Champagne Happy Hour on a Beer Budget in Tel Aviv

The frugal drinker's guide to eating and drinking on the cheap at some of the city's finest bars and restaurants. The secret is knowing when to go.

Tel Aviv can stand proudly alongside New York, London and Paris on many fronts, but when it comes to after-work watering holes we still lag far behind. Enterprising bar and restaurant owners, however, are increasingly turning to the Happy Hour premise, hoping to draw more customers during the usually quiet early evening with the lure of discounted drink with a nosh on the side.

With higher taxes on alcohol looming, now is not the time to delay gratification.

Imperial Craft Cocktail Bar

The place that took the world of mixed drinks a step forward, with concoctions never seen before in Israel. The Imperial is one of several new high-design establishments in Tel Aviv. It seats under 40 customers, who are surrounded by gorgeous decor and unforgettable cocktails.

The deal: 50-percent discount on all cocktails and spirits made on the premises, and 20-percent discount on all beer and wine.

What to nosh: Tataki steak with Chinese cabbage in a seafood glaze.

When: Daily, 6 P.M. to 8 P.M.

Imperial Cocktail Bar, Imperial Hotel, 66 Hayarkon St., Tel Aviv

Hotel Montefiore

When you want to feel like Europe in Tel Aviv, including a cool breeze, Hotel Montefiore and its very happy hours have little competition. You had us at the complimentary snacks.

The deal: Wine and spirits at already-reasonable prices: a glass of white for NIS 20, red for NIS 24 and sparkling wine for NIS 22, plus a tray of salty snacks and bruschetta with every order. The bonus is that the deal is not only on alcoholic beverages, there are free scones with every order of tea or coffee.

What to nosh: On top of the free nibbles, we recommend the club sandwich or the small and amazing spring rolls.

When: Daily, 5 P.M. to 8 P.M.

Hotel Montefiore, 36 Montefiore St., Tel Aviv

Mizlala by Meir Adoni

The noisy and colorful version of the chef's serious and very expensive Catit. But don't worry, that doesn't mean any less attention is paid to the food and drinks here.

The deal: Mizlala recognizes the need to drink as early as possible, so alongside the "57 Menu" - one appetizer and one entrée for NIS 57 - the restaurant also offer cocktails, as well as single glasses of wine, for just NIS 25 each.

What to nosh: It's a tough choice between the calf's-brain "Boulangerie" croissant, the grilled pork sandwich and the Thai salad; whatever you decide, they'll pair it with the right alcoholic beverage.

When: Sunday to Thursday, noon to 7 P.M.

Mizlala by Meir Adoni, 57 Nahlat Binyamin St., Tel Aviv

Wineberg

The proximity to the beach and the Ben-Yehuda Street location makes Wineberg popular with the tourists, but for people living nearby like the combination of good, inexpensive food and lots of alcohol.

The deal: "The drinks are on you, the good things from the kitchen are on us." Every drink order comes with a nice plate of snacks. A half-liter of Maccabi beer will cost you NIS 24, cocktails are NIS 38 to NIS 42, wines from Portugal are NIS 28 per glass - and we haven't even mentioned the selection of beers at NIS 12 to NIS 19 for 250 ml.

What to nosh: stuffed roulades, labaneh (a soft yogurt cheese), bruschettas, stuffed grape leaves and various tapas dishes.

When: Daily, 6 P.M. to 9 P.M.

Wineberg, 106 Ben-Yehuda St., Tel Aviv

Cafe Dalia

Every time we talk about Cafe Dalia, we wonder why there are so few beer gardens here. The place combines the winning concept of a hidden beer garden at the end of the Nahlat Binyamin pedestrian mall, small portions for snacking and extremely sane prices. Who needs anything more?

The deal: Every second glass of beer is half price. For example, just NIS 12.50 instead of NIS 25 for Primator Premium, and St. Bernardus for NIS 16.

What to nosh: A Bavarian pretzel for NIS 5: If you want to do Europe, then do it right.

When: Sunday through Thursday, noon to 4 P.M.

Cafe Dalia: 23 Nahlat Binyamin St., Tel Aviv

Casino San Remo
The hot new guy of Jaffa's Noga Theater compound, with good music in the background throughout the day and chef Guy Harel's very diner-friendly menu.
The deal: Man cannot live on 1+1 alone, so there also 1-liter pitchers of beer for NIS 46 and alcoholic slushes - orange Campari, pink lemonade with vodka and more - for just NIS 18 a glass.

What to nosh: calamari bruschetta with cherry tomatoes, green chili and goat's milk yogurt; toasted bread salad, blanched green beans with bacon and almonds; currywurst and chips, and much more.

When: Daily 6 P.M. to 9 P.M. Did you arrive too early? Half-liter bottles of Nesher beer are NIS 18 until 6 P.M.

Casino San Remo: 2 Nehama St., Jaffa

Daniel Tchetchik