While a summer night wandering through Jerusalem’s downtown triangle searching for your next place to challenge your liver may seem like an easy ride, the real challenge with Jerusalem is actually finding a bar with a little more character than all the rest. Something with a little more “oh my,” “well I wasn’t expecting that,” and “wow” factor than the usual pubs that Yafo Street, Ben Yehuda and the market and surrounding area have to offer. Lucky for you though, we haven’t found just one, we’ve found six. And so here they are: the best pubs and bars off Jerusalem’s beaten track.
A handful of Jerusalem bars with a twist
It’s a Thursday night, and you’ve suddenly become inspired to experience the F. Scott Fitzgerald-deemed ‘Jazz Age’ in the city of the Biblical Age. Impossible? Of course not. This is Jerusalem, of course there’s a bar for that. Sitting behind a black, unmarked door, this bar oozes ‘speakeasy’ before you even set foot in it. With wickedly-masterminded cocktails (including using light bulbs for glasses), you can see the bartenders pouring their heart, soul, and passion into crafting these wicked little delights for you. Tucked away, relatively far west of the shuk, creativity and style has almost never been done better in a city that prides itself on tradition.
Again, while this bar is still technically situated in Jerusalem’s Downtown Triangle, its weirdness, wackiness, and the fact that tourists don’t head straight there means that we think it still deserves a seat on this list. With top DJs creating a wild and ecstatic vibe, Tubi 60 shots to persuade that anxious brain of yours that it’s a great idea to start dancing, and drinks at a pretty reasonable price, Toy Bar becomes THE place for those who love a place and a crowd that’s there for two things: dancing and an exceptionally awesome night out. Topped off with a mixture of music and a diverse selection of mini beers, Toy Bar may quickly want to skip the pregame and head straight to the party itself.
Set apart in a delightful neighborhood, away from the frantic tourist-heavy scenes, Talbiye is complimented by its equally far-from-touristy array of interesting visitors. Designed to apply the perfect seasoning to your evening, the food is creative and the prices are fair. While only two types of draft beer are on the menu, the wine list is far from boring. Delicious bread, oil, and balsamic vinegar will accompany your food and while the portions may be small, the quality of this food is almost unparalleled.
Appreciate good wine? Appreciate good service? Appreciate good meat and cheese platters that can be served with both? Yeah, we thought so. With an interior design reminiscent of a Parisian café, this place makes a great spot for romantic evening retreats. Inside and outside is an option for whatever the weather, and if you’re a particular fan of exquisite meat with your wine, the chopped liver tends to hold a strong place in people’s hearts… and stomachs.
Bar? Recording Studio? Or center for the collaboration of every type of musical art that Jerusalem keeps hidden away from the tourist eye? You decide, because we sure have no idea. Alongside cheap beers, this venue is filled with live music almost every single night of the week. Its cave-like structure means that visitors are packed in tightly, and the acoustics are surprisingly mind-boggling, adding a deliriously-entertaining grungy and underground vibe to your night away from the shuk or Ben Yehuda.
Yes, we’ve listed the shuk as part of Jerusalem’s ‘beaten track,' but amidst the similarity which most of the bars tend to align with, there is one that we just couldn’t resist adding to this list. With a welcoming and cozy atmosphere, visitors can indulge in some of the bar’s famous hot wine, which is even enjoyable on the warm summer nights coming up, as well as a great selection of bottled beers. With live music on Friday afternoons, previous guests have gone so far as to call their experiences in this young, lively bar ‘THE Jerusalem experience.'