10 tips to survive Tel Aviv’s nightlife

In Israel there is a saying that goes something like this: “you go to Haifa to work, Jerusalem to learn, and Tel Aviv to play”.

Tel Aviv beach

Tel Aviv is Israel’s epicentre, culturally, economically, and especially socially. A young, vibrant, cosmopolitan city that stretches for miles along the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, with a street vibe that is the perfect blend of cool trendy fashionista and laid-back beach bum, with a healthy splash of lively, chaotic middle-eastern charm.

Although by no means a massive city in terms of population, Tel Aviv is truly a city that never sleeps. So for those wishing to take on the Tel-Aviv nightlife, here are my top 10 tips for going out in Tel Aviv:

1.  Have a nap. Tel Aviv clubs generally don’t open before midnight and most places don’t get going until 1 am so a wee little preliminary shloof is a good idea.

2.  Wear whatever you want. Some Israeli’s are definitely super-cool, Euro-chic hipsters, but most are still stuck in 1983, so don’t worry about any fashion police. Though be warned that, this being a beach town, less is more, if you get my midriff, I mean drift.

3.  Take lots of money. Good clubs will charge entry. Also, while you can buy a whole bottle of vodka in Israeli supermarkets for less than £3, drinks at clubs are expensive (though usually contain lots of alcohol, see point 7 below).

4.  Tip. As bartenders are paid poorly and literally need to live off their tips, tipping is expected, and anything less than 12% will not win you friends (this goes for restaurants too).

5.  Be prepared for long and disorderly queuing outside popular clubs, and perhaps a little push and shove. If you can, get the girl at the gate to write down your name. Being on ‘the list’ might speed things up. Then again it might not. Other people may turn up and be admitted automatically. They know someone who works on the inside.

6.  Get to know someone who works on the inside.

7.  Learn to order drinks. In Israel a ‘chaser’ is actually shot, not a beer to follow a shot. And shots are always doubles (actually Israeli bartenders are extremely liberal with their pouring, so enjoy!). But be warned for some weird reason they rarely use limes in their cocktails, so I’d avoid ordering a caipariñha.

8.  Dance under the air conditioning. They still smoke in clubs in Israel. Though technically illegal, no one polices it.

9.  Sit at the bar. If you are after a drink without needing to dance to loud music then head to a restaurant and make sure to sit at the bar. As long as you keep eating, you will likely be plied with free vodka and Arak shots all night long (I did say they were generous with their alcohol).

10.  Finally, cheers in Hebrew = Le Haim!

Tel Aviv nightlife


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