Back again and this time I’m in Jaffa, the ancient port city next to Tel Aviv. With its narrow streets, tiny courtyards and vibrant flea market, no wonder it’s undergone enormous renovation in the last ten years and become a major hot-spot, Once more then, and in no particular order, here are my five recommendations for grabbing a drink in this utterly picturesque and incredibly charming neighbourhood…
1. Sambuca - A gem of a bar, housed in a building in the Artist’s Quarter (about two thousand years old) where you can sit under a vine, listen to live jazz and enjoy a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean sea. Modern and stylish, it has an intimate feel to it…especially at sunset.
Good cocktails (made with real sugar cane), excellent fruit juices and decent vegetarian food (especially the home-made tahina). Samuca is also recommended for anyone who loves Brazilian music…they play wonderful samba (giveaway: one of the owners hails from Rio). Take yourself there.
Mazal Aryeh 5, Jaffa; tel: 03 518-9226
2. Par Derriere - Tucked away in a tiny, secluded courtyard, close to Jaffa’s famous Clock Tower, you’ll find this ‘garden wine bar.’ This is a real local’s place, that serves as a deli in the day (cheeses, pates, breads, olives, etc.) and a wine bar/food joint by night. Great atmosphere, very laid back and an easy place to fall into conversation with other customers.
Wide variety of wines (and a knowledgeable bartender) and - I’m told - great mojitos. Recommended is the goose live pate, chocolate torte and - of course - the cheeseboard. Not cheap but a good place for a romantic date.
Bat Ami St 7, Jaffa; tel:
3. Margoza - Alcohol, simple food, light rock, and plenty of young people make this a really friendly (and cheap option) for a night out. Live music on Mondays (and sometimes Tuesdays) and people spilling out onto the street make you feel you’re a student once more.
This is a good neighbourhood bar, where you either come with friends for a few beers or come alone and make some new ones. It’s also open late…and by that I mean late…
Rabbi Yochanan 3, Jaffa, tel: 077 450-1766/054 808-4149
4. Paspartu - If you like beer, then this is the place for you. Seriously. this is a bar that has over 80 kinds of beer on offer! Yep - German, English, Belgian, American…you name it, draft, bottled or ale they’re serving it. Great location, in the heart of the Jaffa market, but tucked away in a quiet side street (which makes it slightly less hectic).
With its outdoor seating area, and chilled atmosphere, this is a real ‘home away from home.’ Great falafel and I’ve heard the cauliflower with tahina iand home fries are also excellent. Oh - and if you’re a football fan (as I am) you can watch games here…and, if the bartender’s feeling generous (as he sometimes is) a free chaser with your beer. Go!
Rabbi Khanina 7, Jaffa, tel: 03 525-7988
5. Shaffa - Someone I know once described this bar as “effortlessly stylish” and I think they hit the nail right on the head. Shaffa has it all - coffee, cocktails, fantastic food and fusion music. No wonder then that its so popular. This is a bar that uses seasonal ingredients (try the crunchy Thai salad) and a unique hummus (made using lima beans instead of the usual chickpeas).
I last went on a night when there was live music - even then it wasn’t so noisy that I couldn't have a conversation. Popular with the locals, friendly vibe and eclectic furniture (none of the chairs match!), if I lived in Jaffa I think I’d become a regular here. Don’t miss it.
2-3 Nachman, Jaffa; tel: 03 681-1205