Every year that wonderful day when we’re supposed to celebrate ourselves arrives – what could be better? But actually, all the joy and happiness aside, the birthday celebration goes hand in hand with a big logistic headache.
Once upon a time it was so easy: some Bamba and Bisli, the bomb shelter downstairs, colorful invitations and little goodie bags with surprises tucked inside for everyone on their way out. True, there was the dilemma of whom to invite (or more accurately, whom not to invite) but that’s nothing compared to the complications of planning parties as an adult. Although the Bamba is still here (and we can hope that the goodie bag will have its resurgence, too), written invitations are long gone and the bomb shelter has been replaced by a pub – and if it’s got a private room, even better.
There’s no need for an in-depth investigation or to overburden the liver with alcohol tastings ahead of the long-awaited date. Below are all the bars in Tel Aviv that are best suited to your upcoming b-day. Mazal tov!
Urban-tribal atmosphere: Voodoo
Voodoo, opened two years ago by the same folks who brought you Sputnik Bar, is an ideal venue for nighttime entertainment. The bar on the corner of King George and Bograshov streets – the heart of darkness of sin city – offers outdoor seating in the colorful garden, chairs along the bar, which conjures up images of Hawaii, and a dance floor in the basement downstairs.
The vibe? A sort of gastro-bar-lounge with a diverse cocktail menu, high-end food selection and electronic music that picks up the atmosphere and lays down the groundwork for the rest of the evening. Whether you prefer to chill with a couple of drinks or want to rev things up and head downstairs to dance, this is the place for you.
How many people? Between 30 and 40. The bar has long tables in the outside seating area and the staff can put them together for your party.
Special deals? Nothing definite, but there’s a good chance that you’ll be treated to a round of chasers and at least one dessert.
Private room? No, but if you get there early, around 9 or 10 P.M., before the dance floor in the basement fills up, you’ll have a chance to enjoy near-privacy there and in the seating areas.
How far in advance should you book? About two weeks before the event.
Voodoo, 1 Ben Zion Blvd., 052-8335035
The alleys belong to us: Ramesses
One of the coolest places in Jaffa, Ramesses is hidden away in the heart of an alley, right there between the buildings. It’s always fun at Ramesses. With great food, an original cocktail menu and space for walking around between the tables, it’s as if it was designed for birthday celebrations.
The vibe? A Jaffa-esque spot, with everything that entails: beautiful old buildings, a breeze from the sea that passes through the alleys by the Jaffa Clock Tower, chill electronic music and stylish tourists.
How many people? Up to 30, but it’s also possible to reserve the place for private events. Not long ago they even held a wedding there for 450 people.
Special deals? Nada, but if you have a big table then they’ll treat you to a round of chasers on the house, and if you’ve really gone to town and the bill is starting to add up, there might be a gratis dessert, too.
Private room? No; the vibe here is more of a Le Grand Mingle.
How far in advance should you book? Two or three weeks beforehand.
Ramesses, Hagymnasiya Haivrit 7, 03-6163885
This roof is on fire: Suramare
Since it opened, Suramare has become a lodestone for Tel Aviv nightlife. You arrive at a parking lot lit up in its entirety with psychedelic video art. From there you ascend to the top floor (relax, there’s an elevator), where you find yourself on an sweeping rooftop that looks out over Tel Aviv.
The vibe? Suramare is a culinary bar that offers the ultimate entertainment experience. This includes surprising cocktails, a varied and impressive menu and deep house and chill music in the background, all in an area designed as an event space, which only adds to its allure. Add to that an open roof and exhilarating vistas and you get a bar that will confuse you for a minute and make you think you’re in New York.
How many people? The site can hold about 250 people, and the event areas are meant for gatherings of 15-30 guests. There is also an option to reserve the entire space for large events.
Special deals? For large and small groups there’s a deal that offers unlimited drinks and food all evening long for a fixed price.
Private room? Not one, but three. Each one can hold up to 12 people, and all three offer a hypnotic urban landscape. In addition, there are several cool areas designated for larger groups.
How far in advance to book? Two or three weeks beforehand.
Suramare, Se’adya Gaon 24
Son of the king: The Prince
From the height of the barstool on a cool rooftop in the heart of Nahalat Binyamin in Tel Aviv, you’ll find The Prince, the bar that attracts local revelers, couples on dates and tourists.
The vibe? The place describes itself as the Home of Liquor and Culture, and it totally meets the definition. The easygoing and open atmosphere is inviting to groups of friends who enjoy sharing a pitcher of beer, couples enjoying the breeze on the porch and people from the neighborhood who have already crowned The Prince as their regular spot.
How many people? Perfect for birthdays of up to 25 people.
Special deals? A hug and some love from the waitstaff – for free.
Private room? No private room, but you will find cozy corners with big tables that you and your friends can take over.
How far in advance to book? For large events in the winter, it’s sufficient to book a week in advance, but in the warm season it’s recommended to book two or three weeks ahead of time. For small events, three or four days beforehand should be enough.
The Prince, 18 Nahalat Binyamin St., 058-606-1818
The route to inebriation: Hamezeg
This famous “bracelet bar” with its unlimited “drinking routes,” located at the northern end of Ibn Gvirol Street, is designed like a Mediterranean tavern. The concept is simple: You come in, select a “route” – a selection of beverages – get a wristband and start drinking.
