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JewishJournal.com

May 19, 2005

A Traveler’s Guide to Tel Aviv Nightlife

http://www.jewishjournal.com/world/article/a_travelers_guide_to_tel_aviv_nightlife_20050520

 

If the Cinderella story had been set in Tel Aviv, her raggedy slipper would have turned into a magical glass pump at the witching hour, instead of the other way around.
New York may be the city that never sleeps, but life in Tel Aviv begins at midnight. There are dozens of nightclubs and about 200 bars in this mini-metropolis, each with its own flavor and theme. Yet they all share a determination and dedication to having a good time.
Think of this list of diverse venues as a starting point to explore Tel Aviv’s nightlife, since whole new worlds can open up within a two-block radius.

Abraxas
The only Tel Aviv bar with an art director, Abraxas attracts an artsy, sophisticated and intellectual crowd, thanks in part to Monday and Tuesday nights, in which Abraxas headlines a different Israeli singer, artist, musician, writer or chef as the DJ for the night. These celeb DJs give Abraxas an eclectic musical menu and a clientele consisting in large part of Israeli “industry people.”
Address: Lilienblum 40
Phone: 03-510-4435
Music: eclectic; live bands on Sundays
Hours: From 9 p.m.

Allenby 40
Allenby 40 is known as the sleaziest dance bar in Israel; but if you ask the owner, an Orthodox Jew named Mendy, he would say it’s not sleazy but liberating. So, what would a Jew who grew-up Chabad know about liberation? A lot, it seems. At Allenby 40, Orthodox men can gulp a beer and three chasers with their kippah on — guilt-free. And if the religious feel that way, you can imagine how the secular Jew gets down at Allenby 40. The decor is minimalist — just some walls painted flesh and a few dangling disco balls, but the DJs and overly gregarious bartenders get Jews of all streams dancing together, which, of course, would make the Lubbavitcher Rebbe proud.
Address: Allenby 40
Phone: 052-892-9218
Music: R & B, hip-hop and MTV hits
Hours: From 10 p.m.

Dixie
A Tel Aviv landmark, Dixie feels like a gourmet Denny’s. Open 24 hours and lined with leather booths, this is where you land with friends at 3 a.m. to digest the night’s events along with eggs, hash browns, pancakes and American coffee refills.
Address: Yigal Alon 120
Phone: 03-696-6123
Web: www.dixie.co.il
Hours: 24/7

Dungeon
Dungeon is where you mix pleasure with pain. The first and only S&M club in Israel, equipped with a stage for live shows, Dungeon is where almost anyone — freaks, geeks, doctors and lawyers — can transform themselves into masters and slaves for the night. Surprisingly, Dungeon is not as sleazy as you might think. It attracts many vanillas (sexually conventional people), curious to watch, but too inhibited to actually participate.
Address: Kikar Kedumim 14, Old Yaffo
Phone: 054-443-2195
Web: www.dungeon.co.il
Music & hours: Tues from 11 p.m.: dark electro, industrial, dark ’80s; Thurs from midnight: house, trance; Fri, from 11 p.m.: metal, gothic
Cover: Tues., 40 NIS; Thurs., 80 NIS; Fri., free (member discounts)

Fetish
Blame it on the name, but almost anything can happen at Fetish, and pretty much everything is allowed. A mini-nightclub hosting the finest local house DJs, Fetish merges partiers of all classes, professions and nationalities. This encouraged amalgam of energies and lifestyles, achieved through a rigorous selection process, helps break down boundaries, cultural and mental.
Address: 48 King George St.
E-mail: Maxim55@bezeqint.net
Music: House (and all sub-genres)
Hours: Thurs., Fri. (ages 25+) and Sat. from midnight
Cover: 70-90 NIS

Haoman 17 Tel Aviv
Haoman 17 is the Starbucks of Israeli nightclubs. The only nightclub chain in Israel, Haoman first opened its coveted doors in Jerusalem in 1994, and has been conquering the Holy Land ever since, with a branch in Haifa and now one in Tel Aviv. At a time when nightclubs were considered passé in Tel Aviv, the owners promised to educate the metropolis. The sound system, design, decor and DJs are all world-class, but it’s those intangible qualities (not to mention a few tax troubles) that have made Haoman a national legend and, ironically, a brand name: energy, sensuality, grandeur. Now they just need a branch in Be’er Sheva.
Address: Abarbanel 88
Phone: 052-560-6661
Web: www.haoman.com
Music: House, techno; usually MTV hits in the small room
Hours: Thurs. from midnight (ages 23+); Friday from midnight (ages 19+)
Cover: 70-100 NIS

Lanski
Known as the largest bar in the Middle East, Lanski’s four massive bars zig-zag like a tic-tac-toe board, allowing for some serious games of eye contact.
Address: Montefiore 6 (Shalom Towers)
Phone: 03-517-0043
Music: Mostly ’70s, modern hits
Hours: Sun.-Thurs., Sat.: from 9 p.m.; Fri. from 10 p.m. (ages 27+)

Mike’s Place
It’s no wonder that Mike’s Place of Jerusalem opened their Tel Aviv branch right near the American Embassy. Despite having been the victim of terrorism in 2003, Mike’s Place is still an escape from Israel. Split into a sports bar and music diner, Mike’s Place feels more like an American tavern. With English as its first language, Mike’s Place understands that tourists and immigrants sometimes need to take a break from the abrasiveness of Israeli life with an ice-cold beer in a relaxed, open, English-speaking environment.
Address: Hebert Samuel 86
Web: www.mikesplacebars.com
Music: Live rock and blues bands nightly
Hours: From 11 a.m.

