Chidiac says: “This gathering of venues creates an economics of proximity − or clustering, as known in the science of the restaurant business − whereby similar concepts exist next to each other to create an F&B and nightlife destination.”
Not all venues have been successful, with restaurants and bars opening and then closing over the years. But others have stood the test of time and are still here today.
Chidiac says professionalism and location help to underpin a restaurant’s continuing success, as does the conceptualization of an entity, strong business plan, and brand strategy and identity. There are other aspects too, such as the architecture and interior design, and communication strategies that include marketing and public relations (PR).
But is this enough to guarantee the success of Mar Mikhael as a dining and nightlife hub in the long term? To ensure its continuing popularity, Chidiac believes the answer is in the attractiveness of rental fees and leaseholds.
“It was the less expensive rents that attracted businesses in the first place,” he said.
The fact that rents have shot up over the years hasn’t been enough to dampen Mar Mikhael’s vibrant spirit or prevent newcomers from continuing to open businesses.
Another reason for the area’s success is down to its traditional architectural fabric of low-rise Levantine buildings that give the area its bohemian feel. Yes, new high rises have appeared or are in the process of being built, but these tend to be on existing vacant lots, with just a small number of traditional buildings being lost to regeneration purposes.
Chidiac believes if developers keep out, then Mar Mikhael will continue to boom as an F&B and nightlife destination. “The interest of major developers remains at its lowest. Any regeneration will massively change the identity of the neighborhood and negatively affect any current investments in the area,” he says.