BEIRUT: For many Lebanese American University students, their getaway is ten meters away – it is the stationary store Malik’s whose café has made the place a popular hangout.
This particular venue is an amenable spot where students can eat, study, smoke, and socialize. Among the plastic tables can be found every student type from the indie type boasting a hipster beard to the more typical LAU male student, sporting Raybans, AE, and sweatpants, while the women are attired in leggings, or ripped jeans or occasionally a "hippie" style, long, cotton print dress.
There is no music in the background, other than friends playing tunes off their phones. most often Ed Sheeran.
The walls invariably are adorned with Malik's latest promos ads, and most iconic of all, the ubiquitous Wi-Fi Logo. Laptopers, smokers, and eaters, inhabit the first floor while the second floor is devoted to the stationary store that is Malik's mainstay.
Yara Mehdi, a Graphic Design third-year student says that she has spent the majority of her leisure time at Malik’s upper gate because the social atmosphere there made her loyal to the place.
Almost every student at LAU has at least a ten-minute break between every class. And, amid a busy academic schedule, a great number of students like to hit the venue during their break-time.
Students noted for Annahar that this particular place is their “perfect escape.”
Other than being a coffee shop that serves everything visitors might think of from sandwiches, tea, fruits, and chocolate to cigarettes. The cafe transports the mindset of the university’s students by virtue of allowing them to socialize and unwind.
Given its near proximity to campus, it has for some students become the default place to drop by during breaks, being part café, bookstore, tech-supply shop, and printing service.
According to the habitués of the office-supply venue, it has become a key locale on both the academic and community level since students have opted to gather socially and to also study there. Students also reported finding it easier holding long conversations at the locale, instead of staying on campus the entire day.
Malik’s first became labeled as a getaway because of its liberal smoking policy. Given that LAU prohibits smoking inside the campus, many rush to the shop especially when it is raining. There, they can light up a cigarette in the midst of their ongoing conversations.
Ghina Mohsen, a graduate tells Annahar, “Malik’s is a smoking space and that is exactly why I preferred to stay there and avoided having restrictions during my free time.”
But there are also many students, who opt to take advantage of the campus’ coffee shop, where they also can hang, talk and socialize - anything but smoke.
“I don’t smoke, so I don’t see a reason why I would leave the campus and do the same things I can do inside the university’s campus,” said a student to Annahar.
Very few students tend to enroll in summer courses and thus very few students are on the campus, but that does not stop Malik’s.
"Disregarding profitability, we are a brand that aims to serve even if at our cost. For that even if fewer students are available during summer, we are always open as many of the remaining students on campus rely on us and we cannot let them down by being not available,” said the marketing executive of Malik’s to Annahar.
The LAU stationer is one of the 21 Malik’s franchises located throughout Lebanon, with this particular locale being the only office-supply store to feature a café.
Sitting in the upper-gate stationary there are overheard snippets of conversation, weaving an informal poetry; the scraping of chairs, fast inhaling of smokes as they are lit, sipping of coffee and the tapping of laptops and phone keyboards. It is the ambient noise of a student café.
“It’s like the school library except here you can have food, cigarettes and be loud,” Maha Serhal told Annahar.
An-Nahar is not responsible for the comments that users post below. We kindly ask you to keep this space a clean and respectful forum for discussion.