By: Roye Salomon
Drinking in Tel Aviv
Drinking holes in Tel Aviv have variable character, from blue collar ethnic beer bars to plush ‘lets make a million’ cocktail lounges. Most neighborhoods will have a local favorite, but many people will set out to their favorite hangout no matter where it is. There are three main bar areas in Tel Aviv:
- The old city port area. In Tel Aviv’s rebuilt port, on the sea.
- Dizengoff and Ibn Gavirol st. bars.
- The Lilenblum st. sprawl.
These are three areas with many drinking establishments within. Note that there are many others scattered around which are no less worthy. I will list some of those as well.
Many bars have started serving food (as Israelis eat more than they drink), and it is usually good.
Dress codes in Tel Aviv are very relaxed, and most places will let you in as long as you are dressed. Generally the style is sport-elegant with a leaning towards trendy rather than formal. You will find few people in suits and probably more in sandals.
|Dress codes in Tel Aviv are very relaxed, and most places will let you in as long as you are dressed.
The best day for bar hopping in Tel Aviv is probably Wednesday, on the verge of the weekend. Thursday is packed and party, Friday attracts a somewhat younger crowd and Saturday is a more relaxing evening (we work on Sundays!!). On the weekend it may be a problem to find a place to sit a large group of people, yet some bar-restaurant will take reservations for groups. Israelis usually go out late so around 10:00 bars are often half empty, but will be packed by midnight. Most bars are open till the last customer leaves, and there is no last call for alcohol. The police will not bother you if you stick around till you drop…
The most important thing in choosing the right bar for yourself is to uncover what you are actually looking for. A solitary night of sorrow drowning, searching for a soul-mate or just a mate, lounging on a sofa with an umbrella capped cocktail to the sound of electronic music or a jazzy night of scotch on the rocks (shaken not stirred). The other way to go is having no idea of what you want and just go with the flow.
Rivendell, named after the elven city in Tolkens’ Lord of the Rings is a classic summertime bar. Like many others in the port area it utilizes its’ breezy seafront location, to simultaneously cool down and heat up the atmosphere. Here you will find cool dudes and hot ladies in a spectacular courtship dance. The bar is optimized for seeing and being seen, prices are not cheap, and it is often packed Thu-Sat so expect to wait. Why-To-Go (WTG): While this is a newcomer on the Tel Aviv scene, it has already made a mark as the hottest pickup place of the summer.
Friendly, well designed and usually quite packed, Erlich is built as a round bar that occupies most of the space. Perfect for meeting people which is the main activity that is going on between those specific four walls….
Erlich also offers dining tables with a minimum-order policy and loads of sun-tanned boys and girls around the large bar. Often, around midnight there are no seats available and many people stand behind the first circle around the bar.
The music is usually contemporary with occasional 80's and 90's outbursts. If you are into mingling, this is a good option for you to meet people….
This bar-restaurant carries the name of one of Israel's largest mental institutions…..with a sign at the entrance that greets you in Hebrew: "Shalvata – the sanest place in Tel Aviv….." it put a smile on my face…the word itself means tranquility, peace.
Shalvata is located just south of Boya, and offers great seaside view with sea-front tables just kissing the waves. Shalvata is a spread out, outdoor pub-diner, some kind of a unique Israeli thing with backgammon (shesh besh) tables available for the guests' amusement…. Shalvata Offers a relaxed atmosphere, good music and superior view of the sea, though the food is not that great. The service is friendly and rather casual. An open bar in the center of the premises is serving alcohol. A nice place to view the sunset, Shalvata tends to get very crowded on summer weekends and holidays, at which you might find a long line of people waiting to get in. I recommend visiting Shalvata on a week day, any time of the day has its own special magic.
The northernmost bar of Tel Aviv, this place is under dispute among my friends. Some, like myself, enjoy the semi sleazy atmosphere; yet others claim that it is intolerable. The crowd is young and trendy….
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