Centrale Restaurant and Bar
May 11, 2018
The fairly dull name may be the epitome of unimaginativeness, but there’s nothing dull or unimaginative about the architecture, design and French cuisine at Centrale. From its retractable roof to its long, dark tunnel bar with the view of the lights and water of Beirut below, the stunning interior is as elegant and upmarket as any in the world. The original building dates back to the 1920s but it was overhauled with the new roof and design-bar in 2001 and is now a two-storey space that offers a choice of fine dining and relaxed drinking until the early hours. Soothing jazz and R&B sounds complement the classy drinks – a mix of cosmos, martinis and whiskey cocktails and music comes courtesy of live jazz bands, solo singers and occasional DJs who take to the decks after midnight, when the place takes on a much clubbier vibe. Food in the elegant bistro is French / continental, and be sure to save place for dessert as these are made in-house and an absolute treat, though prices reflect the upscale setting. A popular choice with the city’s trendier denizens, Centrale is now firmly established on the Beirut night-time scene and it’s easy to see why ß-kick back with a well-made drink on one of those leather banquettes and you may not want to leave. If the interior wasn’t so outlandish, you may well believe you had been transported back to the gay 1920s though this chic, contemporary space still gives you plenty to be happy about.