If you wanna drink, then take it at the counter, 'cause today an evil guard - a watchdog - is keeping an eye on everything.

If there is a place in Minsk that has been around for more than half a century, this is it. Recognizable chandeliers, repousse works as if from a history book, and a long bar counter with a beautiful and unique view of Nezalezhnosti Avenue – yes, all this is the same Centralny. Back in the days, Centralny lured us with its luminous shelves, being our last resort during the last days until scholarship. Centralny has heard so many dialogues and seen so many characters, so that they could fill all the fiction books by writers from post-Soviet countries and abroad.

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And this bar counter! What difference does it make what material it is made of, when you see who is at it. It’s so old school – standing (not sitting!) at the bar counter and discussing the pressing issues, ain’t it? Any loyal guest would confess there is no better place in Minsk than Centralny, and Centralny is famous for its regulars and old-timers. They peacefully stand at the cashier’s; they kiss their hands when leaving. At Centralny, you can find the old and young, hipsters and office plankton, as we say “a physicist and a poet”, a cynic and a romantic. Unfortunately, we all know about terrible slojkas (a Belarusian type of crumpet), awful cakes, and And sandwiches with raw cured kielbasa (if you have not read the review about them, read it.) This is a masterpiece of modern Belarusian journalism.

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But of course, my review is about something else. So, I present you three sets at Centralny for the most exquisite taste and modest wallet.

Set # 1 “Christmas Edition”

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If the severe Minsk winter caught you by surprise, everyone knows that you need to warm yourself up like a man – with whisky. And if winter caught your special one by surprise – treat her with mulled wine. A hot kiss is guaranteed, and if successful, this pastime will be counted for a successful date. If you are not sure about the quality of the drink, accompany it with a custard ring, it is excellent. Although we must admit that the mulled wine itself is decently good (whereas you can’t say about Belarusian whiskey): it is hot, tastes good and smells of some spices. The fact that the mulled wine is ready and poured from a bottle, we omit, we are not that nerdy.

The price is 5.7 rubles.

Set # 2 “Post-Exam Edition” 

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A sleepless night, hitting the books and taking a cram course? Writing cribs and choosing appropriate pants to pack them in, from which it is convenient to take your crib notes out? Or are you the first row type? It does not matter. The exam was passed – and it should be celebrated! A student caféteria won’t do – you need something stronger, and not just stronger, but festively stronger. My suggestion – budget gin and posh tonic. Unfortunately, the “bar” did have ice, and such an elite tonic wasn’t stored in the refrigerator, so the cocktail, to put it lightly, was not very good. But the sandwich was as in the best theater bar, and the hot dog was much better than at Hutka Smachna (a fastfood chain in Minsk). Beware, mayonnaise and ketchup are charged separately.

The price is 7.7 rubles.

Set # 3 “Yin Yang Edition”

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Closer to the evening, Centralny calms down a little and the time freezes before closing. You won’t be served a milkshake, champagne won’t be poured into glasses (correction, in plastic cups), no slojkas are left, an exhausted cleaning lady rolls the cart and ignores the garbage lying next to you. There is not a single person on Nezalezhnosti Avenue, only occasionally a lonely couple hurries to the metro. Your husband brings you white wine and a curd basket, while he drinks red wine and meditatively munches a ham sandwich, looking at the sleepy city. Silence hangs over, tomorrow is a new day, at home your hungry cats are waiting, and you probably know that your husband is thinking about which superpowers he would like to have.

The price is 5.3 rubles.

And remember that plastic cups cost money: 0.3 rubles per each one.

Main photo citydog.by