The bar at the Baron Hotel: A drink with history
It doesn't exactly jump - where in Aleppo does? but everyone who comes to Aleppo ends up at the Baron Hotel at some stage. With its rather seedy air of faded clubbiness, and the history of the place in your mind, it's not a bad place to spend an hour or two one evening over a drink and a few peanuts.
If you ask, you will be shown the rooms upstairs. Once everyone who passed through Aleppo on the Orient Express stayed here - the rich, the famous and the royal. Then it was possible to shoot duck from the terrace which overlooked a swamp as the hotel was so far out of the centre of town. Today the road outside is jammed with traffic and lurid cinema hoardings give the street a sleazy air. Inside it feels like a time warp. The big rooms upstairs are more likely to be empty than occupied, but if nostalgia is your thing, they are very evocative of another time and you could do worse than spend a night there.
A drink at Baron Hotel
Baron Hotel was built in 1909 and was once one of the best hotels in Middle East. Many famous guests have been staying here, like T.E. Lawrence, Charles Lindbergh, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Agatha Christie (she wrote the first part of Murder on the Orient Express here).
Now it has lost much of its former glory, but the bar is a nice place to visit for a drink or two. I had a Campari with orange juice, which was very good!
Baron Street: Bars and a beer
Pubs and clubs are thin on the ground in Aleppo. There are a few bars - notably in the Baron Hotel, some of the hotels in the Christian Quarter and places like the Cham - and there is a large open-air bar on Sharia ash-Shohada.
The bars in the Beit Wakil Hotel and the Dar Zamaria are little cavey places in the cellars - they'd have more atmosphere if more people went to them but they do serve a good range of drinks, including imported beers or you could share a bottle of Lebanese wine. Syrian wine is generally to be avoided.
Aleppo beer wouldn't win any prizes, there's a bit of a glycerine aftertaste to it, but a chilled bottle does go down well after a long day of sight-seeing
Sheraton's Piccadilly: It's an English pub, silly.
As the name suggests, it's an English pub, or rather Sheraton Aleppo's version of one. Since the hotel's soft opening in February 2007, Piccadilly is fast becoming the official watering hole of Aleppo's moneyed scions - but they don't seem like spoiled brats to me, at least the ones I've met here.
The bar plays some good tunes, albeit a bit outdated, and the waiters and bar tenders will win you over with their friendliness. If you get the good fortune of meeting the head chef of their Asian restaurant - a Filipino named Numeriano - who's very popular with the local crowd here, he might send you a plate of yummy sushi and sashimi, for free.
Dress Code: None
Baron Hotel bar: Faded but fun
Baron Hotel is perhaps Aleppo's most historical and its bar is a place of pilgrimage of sorts for TE Lawrence's fans. Although I'm no fan of his (of TE Lawrence, that is), I still decided to check out the bar for some beers - Efes, the famous Turkish beer, in this case (the other option was Stella, Egypt's flagship beer).
I actually liked the friendly and laidback vibe of the place, but didn't feel anything different (or weird) about its historical significance. It was nice that there were some other friendly tourists to chat with. Overall, a fun night.
Dress Code: None
Beit Sissi bar: Interesting underground bar
Beit Sissi does not only have a great restaurant, but also an interesting bar located underground in cavernous former cellars. Unfortunately, the place was empty when I went there so I left after taking a few snaps for this tip, and went back to Piccadilly where the crowds seem to have all moved.
With the thick warm cushions, the place looks and feels comfy. But what is more interesting are the reliefs on the walls. What do you see?
- Wine Tasting
- Beer Tasting
Baron Hotel: drinks on the terrace
I never stayed at the Baron hotel, as I had an apartment all of the time I lived in Aleppo. But, I often used to go there to drink beer with friends at night. Most Thursday nights, Aleppo's international community meets there for drinks on the terrace. Some nights, overland tour groups from Europe are also there.
The hotel bar, which is just inside the entrance, on the left, is usually empty, as most people prefer to sit on the terrace.
- Beer Tasting
- Road Trip
- Work Abroad
Citadel from "Amir Palace Tower" like Greek Oracle: Sleepless Aleppo!!!
