In a part of Beirut where every bar needs a USP to stay afloat, Central Station describes itself, somewhat obliquely, as a ‘boutique bar’. What this seems to mean in practice is a fashionable venue with classy modern designs and some smashing cocktails: somewhere to get gracefully tipsy, not embarrassingly hammered. A glistening polished bar runs down the long, thin room, which is framed by iron and glass walls that bring to mind a renovated train carriage. Cocktails are the order of the day; alongside the usual suspects, you’ll also find some more esoteric concoctions courtesy of the bar's globetrotting mixologists. There's also an appropriately posh food menu, which tends toward the sushi and halloumi end of the spectrum – if you're after burgers and beer, you're way off-piste.
Beer is certainly cheaper and arak offers a shorter path to inebriation, but in this city the cosmopolitan tippler walks no further than the nearest cocktail bar. Beirut’s seemingly insatiable thirst for cocktails is no mere fad: for some time now, chic lounge bars have dominated the main drags in nightlife hotspots like Mar Mikhael, serving everything from daiquiris and margaritas to more esoteric potions (an Ernest Hemingway, anyone?). These are ideally sipped to a soundtrack of on-trend electro beats, and most of the bars below double up as DJ venues on weekends – though Y Cocktail Bar goes for a different tack with its unabashedly naff Karaoke Thursdays. Whichever one you end up in, you're guaranteed some fun and fine drinking.