The Israeli culture capital is renowned for many things, but it takes less than a week in the White City to recognize its two main local pastimes: the beaches in Tel Aviv and booze. As the sun starts to set, Tel Avivians migrate from the shores of the Mediterranean to the streets of Dizengoff, Rothschild and Allenby for happy hour cocktails before a big night out in the Tel Aviv nightlife scene. Choosing from the wealth of fantastic bars in Tel Aviv can be overwhelming, so we’ve drunk the city dry looking for the best cocktail bars around. Here’s our insider’s guide to Tel Aviv nightlife: the top cocktail bars in the White City.
Tel Aviv nightlife: the top cocktail bars
Hidden inside the Imperial Hotel, the Imperial Craft Cocktail Bar is the top of the top when it comes to craft cocktails. This temple to the lost art of cocktail goes back to the source, featuring veteran bartenders from the younger years of the White City. With an Asian-colonial inspired kitchen and a wide range of music from jazz to rock n’ roll, it’s no coincidence Imperial was crowned Drinks International magazine’s ‘Best Bar in Africa and the Middle East.’
Known as the “cocktail bar pharmacy," the bartenders actually dress like pharmacists, and cocktails are served in three different sized beaker bottles. This is the largest cocktail bar in Tel Aviv, but don’t get confused when you see a sign for “The East Jaffa Perfume Company” – you’re at the right place! With a happy hour from 18:00 - 21:00 offering 1+1 on all cocktails, it is definitely worth it to pop in a bit early for a deal. This elegant spot features a weekly mojito Monday as well as a massive selection of cocktails every day.
Founded in 2008 by one of the world’s most popular bartenders, Ariel Leizgold, 223 has retained its title as a star of the Dizengoff bar scene. Why not try the cocktail that first won Leizgold an international bartending title, the Passion Fruit 2006, made from vodka, ginger, apricot brandy and passion fruit? Or sample one of their prohibition-style cocktails like the Vieux Carré, with rye, cognac, sweet vermouth and bitters. Or, if you’re feeling truly adventurous, tell one of the professionally trained mixologists your flavor preferences and let them work their mixmaster magic. No matter what you choose, you can’t lose. Transcend time and place at the bar that raised the bar in central Tel Aviv.
The quaint one-room bar nestled inside Bellboy is a visual overload. The walls are adorned with period pieces like paintings, key holders and other gems. Mason jars filled with octopi, squids, brains and other organs add a little extra "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" feel to the Victorian ambiance; an old rotary dial sits promptly at one end of the bar, mixology mastermind Ariel Leizgold at the other. While Bellboy adorns their cocktails with crazy serving vessels and magic tricks, Butler shines the spotlight on the cocktail itself – no hooty tooty aesthetics, just unbelievable combinations in simple, identical glasses. Read over the menus "house rules" then dive into the infinite possibilities. Standouts were the "Coffee Cocktail," which tastes exactly like coffee, but does not have a drop of espresso in it, and the "Aviation," which takes a classic gin cocktail, and infuses it with subtle notes of violet. When you re-enter the reality of Rothschild Boulevard on a bustling weekend night, you'll dream of your next visit to Butler. You may even question if it was all a dream to begin with; if such a magical place could exist. Guess you'll just have to return and see...
Redefining the bar experience since 2014, Bell Boy bar has one simple motto: “everyone deserves to have fun.” They pride themselves on an approach to food and drinks that is slightly out of the ordinary. We’d tell you what they mean, but we don’t want to ruin the surprise. You’ll just have to come to the lobby of the Bedichevsky boutique hotel to see for yourself. Reserving a table ahead of time is a smart idea as the place is as popular as it is stylish.
Classy and elegant cocktail bars in Tel Aviv don’t get more authentic than The Library Bar at The Norman Hotel. This stylish 1940s style bar has an extensive cocktail and spirits menu as well as one of the finest wine lists in Tel Aviv. Whether meeting business associates or simply sitting back and relaxing with one of the books in the library, you can enjoy a special all-day food menu from the restaurant kitchen from noon or a traditional English afternoon tea. At night, the bar transforms into a stylish lounge, perfect for a romantic date or a night out with friends.
Ariel Leizgold talks about redefining hospitality, cocktail glass thieves and the 'fantastic' new tricks he's got up his tattooed sleeves Ariel Leizgold has been at your service since he was 17 years old. What started off as a waitstaff position for an events company morphed into shaking and stirring behind the bar a year later, and he hasn't looked back since.
We wouldn’t expect anything but delicious cocktails from the guys behind Spicehaus, therefore their latest creation Double Standard is guaranteed to provide a killer cocktail and a sophisticated snack menu. All the mixers are homemade in the Spicehaus laboratories – with a wide range of healthy tastes and flavors. During the day, the bar turns into a shop selling the numerous house-made mixes for the perfect gift or latest addition to your home bar. This impressive bar and shop is a fabulous extension of the ever popular and high quality Spicehaus cocktail bar. Located on Dizengoff Street, you will be sipping delicious cocktails in the heart of North Tel Aviv.
Aria's “downstairs” ground floor lounge offers a rich cocktail bar alongside dishes from the chef’s kitchen. The new and advanced sound system provides the perfect setting with the DJ located at the center of the circular lounge space. The guests sitting at the bar enjoy a unique experience that starts with dinner and drinks accompanied by live performances of the best local and international DJs, followed by a full-blown party into the midnight hours. Whether you are popping in for Hors D'oeuvres and cocktails or simply looking for some late-night drinks, this exclusive spot in central Tel Aviv is the hangout to head to for some elegant gallivanting.
With cocktail bars popping up left and right on Dizengoff, it can be easy to miss this slightly hidden spot. Jasper John’s is a cozy little bar with a fun attitude and creative cocktails with names like “Pink Agony” and “Black Magic.” On top of their deliciously drinkable concoctions, the bar also features a tasty menu of bar nibbles like pizza and focaccia. Not only are they Italian in food, they’re Italian in nature. In the spirit of Italy, Jasper John’s has adopted the glorified Italian happy hour called “Aperitivo”—order one drink between the hours of 18:00 and 21:00 and you’ll get a free food course too. With a hopping late night crowd that drinks until sunrise, you can start and finish your night here.