Few think of Israel as a nightlife capital, and yet, Tel Aviv has been a positively electrified hub of musical talent — not to mention world-class bars — for more than a decade. Feeling a bit of that FOMO coming on? Plan an adventure to one (or all) of these seven fixtures of Tel Aviv nightlife.
Herzl16 (Neve Tzedek)
From the ashes of Rothschild 12, closed down in 2017, Herzl16 rose to deliver a new era of spirited adventure. The perfect place to transition from evening wine to after-dark cocktails, Herzl16 boasts a straightforward, refined spirits list; Japanese-inspired eats; and wines sufficient to appease ardent oenophiles. Some have claimed Herzl16 nods to the traditional bar designs of Berlin or Rome, though it counters that imitation with an eclectic menu, artistic flourish (top local and international musicians play here regularly), and “chameleon-esque” personality. It’s really hard to describe beyond that; you’ll have to experience it for yourself.
Speakeasy (Neve Tzedek)
Ironically, perhaps, Speakeasy’s most attractive feature is its rooftop bar: a light-strung hub of nighttime energy, with younger sets lounging on plush couches, cocktails in-hand. One side looks down onto the city while the other is fitted with windows and bar tops that look into the bar and kitchen. Cocktails are inventive, but lean on well or lower-grade spirits, so be sure you upgrade with your own picks. Oh, and couple your order with some noshy rosemary-scented fries. You don’t want to be drinking on an empty stomach, after all.
The Library Bar (Nachalat Binyamin)
Not everybody is a center-of-the-spotlight partier; if you’re a more low-key, sophisticated nightlifer, then amble to The Library Bar. Located in the posh Norman Hotel, The Library Bar is right out of “Clue,” serving as the ideal spot for sinking into a wingback or tucking in at the bar with a Vieux Carré and a good book. We highly recommend going with a Library signature drink (our choice sipper is the Galliano and Chartreuse-fitted Bloody Hell cocktail), though you can determine your own fate with plentiful lists of top-shelf spirits (including a healthy selection of tequilas and mezcals, somewhat to our surprise) and a mixological team worth their weight in bitters. Bonus: Grab a cigar while you’re here and pretend you’re Churchill.
223 Bar (Old North)
Across from the expansive Independence Park, 223 Bar is most certainly service-driven, with a personality that focuses keenly on aesthetics. You’ll see that prominently in the garnishes on the cocktails, which are veritable works of art. You can always go classic, but may we recommend the Habshoush Old Fashioned (a nutty-sweet variation on the standard with rum, hints of pecan, and maple)? Whatever cocktails you settle on, celebrate the fact that you’re imbibing in Israel’s oldest running cocktail bar.
Kuli Alma (Lev Hair)
Just south of the Lev Hair district, Kuli Alma is a self-professed “music and art-focused nightlife institution” that’s as raw as it is unapologetically experimental. The entire space is a feast for the senses, with broad street art murals, vintage films projected onto concrete walls, and DJs spinning new tunes never before played. When you’ve truly soaked in this spirit of expression, get yourself to the dance floor to match the hip-hop, electronic, or house tunes with your own jiggy.
Havana Club (Ramat Israel)
The faraway flair of Cuba makes a home in Tel Aviv at Havana Club — a hot, salsa-styled dance haven that delights patrons until the wee hours. Our favorite part of this club (aside from the Falafels and Mojitos) is the instruction: salsa lessons are offered to dancing newbies. Heck, you can even get some tutelage if you’re a self-styled expert with lessons broken down into 13 different levels. If salsa is not your main squeeze, never fear; musicians of every stripe perform here, covering everything from mild-mannered folk to electrifying electronica.
TEDER (Neve Tzedek)
Conceived as an itinerant radio station that broadcasts big-time pop music during the summers, TEDER eventually settled into a permanent location where they play top tunes all night long for dance-maven and music-lovers. Expect some electronic vibes mixed with mellow piano and everything in between — not to mention a showcase of talent from across the world. With an open-air courtyard prime for grooving, onsite pizza cooked by one of Tel Aviv’s pre-eminent culinary talents, and, of course, a well-stocked bar, you’ve got the night made at TEDER.
If you’re in Tel Aviv, make it a well-rounded adventure with good eats, posh accommodations, (more) Tel Aviv nightlife, and activities you can only experience in Israel. Get all the deets at the city’s tourism website.