May 11, 2018
Venice doesn’t have that many dedicated cocktail bars. There are the historic places like Harry’s, the birthplace of the Bellini, which is now very firmly embedded on the tourist trail, but Venetian nightlife more often than not revolves around small and atmospheric bacaros and gelaterias, where you go when nothing will satisfy you but an essential gelato fix. Centrale, to be found on a street near the bustling, beautiful St Mark’s Square, is an exception to this rule. Situated in a restored sixteenth-century palazzo, this smart, stylish San Marco restaurant-lounge once housed the historic Cinema Centrale before being renovated in 2005. The candle-lit interior is big on atmosphere, with a lot of bare-brick, dark wood, illuminated glass and the occasional well placed sculpture. Black leather couches offer both comfort and somewhere to be seen, with the chic clientele ranging from art lovers and culture vultures to jet-set Venetians. You can also indulge in a bit of celebrity spotting: the likes of Elton John and Christina Aguilera have been known to drop in for a drink and to soak up some attention. Centrale has a hip, urban vibe, the cocktails are well made and there’s a particularly extensive list of Italian reds to choose from for the oenophiles out there. There’s also a separate dining area with a great seasonal menu if you’re feeling peckish and fancy a bite to eat while living it up in some eye-catching surroundings.