During the spring, we introduced a HUGE list of restaurants frequented by Israeli chefs called, "Where Israeli chefs eat." It was also a huge hit and we figured if we can do it with restaurants in Israel, why not shine the spotlight on the cocktail bar scene too? We asked the most innovative mixologists around like Ariel Leizgold of Bellboy, Butler, and 223, where their (second-)favorite Tel Aviv bars to visit after work are. Get ready to rock on with your cocktail on. Here's what they had to say:
Tales from an Israeli bartender
"There is no place I prefer more than Amiram in the Old North. The place, one of the oldest in the country, held the first beer barrel that was used in Israel and saw different periods in the life of the city and the country. It really oozes history and tradition. Hagit, the owner of the place, is a sincere, warm and loving woman who does her work in an inspiring way. I think that in Amiram I find my solace in the fact that it is so far away from the product that I produce in my places, so I can really relax and devote myself to such a place, and just sit and enjoy the story."
"Basically I enjoy almost everywhere, but it is mainly thanks to the great company – if the staff are pleasant, friendly, and service oriented, it adds to the experience of that evening. I'm a man of whiskey so I can manage almost anywhere, but I have to mention La Shuk, Bar Barbunia, and of course 223."
"When I get out to loosen up and have a drink, usually after a shift, I like to sit at Jasper – a small intimate bar that starts to fill up in the late hours of the night. The service is professional and charming, and the bartenders and waiters have become good friends of mine. The drinks are also great and unlike many 'cocktail' bars, they provide you with that feeling that you can order whatever you want."
"I think Hotel Montefiore is a very good place in terms of bartenders, product, and food. I also really like the Tailor Made; their Smokey Margarita is on point. They sell a great product in a non-committal atmosphere, and pair it with good cocktails and great food."
"My favorite bar for an evening with friends is probably Foster. They have a great happy hour, kind service, and the Guinness is cold and flows like water. For date night, the Social Club is always fun. The service is meticulous but not pretentious, the food is very tasty, the drinks are precise and the wine list is varied."
"I recommend Rothschild 12 - the beer is always fresh, the playlist wins every time, and the crowd is always beautiful. Also, Imperial is great as well as Bar Barbunia, where the design and music take me back to the first bar I worked at as a dishwasher at 15. I'd fantasize about sitting at the bar with cold beer and a plate of fries."