Whether you are a six-pack drinker or have six-pack abs, if you are getting hammered tonight, the likely case is that you will be having a fourth meal. Fact: Alcohol consumption significantly triggers your appetite and makes you eat more. In a recent study conducted in the United Kingdom, a group of men drank twelve ounces of a non-alcoholic lager. Another group of men drank the same lager spiked with about two drinks worth of alcohol. Even though the alcoholic lager contained more calories itself, men ate thirty percent more calories after drinking it—despite the fact that they didn’t report higher appetites than the other group. It is an inevitable equation: post-drinking equals food binging. And not just any type of food.
No one has ever drunkenly craved a salad. This is not a matter of subjectivity or taste buds. There is actually a scientific explanation behind drunken munchies. A recent study conducted by Purdue University found that moderate consumption of alcohol enhances the taste of salt and fat.
Beirut might have a notorious reputation outside the Middle East for being the place with al the burning tires, but it is also the one city that knows how to party. If you happen to be in Beirut, you are most likely going to end up with a growling stomach barely past midnight. Here’s a little secret that only Beirut foodies in the know would be acquainted with: The key word and solution to inevitable alcohol munchies is one, and only one: Barbar.
Barbar opened in 1982 in the midst of the civil war. What started out as a small bakery in the popular area of Hamra is now one of the biggest fast food restaurants in Lebanon. The main branch is strategically located in Beirut’s version of London’s Oxford Street, called Piccadilly Street. The street is more commonly known as Hamra Main Street. Barbar is a large and always busy outlet, regardless of the time of the day or day of the week. The venue’s location is associated with failure in people’s minds, as the mega snack eatery overtakes the area with its imposing size, varied menu and thus massive clientele, leaving little room for competition with other nearby snacks. Barbar's variety and quality of food is appealing to a large platform of clients with different tastes and preferences. The snack therefore caters to a large number of people, with orders reaching 2000 sandwiches a day, and that’s without home deliveries. Barbar specializes in Falafels, Manakich, Shawarma and juices. The food list is infinite. Picture any sandwich you fancy, any ingredient you are craving, any dressing you want, you have it, all at Barbar’s. It is more than safe to say that there is something for everyone.
However the Barbar family did not strike gold overnight, nor did they embark randomly on this journey. The Barbar proprietaries thoroughly looked into the Lebanese hospitality market and the consumer mindset in the country. They then identified the right concept and location for their investment, and spotted an opportunity lying there at the time. Exhaustive research indicated that the Hamra district was the best location suited for Barbar, due to the large concentration of Lebanese residents there as well as the abundance of snack restaurants. The area also benefits from the economics of proximity. Studies have proven that Lebanese citizens attribute a considerable amount of attention to the display of food and meticulously scrutinize presentation details. In order to respond completely to their target customers’ needs and wants, Barbar invested a lot in the food’s display. Barbar has a variety of meats on display, ready to be grilled for sandwiches, each making you drool even if you have just eaten. Having fully understood the Lebanese clientele, Barbar keeps on expanding and preserving its legacy, without possibility of competition.
Another asset that Barbar has, aside from its strategic location and its mouthwatering displays, is that it is a timeless eatery. Barbar is open 24 hours, 7 days a week. Don’t be fooled by the almost zero figure price of the sandwich, as one sandwich costs on average around 1.5 pounds. In Barbar, the smaller the figure, the tastier the experience.
You simply cannot visit the city that never sleeps, and embark on a midnight adventure without stopping by the Barbar landmark. Park your car nearby, and smell the inviting aromas in the area. The task is easy, as there are numerous parking spaces in the neighborhood. You could either drive by and pick up a sandwich, or have it on the sidewalk whilst conversing with other people. Even if you had one drink too many, and you can’t remember what your night was like, rest assured that you will remember what that sandwich tasted like. The chicken shawarma is an inevitable specialty. Not only does Barbar provide an unforgettable culinary experience, but it also is an occasion for one to socialize with other people, whilst munching on delicious Lebanese snacks. Do not let this epitome of the Beirut escape you. Remember before you have that one shot too many one quintessential word: Barbar.