores are situated on the outer streets of the village (i.e. Dina Jsr), so make sure to walk around the whole area.
Here is a comprehensive list of 15 local fashion stores and designers (listed in alphabetical order) that are situated in Saifi Village. If you're looking to shop unique pieces in Beirut, you can't miss this.
P.S: We also included two of our favorite restaurants/coffee shops in Saifi Village that you don’t want your taste buds to miss.
This local production house is founded by two women known for their textile expertise, devotion to tradition, and for putting a twist on time-tested designs; bringing the old to the new. They sell everything from rugs to home decor items, but you'll find kaftans and shawls there too.
Cream is one of the very first local fashion multibrand boutiques that opened in Saifi Village. Still standing proudly, it's safe to say that Cream has a pretty big fan-base. The owners travel to Paris and other cities every year to bring back cool, super-trending, and original fashion items.
3. Dany Atrache
Dany Atrache is a French-Lebanese fashion designer who launched his first line in Beirut in 2000. Four years later he hosted his first private fashion show in Paris and then he launched his first pret-a-porter collection in 2007. Atrache also designs bridal so be sure to check him out if you're on the lookout for wedding gowns. His atelier is located in Saifi Village but call them before you drop by as they host clients by appointment only.
4. Dina Jsr
Dina Jsr is a womenswear brand made for working women in urban environments. Based in Paris, Jsr's designs incorporate organic shades, sculptural volumes, a daily, elegant shield that shelters and empowers the woman inside. She's one of our young Lebanese designers that designs pret-a-porter collections that you can actually wear every day.
5. Johnny Farah
This eponymous label is renowned internationally (having a flagship store in New York and selling in other major fashion cities), but what makes it even more special is that all Johnny Farah pieces are all produced in Lebanon. Another interesting aspect that makes Johnny an inimitable designer is the way his accessories are made: as cited they are “molded from premium quality vegetable-tanned hides that age beautifully, giving more character to the piece.”
6. L'Atelier C by Cherine Khadra
L'Atelier C by Cherine Khadra is the first address in Saifi Village to design custom tailor-made clothing. Cherine believes that the custom-made clothing experience is an enriching one that truly highlights the personality of her client. She is personally known to believe that there is “No need for embellishment, elegance lies in simplicity.” Atelier C caters to women but also men who are in pursuit of the perfect suit.
7. L'Atelier Nawbar
L’Atelier Nawbar is based on a beautiful oxymoron: unconventionality and tradition. The two lovely Nawbar sisters and owners make it their goal to always capture that contrast in their collections of fine jewelry. Their jewelry is really worth taking a look at, and they can always customize designs for you based on your preferences.
8. Label Queen
From high street to high end, Label Queen's concept gathers various brands and designers from around the globe and is always updated with the fashion scene. We are big fans of this place ourselves and always end up there when looking for cool formal outfits to wear for nice dinners and weddings.
9. Leanna’s Boutique
This store is in continuous quest for the latest trends from the fashion capitals of the world. Leanna's collections embrace individuality, femininity and elegance. We love going to Leanna's to hunt down both casual every day wear as well as formal wear, you will find it all there. Also you won't find duplicates of the same piece so you'll leave knowing that you may be the only one wearing that dress around town.
10. Milia M
“More is less” is the mantra/slogan in the creations of Milia Maroun, the designer behind the brand, which strike as contemporary feminine designs that wrap the silhouette with multiple folds and openings. Milia M is definitely a brand for the sophisticated woman who knows what she wants, who wants to look stylish but also wants to be comfortable in her clothing.
Oumnia by Nivine Maktabi is an oriental store with a modern twist: "Simply Fashion for Floors and Walls”. However you can find pashminas and kaftans that are sinfully warm with unique and delicate embroidery, irresistible to wear that can meet today’s fashion trends with gorgeous colors.
This boutique sells one of a kind jewelry made by young Lebanese jewelry artists. The designers have a modern take on precious pearls from all over the world (i.e. high quality Japanese Akoyas, South Sea and Fresh Water Pearls) while keeping their timeless elegancy.
13. Randa Tabbah
A jewelry designer portraying the cutting edge of modern design, Randa Tabbah simply and creatively, handcrafts individually most of her pieces ranging from semi-precious stones to organic shapes, and rough textures.
Devoted to young designers in Lebanon, the inspiring concept of the space is the constant rotation of new ideas and debut collections which are showcased temporarily after being chosen by a committee that selects 4 to 6 designers each year. This may be the place where you'll find the most original designs as the collections are usually the first-ever to debut of the designers showcasing there.
15. Trunk Concept Store
This multibrand and multipurpose concept store is addressed for men that are all about the jet set life. Trunk sells handpicked fashion from internationally recognized, emerging, and even local designers that are displayed in a notably dark store that doesn’t give you the feel of a boutique but of an urban living space.
Here are two unmissable coffee/food destinations that we love and that we highly recommend you visit while shopping in Saifi Village.
Balima: You can't miss Balima, it's the only coffee shop/restuarant in the middle of Saifi Village's square. It's a super cute place where you can stop for a shopping break and grab a coffee or a quick bite. It's always buzzing with people at different times of the day and it's a really chill vibe, stop there for sure.
Meat The Fish: Now if you're any type of meat or fish lover, you absolutely have to eat at Meat the Fish. Even if you're not in the neighborhood, you have to make it a point to eat there at some point. At 10:30am it opens as a market, where you can pick from a selection of fresh fish and various meat cuts to take home. Lunch starts around 11:30am offering daily specials that include a variety of composed salads, sandwiches, freshly shucked oysters, Crudos & Ceviches, as well as signature dishes. You can't reserve there, it's first come first serve basis so keep that in mind.