The Station.

This is a chill place for a cheap beer by the beach. In Colombo, cheap beer by the beach usually spells dodgy, but this isn’t the case here. The Station seems family friendly – lots of open space and no dark nooks and crannies for lurkers to lurk. I’m sure it’s also home to many an arrack swigging gent – but overall it seems safe and legit. And the booze, beer at least, is affordable: a tall bottle of Lion costs just Rs. 200 (only Rs. 60 above retail price). That’s less than £1 for really excellent beer.

Obviously it’s cheaper to buy yourself some Lion at Keells (not Cargills) and wander over to the beach with friends. But then you wouldn’t be treated to the private baila performance provided for by The Station. Yep, a group of (official) baila-singing gentlemen meander their way through the restaurant, pausing at each table to serenade guests with some ‘Surangani’ta Maalu Genaawaa.’ This can be annoying at times, endearing at others – it’s a fine line. If you’re a regular customer it could be groan inducing, but if you’re a first timer or tourist, it’s probably closer to enchanting.

Food, we’re not so sure about. We didn’t actually eat anything this visit (will next time), but the menu seemed pricey. The cheese toast cost Rs. 450. This is either madness or the best cheese toast in the city. We couldn’t afford to find out.

Setting-wise the place is great – you get a nice broad strip of sandy beach with a lovely view of the ocean. There’s also a tree house like seating area – minus the tree – for an elevated viewing of the waves.

We’d definitely recommend going here for a drink. It’s cheap, cheerful and by the beach – and makes a nice change from the usual O! Bar scene. We’ll be back soon to tell you about the food.

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