It’s impossible for a foreigner between the ages of 20 to 40 to visit Amman and avoid ending up grabbing over-priced beers at Books@café.
The bookshop with its restaurant/bar upstairs has become the epitome of the crowd of young and not-so-young, but nonetheless hip Ammanites (the term they themselves actually prefer since it connotes “parasites”…) and actually was the one place that started the whole gentrification process that’s currently unfolding beneath our very eyes. It was opened by two artist brothers in 1996; one openly gay (as open as you can get in Jordan), the other I have no clue about, although he wears a fez. The new thing about this bar (aside from its very gay friendly ambiance) was that the waiters were as cool as – if not cooler – than the patrons. And they were all aspiring writers, musicians, painters, whathaveyous. Now, for reasons I still haven’t excavated, these waiters all rented cheap flats in the surrounding neighborhood, hence up-ing the hip factor.
Oh, and they do still sell books downstairs, believe it or not. More to follow, soon.