There are those who like to be different when it comes to entertainment. They’re looking for added value and want to combine a night on the town with a cultural experience. An intriguing trend that is perfectly attuned to their wishes has emerged in Tel Aviv – art combined with night life. Exhibitions have been sprouting in bars and restaurants like mushrooms after the rain; pop-up galleries are opening in city cellars, and in-depth, educational artistic activities are being offered on Tel Aviv rooftops. Here are some bars that are out to generate fusion between gallery-going and a pub crawl.
A multi-pub with a courtyard, inner bar and a roomy dance area. There are also spaces for art exhibitions, used-clothing sales, lectures, panel discussions, music performances and for drinking, too. Kuli Alma has been hosting exhibitions for years, making it one of the city’s pioneers in this realm. The exhibitions are diverse, from comics about relationships by Yehuda Adi Devir, to socially aware video art projected on the walls of the dance space.
10 Mikveh Yisrael Street, phone 053-531-8560
This leisure site, located on the 10th floor of an office building, decided to connect to its roots and open a video art gallery in the building’s parking area. The gallery converses with the bar, which offers a range of cocktails, spicy and sweet, as only the Suramare team knows how to mix them. How to reach this demi-paradise? The front entrance is locked every evening, so to get to the gallery you’ll need to cross the underground parking lot. Don’t forget to go upstairs to check out the view from the balcony. (A multimedia exhibition is on view until March 20.)
24 Sa’adya Gaon Street, 054-531-2553
Opened less than two years ago in an Ottoman-era building in Jaffa, this is an art center with studios and exhibition spaces, and also offers classes and lectures. The bar and restaurant has a large seating area with low wooden tables and art objects on display, as well as antique chandeliers that hang from the ceiling. On the walls are pictures and photographs that seem to have been preserved from the Ottoman period. Shelves are packed with art books. Five photography exhibitions by local artists documenting everyday life in Israel are on view until April 1.
14 Hatsorfim Street, phone: 03-6502938
What hasn’t been said about this urban circus, which hosts exhibitions, performances, lectures, poetry slams and whatnot? Not to mention that it’s hard to resist the temptation, parallel to the artistic experience, of trying one of the vodka-based drinks. The place is open in the morning for training sessions and rehearsals by circus and dance professionals.
72 Harakevet Street, phone: 077-5416529
There’s multicultural activity in the heart of the Jaffa flea market, in a building rife with inspiration, with an art gallery, antiques, live music, food and drink, including elegant cocktails and great beers on tap. It’s a vast complex: On the ground floor you can sit with friends at big tables or go outside for a smoke and take in the Jaffa views, while on the upper floor there are crowded, low tables where you can take a breather between visiting the gallery spaces.
3 Noam Street, phone: 054-8387452
A veteran establishment located on the Nahalat Binyamin pedestrian mall, with a balcony overlooking city lanes. The distinctive atmosphere and the central location make for a relaxed visiting experience, heightened by a varied menu and dishes to share with friends, cocktails that change with the seasons, lectures, music, rotating exhibitions and an inviting stage for young performers.
On view throughout March is Lior Bar On’s exhibition “Monochrome vs. Colorful” – images deriving from the tension between the monochromatic and the significance of color.
18 Nahalat Binyamin Street, phone: 058-6061818
Three young Israeli backpackers and two experienced nomads got together to establish hostels that encourage tourists to learn about local and regional culture and art. Gal Mor, Yaron Burgin, Maoz Inon, Nitzan Kimchi and Dror Tishler, founded Abraham Hostel, with a branch in Jerusalem and another in Tel Aviv. Guests take in art events adjacent to the bar, concerts, parties and displays of graffiti and other work by Israeli artists. Nonprofits are encouraged to share in the hostel’s activities.
20 Levontin Street, phone: 03-6249200
This bar displays paintings on the walls, with stained glass and odd geometric forms adorning the establishment. The structure itself is somewhat confusing at first, but it’s nice to get lost between the outdoor courtyard and the corridors leading to the colorful bar inside. The décor is pleasant and the food tasty. After viewing the exhibitions, you can proceed to a lively conversation, chill out next to the deejay’s stand or have a cold beer on the side.
122 Allenby Street, phone: 052-6426532
The emphasis here is on the artistic aspect of the venue. Visitors can spend plenty of time taking in the abstract wall paintings and then go on to a beer or two. The party vibe and the crowd that evolves as time passes create a feeling that the night at BuXa will never end. With a sort of hipster atmosphere, the BuXa experience is comparable to that of warm neighborhood hangouts. If you’d like more art along the way, you can head for Beit Romano, where you’ll find Pub Hateder and Sussie’s Art Bay on the top floor of the complex.
BuXa – 31 Rothschild Blvd, phone: 058-5111558
Hateder – 9 Jaffa Road, phone: 03-5719622
Sussie’s – 9 Jaffa Road, phone: 050-771-0108