Drinking in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is like a Jewish New York, but since that’s redundant I should be more precise. It’s similar in its diversity (Jews of all shapes colors and sizes!), its love of eating and drinking, its beautiful people, and its cosmopolitan appeal. It actually has us beat in a few departments: its beaches, its sunshine, and its higher concentration of hot hot hot Israeli men (and to be fair, hot Israeli women too).

So since this is the Israeli New York I decided to experience it as I experience NY, namely by eating and drinking. Friday night I went out to this bar Evita suggested by TR around midnight and I was surprised by how empty it was. Now this is supposed to be one of the institutions of gay Tel Aviv so I assumed it would be much more packed; to this day I’m not sure if it was empty because (a) midnight is way too early to go to a bar or (b) I’m so used to the crush of bars in New York that an average, uncrowded bar seems empty now.

EvitaThe bartenders at Evita were very friendly, which I’m not sure was because of their general disposition, or because they like foreigners. In any case the service definitely came with a smile, and after about a half hour it also came with a free round of shots too! Now if only I could get that kind of service in New York maybe I could drink excessively and live on my grad student salary without having to think about where my next meal’s coming from…

The next stop on the stumble was Cedamus Amori (“Surrender to Love”), which was a slightly more subdued yet also slightly more cruisy bar. I met up with IC here, a friend of a friend from New York, and after a few drinks we were ready to really kick the night into high gear. That’s when things started flailing.

First we checked out this place -1 suggested by TR that’s supposed to be one of the new “cool clubs” in Tel Aviv. Unfortunately when we got to the door there was a line (or rather a mob, since Israelis haven’t been introduced to the concept of forming lines) that was about 5 people deep and 20 people wide. Even more discouraging was the crowd, which looked like they were either in or had recently graduated from high school, and probably high on some kind of substance they don’t sell at bars.

We decided that it probably wasn’t worth the trouble to get in past the tweaked out club kids so we tried going to this other place HaOman. After a 15 minute cab ride we end up in this warehouse district near the old port; sketchy doesn’t begin to describe the atmosphere. We wander towards the entrance of HaOman and after being frisked by some guards (why are the ones who frisk you never hot?) we went into the entrance. IC talks to the girl at the register then immediately turns around and walks out. I catch up to him and ask what happened, and he says that the cover is 120 shekels (= $35) and that he’d rather just call it a night than pay the cover and deal with the crowd inside. At this point it’s about 2:30AM anyways and I’m starting to lose the partying spirit so I don’t try to convince him otherwise. In retrospect it was probably the right decision, since IC says that as we were walking to find a cab he heard some old gross guys who’d also just left complain to each other “Who knew the club was going to be full of fags.”

MalawachWe take one last detour before calling it a night for some malawach megargel, which was this filo dough thing wrapped around melted cheese and served with a hot tomato sauce. As far as late night drunk food goes this stuff rocked. Kind of like a greasy pizza with greasy filo dough and greasy cheese stuffed inside. (The picture doesn’t really do it justice; it was huge and dripping with oil.)

Final verdict? Tel Aviv’s nightlife gets points for its late hours and plentiful options, and it loses some points for its palpable trashiness and excessive covers. But I’d do it again in a Tel Aviv minute!

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~ by therandomoracle on April 5, 2008.

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