Trust me, this is how you should spend a rock ‘n roll nightlife in Tel Aviv
Before you violently react, the South African buff who’s with me on the cover photo is not my boyfriend. Vaughan McShane is one of the amazing bloggers (and my best mate) who joined me in the recent Vibe Israel Boutique Tour last month. Prior to arriving Israel, we were informed we are going to experience a legitimate, tangible nightlife in Tel Aviv. I wasn’t really sure how that works when you are on a Media Trip but okay. Done deal.
When the itinerary was handed to us on the first day of the tour (seriously, I never read Press Trip ITs ever), I had to double check with the tour coordinator if I was reading it right — bar hopping on a Saturday? I wondered. This is the first media trip I’ve been to that had a drunken itinerary. That adds to the COOL METER I am monitoring for Israel.
But wait, still, SATURDAY? Why Saturday?! Wouldn’t the nightlife in Tel Aviv be boring on a Saturday?
For us normal folks, Saturday is a usual day for partying but for the cool peeps of Israel, this is actually a Sunday. Work days in Israel fall from Sunday-Thursday while Fridays and Saturdays are Shabbat days. Meaning, their Saturday is our Sunday. Comprende?
It was when I learned there are actually no distinction among the days when partying in Tel Aviv. The city is alive every freaking day of the week. It is so easy to set something up and gather your crew whenever you want. Nightlife in Tel Aviv is vibrant, astonishing, breathtaking, wallet hammering (so expensive it will tear your credit card into pieces) but let me tell you this…
it will be the best night you won’t remember with the people you will never forget.
My birthday was 2 days away from the ‘bar hopping’ trip so who is complaining when all you have to do is eat, drink and be merry — all expense paid. We don’t say no to that, right? Ergo, let me tell you about that crazy night… These are really the coolest places to spend a badass nightlife in Tel Aviv — from 19:30 til 6:00 the next day.
19:20 – Port Said @ Har Sinai Street 5
Photo: Matanya Tausig
My first visit in the Egyptian inspired Port Said was a tedious one. You see, this place is always full so there is no f#$cking way that you will have a table without a reservation, most especially on weekends. Or any day for that matter. One way or another, you really have to wait and bear the long line(s). I totally understand why it’s always packed. The moment you sit down the chilled outdoor area, an eclectic force will cover your whole body which will make you feel you are in a different dimension, existing in a different world, surrounded by an uber-cool hipster crew. You know how we always say “good vibes (GV)” but not really feeling it in every vein in our bodies? Port Said will give you the legit GV with a nostalgic splendour and you don’t even need to ask for it.
If you are going to be drinking the whole night, you need to eat. Food will keep coming, I tell you. And not just food. Great food. Outstanding food. Designed by top chef Eyal Shani, Port Said’s menu is a variation of meat, vegetables and shitloads of tahina. Think roast beef Carpaccio, bread (a lot of bread), rooster sandwich, baked potato, cured eggplant, joined with shots of tequila, earthy cocktails and Israel’s pride — the Gold Star beer. Put everything together (vibe, food, drinks) plus the Egyptian music. Can we just admit that’s super hard to beat?
Should Port Said be full and gets out of control, go to The Prince @ Nahalat Binyamin 18. There is no explanation needed. Trust me, this is the place to be. Go and surprise yourself. You will understand what I am talking about when you get there.
21:00 – French 57 @ Brenner Street 2
Photo: Matanya Tausig
You might be a little tipsy from the numerous tequila shots at Port Said but it won’t stop you from participating in a mixology session headed by Oron Lerner. Listed in the world’s best bars, French 57 is a taste of New Orleans that traveled all the way to Israel to give spice to the nightlife in Tel Aviv with a little bit of jazz. All 6 of us (bloggers and influencers) had the chance to take the stage, aka Oron’s untouchable bar. We learned how to mix cocktails we’ve never heard before with the base alcohol of our choice. Thanks to my previous bar managing job in Peru, I was able to not make a fool of myself by driving the shaker to explode towards the audience. It’s been a year since I left this nifty bar job of mine but the skills (if we can call it that) stayed intact.
The ambiance truly felt like an easy escape — bar stool height is just right, the music will make you feel you are in some bar in France letting the good times roll, and of course, my favourite interior of them all are the wooden barrels stacked on the bar. My personal favourite was the Hurricane, a traditional tipple with homemade rum, bitters, lime, mango and passion fruit cream. Oron was so generous with his recipes we went berzerk with tasting everything all at once.
23:00 – SpeakEasy @ Rothschild 24
Photo: Matanya Tausig
You are fine. Relax. After drinking those cocktails you don’t remember (and probably never will), you might think it will be difficult for you to go up a rooftop bar. Worry not. It will all be worth it as soon as you’re at the top. A long line of sleek couches parade the glass walls overlooking the boulevard of Rothschild await. Hipster bulbs hang all over the place while soft chants of cool locals envelope the ambiance. A wide array of drinks will confuse you from what to order. When things get questionable, get a shot of tequila then grab a beer. This is the best time to rest a bit and talk to your friends. This place ain’t too loud. Just enough to prepare you for the dancing sesh to follow.