The vibe? This is the place where young people from the city and elsewhere come to hang out. The staff makes it their business to keep us happy by playing the hits and house music. Hamezeg is known for its changing concept nights, hosting guest mixologists and chefs with special menus.
How many people? The courtyard is good for 20 to 30 people and the space inside can fit groups of up to 50.
Special deals? Nope, but you do have the drinking routes, which are worth it.
Private room? No, but you can arrange to close off either the inside space or the courtyard for your event.
How far in advance to book? A week ahead of time for large events, a day or two for small ones. The most popular times for celebrating birthdays at Hamezeg are Friday afternoons and evenings and Monday and Thursday evenings.
Hamezeg, 151 Ibn Gvirol St., 052-397-4760
Anything you want: Sputnik
At Sputnik you’ll find cool rooms, an expansive courtyard and a club, with the three merging to form a diverse entertainment experience suited to partygoers of all types.
The vibe? The courtyard is open until 1 A.M., but you can go wild in the club until daybreak to the sounds of techno, electro and black music. It goes without saying that the fun lies in zigzagging between the different areas.
How many people? The courtyard is capped at 120 people, the private room can fit up to 80 and the adjacent porch will happily accommodate 40 drinkers.
Special deals? No, although it should be mentioned that Sputnik offers happy hour deals Sunday through Wednesday between 7 and 9 P.M.
Private room? Yes, and it even has a name – “Yaakov’s room.” It includes its own bar and DJ stand, separate from the club.
How far in advance to book? Two weeks in advance for large events on Thursdays, one week ahead of events during the rest of the week.
Sputnik Bar, 122 Allenby St., 052-6426532
The ace of Tel Aviv: Kuli Alma
It’s not for nothing that the place’s name means “the whole world” in Aramaic, since everyone in the world, his wife and even his mistress come here. Kuli Alma, which is split between two floors, has become one of the brightest stars of the Tel Aviv nightlife scene.
The vibe? Art is what drives Kuli, from sets by DJs from Israel and abroad, who play hip-hop, dancehall and everything that is cool, to a gallery that features an alternating array of creations to Outside Society, a vintage clothing pop-up shop. The place is decorated with art films and video art, and offers two bars: an open-plan one outside and a warm and cozy one inside the club.
How many people? The entire place can hold 200-250 people. Birthday parties for up to 100 guests can be held in the evening hours, but the whole venue can be reserved during the afternoon.
Special deals? In principle, there aren’t, but you can make special requests with management.
Private room? There is, and you can reserve it in advance.
How far in advance to book? At least two weeks beforehand for large events.
Kuli Alma, 10 Mikveh Israel St., 03-6565155
Heading uphill: Ala Rampa
According to those who work here, it’s “the most fun place in the world.” We can report that we also found it to be the tastiest and most pleasant place in the world.
The vibe? A long ramp in the south of the city that lifts the area out of its dormant state. Frequenters of the bar include hipsters from Florentin and ex-Jerusalemites, and the venue also hosts DJs and bands. Incidentally, the menu is friendly to the vegetarians and vegans among you.
How many people? 20-30. It’s possible to hold events for 50-60 people by prior arrangement.
Special deals? No, but the owners are open to proposals. You are invited to try your luck.
Private room? No.
How far in advance to book? A week or two ahead of time.
Ala Rampa, 21 Ha’amal St., 03-5461506
Happiest place in the market: Akbar
Akbar in Jaffa flea market is a neighborhood bar that is apparently the only place in the city relaxed enough that you can throw a cake in the birthday boy’s face without causing an incident.
The vibe? An original Jaffa fiefdom where you can find local merchants rubbing shoulders with well-dressed high-tech dudes and young people from all over the city, enjoying the fun atmosphere and music. On Friday afternoons, when the entire market is animated and energized, at Akbar you can experience genuine Jaffa entertainment with bands that take on the responsibility for pleasing the crowd. (They also make their way here the following afternoon.)
How many people? 70 guests midweek and 20 on the weekends.
Special deals? The management promises to indulge the birthday boy or girl with the finest dishes the kitchen has to offer – chasers on the house is so last year.
Private room? There’s a room on the upper floor which can fit 20 guests and is equipped with a pool table (just one request: don’t go too wild).
How far in advance to book? Two weeks in advance.
Akbar, 12 Rabbi Nahman St., 077-4813261
Invested in you: Concierge
A luxurious cocktail bar next to Dizengoff Square that gives you that Manhattan feel in central Tel Aviv.
The vibe? Aside from the impressive cocktails, Concierge is attractive for its high-end service and the exclusive experience that the professional staff strives to ensure. The music is selected with meticulous precision and plays at a volume that doesn’t push its way into your conversation but rather sets the appropriate atmosphere.
How many people? The place has several different areas that are suited for groups from 10 to 80 guests. The entire bar can fit 180 people and can be reserved by prior arrangement.
Special deals? There are none, but you can arrange a special menu in accordance with the type of event and number of guests.
Private room? There’s a separate events space designed for 40 people and a VIP room that can hold 15 guests.
How far in advance to book? Two weeks in advance.
Concierge, 95 Dizengoff St., 03-5223340