Just in Time for Eurovision 2019: A New Gay Bar Opens in Tel Aviv

La Bohème offers drinks ranging from classic cocktails to innovative mixtures and a much-desired nightlife alternative for the LGBT community

A busy night at Tel Aviv's new gay bar, La bohème.
Noy Arkovi

In recent years Tel Aviv has been at the cutting edge with other global cities in more than a few categories, offering excellent restaurants for reasonable prices (certainly in dollars or euros), a variety of great street food, cafes of all kinds, including those that grind before brewing on site. For the most part the city has nothing to be ashamed of.

Tel Aviv kicks ass in the culinary and entertainment scene with the exception of two important realms: The first is the absence of a developed drinking culture and the second is the absence of nice places for members of the LGBTQ community to go. For years no worthy place had opened despite some contenders. It’s not really clear why Tel Aviv, a liberal city with a lively gay community hasn’t closed the gap, with no new places of entertainment opening beyond the parties.

>> Read more: Fabulous drinks on the cheap: Tel Aviv's best happy hour spots

Rotem Lalouche now seeks to enter this niche, by opening La Bohème, a cocktail bar for the LGBTQ community.

They took it literally: A cocktail at La bohème, Tel Aviv.
Tal Elkon

“I decided to open a cocktail bar for gays because that’s something that has never existed here before,” Lalouche says. “I think this is something that has been a long time with nothing happening for years, certainly no permanent establishments that open with the intent to remain on the scene.”

“The point of opening the new place is aimed at answering a need of mine and my environment, people who want to have fun, eat well, have a few drinks and enjoy a work of color that enriches their entertainment world. I hope that we succeed in doing that here.”

The new place has opened on the ruins of Mike’s Place at Rehov Ha’arba’a. Lalouche thoroughly renovated the site by himself to make the tailor the bar to his desire.

Understated quality

“Our cocktail menu was put together by mixing specialist Avi Azizov, the only one who succeeded in meeting my need for a great variety of cocktails, a list where everyone could find what they want. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel or to invent anything as much as I’m aspiring to create a high quality product that can provide anyone with a fun and slightly different type of drink,” Lalouche says.

“We have fruity and bittersweet cocktails, we have very deep drinks, even smoky, for whoever’s looking for something more complex and there’s also a cold kitchen that offers small meals or something to nosh on. We will offer brusquetas, handmade quiches, and quality cheese platters and with time it will get fancier,” Lalouche added.

Lalouche’s foray into nightlife follows a career in public relations in past years during which time he did marketing for the gay club “Evita” that once stood on Rehov Yavneh, and drag shows. He also took care of public relations for the giant Waterpark gay party, an annual event at Shefayim during Gay Pride week.

“I will add some content based on my experience to my new place, “ Lalouche says, “calm nights of chill at the start of the week and club or DJ nights at the weekend, receiving the Sabbath and jam sessions and other live shows in the piazza at Givon Square...my real goal is to create something approximating the gay scene in Europe,” he says.

So what are you having and how much does it cost?

The menus includes classic cocktails that may take some customers back in time. The drinks on offer include Cosmopolitans, Espresso Martini, Tom Collins, daiquiris, mojitos, Mai Tais, Long Island Ice Teas, Lynchburg Lemonade, Negronis, Old Fashions, Manhattans, martinis, and the Tipperary.

La Bohème, Ha’arba’a 14, Tel Aviv. Open every day from 8 P.M.