People in Aleppo in general sleeps at 5.00am
so the impression is always that the city is sleepless.
you can watch and enjoy the view of the Citadel while having Diner in the tower of hotel "Amir Palace" it's wonderful
Dress Code: No Cocka Cola..no Mc.Donalds...
but real Orient food and fast local food like "Shawourma"
and local cola like "Ugarite".
Sissi House: Fun Bar/Restaurant
Sissi House is known to be one of the best restaurants in Aleppo. Given our short stay in Aleppo in December 2006, we were unable to have dinner at Sissi House, but chose instead to have pre-dinner cocktails at the bar. Sissi House is located in a 17th century mansion and like many in the neighbourhood, it has a cavernous basement with stone walls and vaulted ceilings, where the bar is located. This is definitely a fun place for cocktails and the intriguing frescoes on the walls are a great conversation piece! It goes to show how liberal Syria can be...
Update: I had dinner at Sissi House in March 2008. Please read my restaurant tip for an account of the experience.
- Wine Tasting
- Beer Tasting
- Food and Dining
bimaristan arghan: mystical whirling dervishes
OK let's start from the beginning... there are still a handful of whirling dervishes in Syria, not many.. so it's down to a bit of luck to have the opportunity to see them dancing. At least 2 of these groups are baased in the Aleppo area, and one of them occasionally performs in the olf hospital/asylum Bimaristan Arghan. The best way to find out about dances is to drop by the hospital during the day and inquire there. I was lucky: I had the pleasure to see the dervishes on New Years Eve 2002/03! Magical! They charged 500 Syrian pounds for the performance
Dress Code: Dressed... and since it's open air, if you're there in winter, dress very warmly!
Aleppo Jazz Festival: meet the president!
Aleppo hosts an annual jazz festival every July. The free concerts are held in the citadel's amphitheatre. One of the sponsors of the festival is the president's wife, so the president usually attends the final night. I was sitting just ten seats away from President Bashar al-Assad and, along with a group of reporters, managed to take a photograph of him. He was smiling and relaxed. But, his bodyguard was not.
The musicians at the festival come from Europe, North America and Syria, and play a lot of Arab-jazz fusion music.
- Road Trip
In-Out Cafe: Fell Home,really good coffee makes good mood
I visit the place frequently with my friends,what I like the most about it that it's so calm with selected music played. The enterance will charm you for sure a wall of cups,yes and inside it's like many living rooms with very comfortale seats and couchs..
it's a self service cafe,but the luxury of every thing,the amazing simple decotarion makes you stay at least twice the period you wanted to stay..the Espresso was great.
it's a perfect place to have conversation,business conversations and deals, friends meeting and couples searching for a relaxing cafe away from crowds and no Shisha is alouded.
free interent (unlimited hours) so I bring my laptop sometimes and coffee is served with so many falvours..I loved it.
for foriegns ,you can take a taxi from city center to the cafe for only 25 syrian liras (0.5$)
you should expect expensive prices,around 80 SL for each popular drinks but I'm still so glad to pay.
Dress Code: As it's almost home ,you can wear wahtever you want no bounderies,liberty community ,no hassales...
- Luxury Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
baron hotel bar: drinking in gothic surroundings
The Baron hotel is a real institution... gothic, mysterious, spooky, and maybe slightly melanchonic-looking... but it's a great wonderful place to go fro a few drinks in the evening. The bar is really tiny and cosy - and it's very easy to meet other travellers. If this is not enough for you, then think about the fact that the likes of Lawrence of Arabia, Agatha Christie, Roosevelt and Yuri Garaging have all stayed and drank there. Not enough? Well, then think of former royalties: King Gustav & Queen Louise of Sweden; King Faysal I of Iraq; Queen Ingrid of Denmark, and so on and so forth. And btw, in case you are wondering: no, it's not a posh or snobby place to go... so try it!
Dress Code: casual is more than fine.
Me and Fouad....
it was the first person I met in Aleppo and really thank you Fouad for your help and your hospitality, we had a great dinner in a restaurant together and I will never forget these moments, I love Aleppo.....
Sharia ash-Shohada Open Air Bar: bars
Sharia ash-Shohada Open Air Bar
This large outdoor bar is located on Ash-Shohada Street. It offers both international and local beers. You can also try top quality Lebanese wines here.
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia and Jon Sullivan