Armenia Street, Mar Mikhayel Beirut, Lebanon
Taking its name from the old Beirut station that once stood nearby, Central Station’s location has a raw energy that suggests it’s still the centre of the action. The space elegantly combines dark wood with quirky touches, such as the railway carriage wheels suspended from the ceiling, while a long, focal-point bar runs the length of the room. Behind this is a team that’s smart in both appearance (resplendent in bespoke waistcoat/jacket hybrids) and in its ability to deliver some very creative drinks.
The menu is an appealing balance of humour and flavour, with a nice emphasis on taking something that feels familiar and reimagining it with a contemporary edge. A word on those drinks: they might have fun names but they are seriously good cocktails. Importantly, the team knows exactly how to hit the sweet spot of mixing up concoctions that appeal to both the party crowd and the slightly more serious drinker – just one of the reasons Central Station is the Best Bar in the Middle East & Africa, sponsored by Botran.