Bartender Tales

We dive into the wonderful world of Tel Aviv's most happening bars through the lens of its top bartenders

You don't need us to tell you that the Tel Aviv nightlife scene is booming...or should we say boozing. A major factor of what keeps the White City bars–from cocktail hideaways to Israeli wine bars to quick and dirty dives–alive is the abundance of incredibly talented bartenders. These master mixologists have seen it all: chaser showdowns, failed attempts at picking up the ladies, and the comings and goings of every alcohol fad out there. Now, they're here to tell their juicy stories.

Bartender Tales

Bartender Tales: Rachel Wogier of My Pub
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Bartender Tales: Rachel Wogier of My Pub

Rachel Wogier, bartender & owner, My Pub   Each week, we dive into the world of TLV bars and meet the drink-shaking players behind them. From the latest cocktailing trends to crazy stories on the job, these are the Bartender Tales of the White City.   How did you get into bartending? I was in the restaurant business forever and I always promised myself that when I got old I'd open a bar. So now that I'm old, I did exactly that.   But you're not old! Not in my soul, never in my soul, but on paper, yes.   What's your favorite thing about bartending? The people. Especially the interactions with people. I'm more than a bar owner, I'm a life coach. I've been here three winters already and my customers keep coming back again and again. I can tell you one thing: no one stays a stranger at My Pub.   Have you noticed any trends in the cocktail industry lately? I stick to the old school bar mentality. Over the past 10 years, the image of what used to be a pub has changed: bars became bigger, louder, more crowded – they've lost their intimacy. My goal is to preserve the traditional pub.   What's your biggest customer pet peeve? When they come in already drunk. I don't need that. I know that there are places that don't care if you're drunk or not. Just come to me sober. I don't want you to drink somewhere else and come to throw up here. With all due respect, no one wants to clean that up.   Have any crazy bar stories? Oh, there are so many stories. I prefer to maintai

Bartender Tales: Guy Avner of Butler
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Bartender Tales: Guy Avner of Butler

Each week, we dive into the world of TLV bars and meet the drink-shaking players behind them. From the latest cocktailing trends to crazy stories on the job, these are the Bartender Tales of the White City. Guy Avner, bartender, Butler   How did you get into bartending? I must confess that I am fifth generation in a family that is in the alcohol industry, so I was exposed to the nightlife world and culture of drinking from a very young age. Despite all this, until the age of 20, it didn't speak to me like it did to my brother, who was very fond of drinking and experimenting. After the army, I became more interested in the field and spontaneously decided to take a bartending course with two close friends.   What's your favorite thing about bartending? Cocktails are a wonderful thing, especially the classics, but that's not really why I work behind the bar. The reason I come in everyday with a smile is the customers. [Butler] is the smallest bar in Israel (13 seats in total) and during the evening there is only one person behind the bar. This intimacy, combined with a number of alcoholic drinks, creates a wonderful openness. I experience fascinating conversations with people I would not meet anywhere else and develop friendships with people from different parts of the city and world.   Have you noticed any trends in the cocktail industry lately? In recent years, the culture of mixology has been developing and there is a demand for quality cocktails at almost eve

Bartender Tales: Odeya Yaron of Yavne
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Bartender Tales: Odeya Yaron of Yavne

Odeya Yaron, bartender, Yavne   Each week, we dive into the world of TLV bars and meet the drink-shaking players behind them. From the latest cocktailing trends to crazy stories on the job, these are the Bartender Tales of the White City.   How did you get into bartending? I'm the type who likes to connect with people, and I’m very verbal. In addition, I've always had an interest and fair knowledge of alcohol. So being a bartender allowed me to bring all these qualities to life.   What's your favorite thing about bartending? Alcohol is, at the end of the day, the key to pleasure. I've always liked seeing a couple sitting at the bar, and by offering them chasers, in the act of pouring, the "cheers," and that looking into each other's eyes, I get to witness a special connection being formed. That's what I love.   Have you noticed any trends in the cocktail industry lately? Today, bar managers are constantly thinking about how to invent a drink that has yet to exist–in terms of ingredients, they use all kinds of homemade syrups. In our bar, Yavne, for example, we use beet or wheat syrup that we prepare in-house every week, and add to our signature cocktails.   What's your biggest customer pet peeve? I like when customers come out of their comfort zones and taste new things when I offer them. I understand that everyone has "their drink," but it's not good to be fixed; it is always nice to discover new tastes and go with the flow of the offer.   Have any crazy bar

Bartender Tales: Noy Davidai of The Library Bar
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Bartender Tales: Noy Davidai of The Library Bar

Noy Davidai, bar manager, The Library Bar (inside the Norman Hotel)   How did you get into bartending? I always liked alcohol and cocktails and was looking for a way to make money off of it instead of just spending on it; my brother’s friend had a bar and he offered me a job at his place.   What's your favorite thing about bartending? The people you get to meet on the job. I love hosting and a good bartender is the ultimate host. From the moment a person walks into the bar to the moment he leaves, it’s my responsibility to make sure he has the best time and that is what this job is all about.   Have you noticed any trends in the cocktail industry lately? I think that after the artisanal gin fad we will have a big rum craze–Tiki cocktails are making a comeback.   What's your biggest customer pet peeve? Customers that think name dropping will get them preferred service/freebies even if they never met the guy. It’s like every second person in Israel went to high school with the owner or manager (that's me!)   Have any crazy bar stories? Every day in this industry is crazy in its own right. Savor more Bartender Tales

Bartender Tales: Livia Heins of Otsar
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Bartender Tales: Livia Heins of Otsar

Livia Heins, bartender, Otsar   How did you get into bartending? Actually, I had just arrived in Israel and was out at a bar on my first night out when the owner walked straight up to me. He asked if I wanted to work at his bar. A day later, I had my first shift.   What's your favorite thing about bartending? Um, the money?    Have you noticed any trends in the cocktail industry lately? Not really, but I think the trendiest drink will always be a classic gin & tonic.   What's your biggest customer pet peeve? Don't come to the bar and ask me what you should drink; make your own decisions. Oh, and people should keep their uninteresting small talk for their friends and not the poor bartenders that are stuck behind the bar.    Have any crazy bar stories? I think people overdosing on drugs and alcohol is as crazy as it gets. I better keep the really crazy stories to myself... © Ben Palhov         Savor more Bartender Tales 

Bartender Tales: Yotam Shilo of Spicehaus
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Bartender Tales: Yotam Shilo of Spicehaus

Each week, we dive into the world of TLV bars and meet the drink-shaking players behind them. From the latest cocktailing trends to crazy stories on the job, these are the Bartender Tales of the White City.   Yotam Shilo, Bartender & Owner, Spicehaus     How did you get into bartending?   At the age of 15, I was operating a beer wagon at a local wedding venue almost every day. That was my first Bartending job. At 16, they promoted me to the bar. Since I'm very tall, no one knew I was under age.   What's your favorite thing about bartending?   It keeps me young, fashion foreword, and I can honestly say that I know the people in this city so much better than the average man.    Have you noticed any trends in the cocktail industry lately?   2012-2017 was all about special spirits: gin, rum and tequila (plus mezcal). In Israel, a trend of local distilleries is evolving, but I'm pretty sure people will be shocked to find out that the upcoming trends are mainly in the wine industry.   What's your biggest customer pet peeve?   In Israel, we are a nation of self-appointed experts. I get so many funny tips about how to run my bars, but I mainly shake my head up and down and say  "interesting idea."     Have any crazy bar stories?   When I was out of the country, a homeless guy came into the bar and the manager took him down since he is a Judo Master. He was arrested later that night.