Rothschild Boulevard and the surrounding streets are seen by many as the pulsating heart of Historic Tel Aviv. No wonder then that, with its Bauhaus Buildings, and tree-lined streets, it's beloved by locals and tourists alike. Here are five of my favourite bars (again, in no particular order) to drink at in this neighbourhood...
1. Bellboy - This 1920’s-style ‘Speakeasy meets Great Gatsby’ is uber-hip, with the bar staff as well-dressed as they are expert at mixology. Bellboy markets itself as a unique concept bar, with cocktails served in seashells and bathtubs (yes, I know it sounds bizarre but you have to see it to believe it!) and chasers served to guests out of a baby stroller that tours the lounge...
With its chic atmosphere and wide variety of tipples, Bellboy isn’t cheap but it’s definitely an experience not to be missed. Cocktails here are unique in the respect that they’re flower-based. I'd recommend the ‘Breakwater’ (Rum, Israeli dried fruit, banana and apple infusion, coconut foam, lime and Bellboy essence) or a ‘Bellboy Daisy’ (tequila, St. Germain, mint, lime and Bellboy blossom cordial).
Costly but divine!
Berdichevsky 14; tel: 03-728-9213
2. Moonshine - This retro bar, designed and run in the style of the American South, serves killer drinks (including a very sophisticated Moonshine beer - from which the bar takes its name) to the tune of live swing and rhythm & blues, Drinks are served out of a variety of containers (including mason jars!) and with its friendly style and laid-back atmosphere, it’s a real taste of the USA.
Recommended cocktails include ‘Uncle Sam’ (Midouri, vodka, kiwi, mint and sour mix) and ‘Speedy Gonzalez’ (tequila, hot pepper, lemon and ginger). For bar food you could try the buffalo wings, mac ’n cheese, or apple pie. This is a cosy little place, great for an after-work drink, or a night out with friends. Oh - and if this review couldn’t get any better - on Monday nights, you can drink cocktails all night for the sum of 99 NIS. Recommended.
Lillenblum 43; tel: 03-566048
3. The Library Bar in the Norman Hotel - For unsurpassed elegance and true 1940’s glamour, I have to say the Library Bar in the boutique Norman Hotel takes some beating. Stocked with classic cocktails and literature, it’s the perfect place to kick back after a hectic day in Tel Aviv. The cocktails are well-made and the service impeccable (but then what else would one expect from a boutique hotel this luxurious?)
The Library Bar also has an excellent selection of whiskies and their plates include beef tartar, oysters and deep-fried calamari (the Norman, for anyone who is wondering, is most certainly not kosher!) A friend of mine also reported back that they’ll happily whip up the cocktail of your choice, if its not on the menu.
Bottom line: the Library Bar is a must-visit place. After all, what more does a girl need than a good book and a fabulous cocktail, enjoyed at the same time?
Nachmani 23-25; tel: 03 543 5400
4. French 57 - With its New Orleans vibe, and welcoming service, this is a charming little cocktail bar that has to be on my list. The jazz and soul in the background only adds to the atmosphere and after ten minutes in the place, you could really be forgiven for thinking you’d be transported to Louisiana.
Although there are only around 10 cocktails on the menu, the friendly, expert bar staff can make almost anything you care for. The drinks are made with tender loving care, and truly well balanced in terms of their flavours. And they look wonderful - even the garnishes are a joy to behold.
Try a classic French 27 (gin, champagne, lemon juice and sugar syrup) or Herbe Saint Punch (Plymouth Gin, pineapple and lime and fresh herbs). Food plates include oysters, philly cheese steak and shrimp, and I’ve been reliably informed that the cheescake beingnets are little bites of heaven.
French 57 is a but on the pricey side but definitely worth it, not just for the atmosphere but also the garden at the back - perfect for lazy summer evenings. Still, if you pop down in their Happy Hour you can enjoy a lot of pleasure for only 30 NIS. What are you waiting for?
Brenner 2; tel: 050-734-7452
5. Speakeasy - A rooftop bar and lounge on trendy Rothschild Boulevard (where all the prettiest, hippest people in Tel Aviv supposedly party), this is a stylish choice for the evening. With its fantastic views of the city, take a pew on one of their funky coloured chairs or sofas and speak up the atmosphere with one of their signature cocktails. These include ‘Smashing Pumpkin’ (Mount Gay Eclipse, apple cider, pumpkin syrup and lime) and ‘Spicy Buddha’ (Sauza Gold, mescal, Thai chilli, coriander, agave nectar and lime).
Their plates of food are equally tantalising and include white pizzetta with truffles and artichoke, smoked roast beef with aioli and pineapple carpaccio with a coconut sorbet. Speakeasy is fun but - beware - if you show up in tatty clothes, or Havianas flip flops, they may well turn you away. Dress accordingly!
Rothschild 24; tel: amazingly, they don’t seem to have one!