1:00 – Jimmy Who @ Rothschild 24
Photo from my Snapchat story: @psimonmyway
I have to tell you that my memory about this place wasn’t vivid until I remember the big sign at the entrance that said “who the f$*ck is Jimmy?” Oh, I knew it was time to dance because the loud old school hiphop was blaring and I just couldn’t help myself! The cool thing is they were playing the songs of my teenage chillhop days I was so focused and just stopped drinking. Since there are no distinction between the weekend and the weekdays in Tel Aviv’s nightlife scene, nightly themes (oh, I love this!!!) occur in Jimmy Who. It could be a gay party on a Monday, electronic on Wednesdays, and can go from old school hiphop to an unlimited supply of house music on Fridays and Saturdays. I separated Tuesday because it’s a something dear to me, one my favourite vibes of all time: disco. I mean real disco. Like disco balls, turntables, mirror balls, everything disco!
They also serve cocktails but food choices are limited after midnight. I should add this for the ladies: it was a sausage fest and you know what happens in clubs boosted with testosterone. The drop dead gorgeous Israeli men will grab you to dance. Don’t worry, they are not very aggressive (at least some of them). But still, be in your right mind.
2:00 Sputnik @ Allenby 122
Photo from my Snapchat story: @psimonmyway
I knew I take my job seriously when I browsed my gallery and still have taken decent pictures of a place I don’t have any memory of. Then that memory comes to life and I go, aahhhhh. Yeahhhhh. Yesss! That! Even if I don’t have the exact words for it, I knew I was at Sputnik. The electronic music was piercing through my flesh which gave light to memories of that night. No matter how much my friends always tell me they have no idea how I can enjoy this kind of music, I FREAKING LOVE IT. The absence of words might be a big problem for many but understanding the electronic beat is a godly skill not given to everyone.
Sputnik ignites that retro futuristic feel in one animatedly gleaming place. The bar decor flashes back from the 1950s but seemed to have had a clear vision of what the common era would look like. The well lit wooden floors and pathways will guide you to another world while the whole trance shenanigan is happening around you. Okay, I wasn’t in drugs. I am just very visual and this is how I felt when I was in this place. I related to its eclectic edge despite being buzzed.
Of course, if you’ve been drinking since 19:30, you are all hyped up and won’t stop partying at 2:00. And so, I added a few places I’ve been to (after hours) which are not included in the Vibe Israel Itinerary but still worth to check out.
Warning: If you are not an electronic music geek, do not go to these places. But I am really sure you won’t mind because you are too tipsy to care. You just want to dance!
Another warning: I am not paid to promote the places below. I am not friends with the owners whatsover. I just love it! I’ve been here in the past few days while slowly learning my existence in Tel Aviv and I think it’s good to share.
3:00 – The Alphabet @ Ahad Ha’Am 54. Think Chaim’s Levantina or Monolink x AcidPauli’s The End: full, slow, balanced, slowly going up like robots on meth but not really. The Alphabet has been the biggest highlight of the nightlife in Tel Aviv as there is always a good line up of DJs, beautiful human beings and a strangely unique atmosphere.
4:00 – The Block @ Shalma 157. Considered as the best nightclub in Israel, The Block is home to urban soundscape and rocking beats (like the Chemical Brothers rockin’ beats type). This generation was started by Yaron Trax, founder of The Block who has played a crucial role in the nightlife in Tel Aviv since the 90s. Prominent DJs from all over the country (and the world) graced the kingdom of the block. This is exactly why the cool kids of the city flock the infamous Shalma Road.
5:30 – The Breakfast Club @ Rothschild 6. It might be 5:00 in the morning but the Breakfast Club doesn’t entail eating. The party only gets wilder. DJs will keep you pumping until 9:00 am if you don’t lose control to the funk, rock, new wave electronic music which vibrates through the boulevard of Rothschild. (Follow The Breakfast Club TLV Playlist by Trisha Velarmino on Spotify here)
Growing, developing, taking so much steps forward than those of New York, London and Tokyo — this is the nightlife in Tel Aviv. Every wild heart in the face of the planet should experience this vibrance not just because you want to be irresponsible but you should feel the city’s force that will envelope your soul to a different kind of natural high.
Dear bloggers, influencers, journalists and media friends: when a message from Vibe Israel pops out your inbox inviting you to go to Israel, DO NOT SAY NO. I repeat, DO NOT SAY NO.
Disclaimer: All bars and restaurants visits were complimentary (arranged by Vibe Israel) but opinions are 100% mine.
How’s your experience(s) with the nightlife in Tel Aviv? I would love to hear from you! Leave your thoughts on the comment box below!