Mmm, this could be a bit tricky. With the multitude of bars that have popped up over the last few years, Tel Aviv is certainly spoilt for choice, as every kind of taste and mood is catered for. Fancy a beer or two in the company of other tourists? No problem. Looking to practice your pick-up lines on the gorgeous Israeli women/men? No problem. Even fancy listening to some late afternoon jazz while supping a cold one? Again, no problem.
So, let’s get started with our own list of highly recommended bars (a mix of touristy and local bars). Oozing alcohol, good vibes and plenty of good times, this list is by no means a list of the very finest bars, but should give you a great introduction to the bar scene in the city that never sleeps…oh dear, I can see a follow up post to this one, The Next Best Bars in Tel Aviv. Well, it’ll mean extensive, er, research…
In no particular order:
- M.A.S.H: Tel Aviv’s first real pub, founded in 1982, the MASH pub has become one of the must see pubs if you’re looking for a bit of English, some sport (usually the English Premier League) and some fine draft beer. On certain nights, especially footie nights, there is a unique atmosphere created by mixing Anglos with a little slice of Israeli mentality thrown in. Worth a drink or 3.
275 Dizengoff Street www.mash.co.il
- Molly Blooms: A traditional Irish bar, authentically laid out and with a great atmosphere, especially on live Irish music nights (Monday and Wednesday). Quite probably the finest Guiness on tap in Tel Aviv, plus a very fine and creamy Kilkenny.
2 Mendele Street www.molly-blooms.com
- Betty Ford: This has recently become one of my favourite bars. Located in the “in” area around Nahalat Binyamin (so if you don’t like it you can just stagger on to the next bar down the road), it’s kind of a mix between a neighborhood bar and a posey “in crowd” place. The food is good and the bartenders friendly and professional. There’s table soccer free of charge in the basement (I’m such a sore loser), while the owner often gets behind the turntable and plays some decent tunes. If he listens to you.
48 Nahalat Binyamin www.bettyford.co.il
- Abraxas: Located at the top of Lillenblum Street, Tel Aviv’s bar rich street, this place doesn’t look much from the outside. The bar is shaped irregularly, the crowd is a mix of all sorts and there is a pool table on the second floor. Can get a little packed, like most of the bars in this area, but generally a very good place for a very good time. Guys, don’t forget to use your English accents…
40 Lillenblum Street
- The Minzar: A Tel Aviv classic, a drinking hole that you’ll never understand why is such a classic. I used to have a few drinks here and never understood why it has become a hit. It’s simple, with fairly old furniture and a drinkers vibe that brings some magic. Anyone is welcome. Worth a drink here just to get a feel for the place. If you like it, you’ll be back every day…
60 Allenby Street
- Brewhouse: Another well-presented bar, with a massive gold tank centerpiece used for brewing the three house beers. Beer isn’t bad at all, and accompanied by the meat-rich menu and sauerkraut, it’s a great place to visit. That is, if your wallet is full, because it ain’t cheap here. Live jazz is featured on Fridays, 2pm-5pm and Sundays 9pm-midnight.
11 Sderot Rothschild www.rest.co.il/brewhouse
- Cafe Noga: This is for those of you who love to shoot some pool accompanied by music and beer and cute waitresses. Called a cafe, but really not a cafe, the place has a ton of pool tables, with a few tucked in intimate corners. The food isn’t amazing, but you only need something to soak up the alcohol…
4 Pinsker Street
- Joey’s Bar: Another more Anglo-oriented place that has claimed its role in Tel Aviv’s nightlife. Not many Israelis end up here at this American styled bar, though all that do usually end up having a great time. Sometimes dancing can grip the place, sometimes not. But the touristy vibe is always there. Worth checking out.
42 Allenby Street
- Banana Beach: The ultimate beach bar, metres from the Mediterranean and metres from the heart of Tel Aviv. This place has grown and grown over the years and is now a nice place to chill out at during those hot summer nights. Just feeling the sand between your toes…aaahh. This is perhaps the most popular of all Tel Aviv beach bars and usually screens free movies during the summer, as well as the occasional football match.
Next to the Dolphinarium, Tel Aviv promenade
- Mike’s Place: A great place to hear live music and drink beer, and just across the road from the beach. This place was hit by a suicide bomber in 2003, but has gone from strength to strength since then. A mix of live blues and rock-and-roll with no cover charge has proven popular with all music lovers.
86 Herbert Samuel www.mikesplacebars.com