Minerva
Minerva opened its doors eight years ago as a lesbian bar, but now they consider themselves “multisexual” with a gay and lesbian orientation. A different DJ pumps sensual beats throughout the bordello-style bar every night, providing the perfect atmosphere for female flirtation, and any flirtation for that matter. On most nights there is a higher female-to-male ratio, except Tuesday night, which is for men only.
Address: Beith Ha’Shoeva 1 (Allenby 98)
Phone: 03-560-5595
Music: Electro, freestyle, alternative; live rock cabaret shows on Sunday
Hours: From 9 p.m.

Mishmish
Mishmish, apricot in Hebrew, is the only American cocktail lounge in Israel, with each cocktail meticulously prepared down to its historic ingredients. The American cocktail lounge gathered steam in the 19th century to offer the growing upper class an alternative to the loud saloon, and Mishmish is an alternative to the rowdy Israeli pub. With its sleek wooden decor, dim lights, cushioned sitting areas and soothing jazz in the background, Mishmish provides an elegant yet down-to-earth atmosphere, where attractive single yuppies can mix spirits in drink and in company.
Address: Lilienblum 17
Phone: 03-516-8178
Hours: From 9 p.m.

Molly Bloom’s:
The Irish owner opened this first traditional Irish pub in Israel because he needed a place to drink. The green wood, antique pictures, Irish paraphernalia and Irish tunes give Molly Bloom’s an authentic Irish atmosphere where people freely mix and mingle. Guinness, Kilkenny and Irish whiskies contribute to the Irish feel — inside and out.
Address: 2 Mendele St.
Phone: 03-523-7419
Web: www.molly-blooms.com
Hours: Sat.-Thurs. from 4 p.m.; Fri. from noon.

Move
A mini-club in the old port compound with intimacy, music, prices and a generally clean-cut crowd that make it a sane alternative to the heavy house/techno parties at major Tel Aviv nightclubs.
Address: Hata’arukha 3
Phone: 052-665-5001
Music: Hip-hop and dance hits
Hours: Mon. from 11:30 a.m. (ages 19+); Thurs. from midnight (ages 25+); Fri. from midnight (ages 23+); Sat. from 11:30 a.m. (ages 23+)
Cover: 30-60 NIS

Nonotschka
A Georgian restaurant-bar, Nonotschka has imported the republic’s warmth, effusiveness and roughness, in addition to its cuisine. Nana, its mysterious Georgian owner, sought to create a homey place where people could enjoy mama’s Georgian cooking with a quantity of drinks of which mama would not approve. The local Georgian “circus” begins at around 2 a.m., and you may find some visitors — and maybe even yourself — jovially trapezing on the bar.
Address: Lilienblum 28
Phone: 03-516-2254 (reservations recommended)
Music: Eclectic
Hours: From noon.

Powder
Powder is the hot spot for gay men. The owner, Shirazi, a colorful figure in the Tel Aviv gay nightlife scene, wanted to find a stationary home for his steaming mobile party line, FFF (Friendly Freedom Fridays). The warehouse-style club is named Powder in part for the old flour factory that once operated on the premises.
Address: Shonzino 9
Phone: 03-624-0094
Music and hours: Fri. from midnight (flagship gay night): house, techno; call for other parties.

Scores
At Scores you can hit on your neighbor and the eight ball, and hopefully succeed at both. Scores fits two spacious pool halls and a New York-style lounge bar, which opens a dance bar on weekends. Scores attracts a diverse crowd, from local celebrities to Orthodox Jews to tourists, and they pride themselves on being a spot where women can feel comfortable with a cue stick.
Address: Yehuda Halevi, corner of Allenby
Phone: 03-566-2010
Music: Rock, MTV hits, classics.
Hours: From noon.

Shesek
Next-door neighbor to Mishmish, Shesek, Hebrew for cumquat, is an alternative fruit for an alternative bar. Shesek has an East Village vibe with bohemian types and bar bums enjoying the eccentric atmosphere and the DJs underground sounds.
Address: Lilienblum 17
Phone: 03-516-9520
Music: Groove, rock, funk, drum ‘n’ bass, electronic, free style and hip-hop.
Hours: From 9 p.m.

Velvet
The newest “in” spot in Tel Avivis filled with poza (“posers,” or people trying to look pretty). This all-in-one restaurant-bar-lounge-nightclub was created by one of Israel’s leading designers, Arik Ben Simhon. Go on a night when it’s not too packed so you can actually see the place.
Address: Hamasger 66
Phone: 03-624-1204
Music: Thurs: hip-hop, dance; Fri: house; Sat: ’70s-modern hits; Sun: house
Hours: From 9 p.m.
No cover

Vox
Voted No. 1 nightclub of 2004 by Time Out Tel Aviv, thanks in part to its flawless design and intimate atmosphere. The dance floor is cozily surrounded by two bars, a balcony and a DJ station upon which international DJs pump energy through the stylish club.
Address: Yegia Kapaim 2
Phone: 03-687-0591
Web: www.vox-telaviv.com
Music and hours: Mon. from 11:30 p.m., hip-hop and dance hits; Thurs. from midnight, house, techno, trance (flagship party for ages 24+); Fri. from midnight, house (gay night); Sat. from 11:30 p.m., hip-hop and dance.
Cover: 60-100 NIS.

 

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