Tel Aviv’s bar scene is as famous as its party scene. Israelis love drinking, but are generally more chilled out about it than their European counterparts. Hanging out in bars is more about socialising than knocking back drinks, though that may also be because alcohol is really expensive in Israel. Some bars also serve food that’s good enough to make them comparable to Tel Aviv’s excellent restaurants. Others operate as a café in the day, and become more of a bar at night.
Locals may generally drink (local, excellent) wine with their meal, but bars are generally more about beers and spirits (in shots, often called “chasers” and drunk after a beer). There are a few cocktail bars in town, which are suitably pricey, but do serve a mean drink.
What time do people go out to bars in Tel Aviv?
This is a late city. Go out before 22:00 and most places will be dead, though many will be open and offer the benefit of a happy hour. If you want to feel the buzz, though, try a time closer to midnight.
In the week, when people are working, you’ll see a bit more action earlier in the evening, but the city’s younger locals are still likely to be out late.
Most bars are open till the early hours and some will stay open until “last customer”, though if you are that last customer, make sure you keep ordering drinks and tipping your waiter or bartender well, or you may experience some of the infamous Israeli rudeness. Dance bars are often open till morning.
Where are the bars in Tel Aviv?
Tel Aviv may be small, but it doesn’t have a designated bar and nightlife area. There are bars all over town, and each neighbourhood features some that go with its denizens and vibe.
The main tourist area of town is along the Ben Yehuda and HaYarkon streets, where many hotels and holiday flats are located. Bars in these areas (and the parallel Dizengoff St.) don’t generally attract many locals, with few exceptions.
Similarly, Rothschild Blvd. is known as a place mostly frequented by people from outside of Tel Aviv, again, with few exceptions.
Allenby St., Herzl St. and the Florentin neighbourhood are likely to offer some more interesting choices, depending on what you want. See below for some suggestions.
What do you wear to bars in Tel Aviv?
In general, you can wear anything you want. Tel Aviv is a casual place. Even the fanciest bars will expect smart casual at most. While people in Tel Aviv are fashion conscious, you won’t be expected to put on a suit or high heels to go anywhere.
Unless you’re going to a particularly upmarket cocktail bar or dance bar, you could probably get away with wearing your beach clothes, too.
Can you smoke in bars in Tel Aviv?
Officially speaking, no you cannot. There is an indoor smoking ban in Israel. Unofficially, things are more complex. Many bars have outdoor seating where you can legally smoke to your heart’s content. Because so many people smoke in Israel, many bars will turn a blind eye to people smoking inside too. Both patrons and bar owners can get massive spot fines from city inspectors if anyone is found smoking indoors, though this is an infrequent occurrence. If you see everyone else dropping their cigarettes on the floor or are asked by staff members to put out your cigarette, I suggest you do this, unless you want a 1000NIS fine.
Here today, gone tomorrow
Tel Aviv is a very fast-paced city. New bars burst onto the scene, draw the hip crowd for a few months or longer, and then often disappear as the cool crowd drifts away somewhere else. The following bars are among the rare ones that are consistently cool, but as new places appear all the time, you probably want to buy the full DIY Tel Aviv guide to keep up to date.
What are some good Tel Aviv bars?
Herzel 16 * 03-5544300 * Mon – Thu 11:00 – last customer, Fri, Sat 8:00 – last customer
Free live music by local alternative and / or unsigned artists pretty much every night. Great food, drinks and vibe.
Allenby 60 (down the side of the building) * 03-5173015 * Around the clock
A bar that’s a scene. Tel Aviv’s long-running casual mecca where you can just turn up and have a drink 365 days of the year (yes, the whole 365 days of the year). Wear what you want, show up any time.
Imperial Cocktail Bar
HaYarkon 66 (inside the Imperial Hotel) * 0 73-264-9464 * 18:00 – 2:00 daily
Tel Aviv’s best cocktail bar. There are finally some very decent other contenders, but this place is still the first one you should try. Retro speakeasy vibe, Asian-fusion food, nice music, and a unique vibe. The Happy Hour is a good deal.