TA watering holes: Going up the mainstream – Merhav Yarkon

Volume III

What: Merhav Yarkon

Where: HaRakevet 16

When: Doors open at 9…get there early!!

The former police station turned mega bar is not a typical mainstream club.  Opened in June 2011 Merhav Yarkon ushered in a new era of mainstream Tel Aviv night clubs. Everything from the concept to the design to the music sets this new hotspot comfortably in between the average Tel Aviv mega bar and a ultra alternative underground club.

It’s not comparable to any of the other bars in the city; I just can’t define it as kitchy mainstream because the music is definitely not your typical pop hits but more like electro hits, the kind that everyone knows and loves to dance to.  Merhav is also categorized as “mainstream” because of the huge crowds that flock there and the heavy publicity, the PR and the staff make sure to get the word out about the new club because the nightlife competition in Tel Aviv is fierce and in this dog eat dog city it all comes down to survival of the fittest and when it comes down to it Merhav Yarkons’ motto should be “if ya can’t beat em’… join em”.

Other than the wannabe non-mainstream, too cool for school attitude that makes this bar what it is there are definitely some pretty cool features that this spot has to offer.  Unlike its summer mega-bar comrades it’s not designed with the typical main dance party room and quiet outdoor deck, here you feel like you’re indoors but you’re actually under the night sky in the huge run down police station and if you need a break from the massive sea of people there is an entrance way to a teeny tiny bar, with different music and a different energy altogether, the only problem is, like I said, its teeny tiny and only about 40 people can fit in there comfortably.

All an all I have a feeling this place is going to be around for a while and it’s absolutely worth a visit or two.  If you’re in the mood for something a little different from what you’re used to, but don’t want to stray too far from the cool kids this is the place for you.



TA watering holes: Going up Mainstream – Sublet Roof Lounge

Volume II

What: Sublet

Where: Koifman 6

When: Summertime…every night 9-? / Saturdays begin at 6….(get there early!)


This trendy summertime hangout has been on the Tel Aviv map for the better part of three years and has become a magnet for the tourist invasion and beautiful Tel Avivi mainstreamers alike.  The rooftop lounge/club boasts a picturesque view of the ocean and a sleek & sexy style that has proven to stand the test of time with our ever fickle locals.

What sets this hot spot apart from the other mega-mainstream bars is that there is only an outdoor deck, no indoor space, which means that the sounds of the latest summer sensation music hit are played at a (relatively) low volume, which can really make the whole experience of watching the breathtaking Tel-Aviv sunset on a Saturday evening pretty enjoyable, but the view of Yaffo or the Mediterranean are not the only nice thing to look at around these parts…the crowd definitely is no eyesore.  The painstaking exclusive selection can make anyone who doesn’t look the part think twice about they wear next time they leave the house.  For those lucky enough to make it to the top, so to speak, they’ll be lucky enough to sip a cocktail and mingle with the crème de la crème of TLV.

So, if you wanna feel a little prim and proper for the night hit the Sublet for the mainstream crowd with a cool loungy twist…and if all else fails at least you have plenty of pretty things to look at!



TA watering holes: Going up the mainstream – YaYa Bar

Volume I

What: YAYA

Where: Ben Yehuda 3, corner ofAllenby

When: Summertime…every night 9-? / Saturdays begin at 6….(get there early!)

For all of you super chic mainstream music lovers this is the place to be.  Brand spankin new and filled with the prettiest faces and the hottest bods in Tel Aviv, the YAYA club feeds the summertime hankering for some sweating dancing with strangers.

Located in the Migdalor building, you’ll have to wait in line with a sea of Abercrombie & Fitch wearing guys and scandalously clad ladies to get in, if you get in at all.  The other option being know someone on the inside, you definitely have a better chance of getting down to a Ke$ha remix that way.  Once you’re in grab a bartender’s attention, get your drink and revel in the feeling of be ing one of the popular kids inside the club dancing to the boom boom of the pop tunes or mingle out on its huge rooftop deck overlooking the sparkling city (not to mention the face that you catch a nice breeze in the midst of the thick humidity).

All in all, the joint checks out.   It’s a good time for a once in a while kind of outing but be warned it gets old  very quickly, so spread your YAYA visits out over the summer so that you’ll always have a good time and keep the YAYA motto alive “making fun funner”.


White Nights in Tel Aviv City – a bauhaus celebration

In order for me to even be able to begin to speak about the insufferable event that is pushed on to us, the citizens of Tel Aviv, every year, we really should find out how exactly it all came about.  To do this I turned to my Google God to investigate this phenomenon.  This is what I found on Wikipedia:

Layla Lavan (White Night) event is celebrated all over Tel Aviv since 2003, when the “White City” of Tel Aviv was awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO.  Because of the award and the initiative of municipality of Tel Aviv, every summer is welcomed by an entire night (and a few hours before and after) bars/clubs, stores and cultural and establishments in the city have lowered prices or are free and in the arts there are shows of all types—music, dance, theater, film, video art, and exhibitions.  Some of the performances are under the night sky or on the beach.

At first glance it would seem that this may be an exciting cultural event that emphasizes the uniqueness of our beautiful Tel Aviv, however like almost everything else here, the difference between what is perceived and the actual reality is definitely coincidental.

Lets begin from a completely basic standpoint before we actually talk about the actual event. We, and I’m speaking in the name of most Tel Aviv citizens, really do love our city.  It’s not for nothing that some of us have coined it “the country of Tel Aviv” as a shameful nickname for our observance of isolation from the rest of the country.  We like it that way, it’s not important why at the moment; it can be interpreted in different ways. Therefore, we really don’t like, in laments terms, mass events that may cluster our dear country together.

White Night is just another one of those mass events.  To be honest, I just never really got it. People flood the boulevards, the streets, and every corner there’s something else going on.  Beginning with cotton candy, or beer, food, clothes, another massive street party and it all just keeps going on and on all night long, for no apparent reason.

Everyone you could possibly think of is also there.  Gives you the feeling that the entire country of Israel was stuffed one night into the city and they aren’t planning on leaving.

So, of course, this is undoubtedly going to seem like an amazing happening, because, for them, Tel Aviv is magical and full of surprises, wherever you are, and whenever you go, and this night has another kind of magic all on its own.  The perfect combination of opposites, nighttime and noise creates a bewitching buzz that manager to take over people.

And at any given time or point in the night you can find what you looking for, because there is everything.  However at certain time in the night the only thing you’re really going to be looking for is a dark corner to throw-up in due to the massive cheap alcohol intake that you forced down your throat, but that’s all just semantics.

Everything is really all well and good. In theory.

But they aren’t fooling anyone. Another White Night doesn’t do it for me, I have seen them all, and not because I’m especially cool, but because that’s just the city we live in.

I prepare for this night like I would a battle. A month before, when there is a confirmed date, I begin to panic.  Immediately afterwards I find out if there is a street party planned in my neighborhood.  Only after I find out that a party will not be taking place where I live that year I sigh a sigh of relief that the noise won’t be directly under my house.  The next phase is my pathetic attempt to be part of the entire thing.  Every year I say to myself “Chen, maybe this year climb down your mount Olympus and try to be a part of it, what could possibly happen?” and every year I really do try.  I find out about different parties, which places are worth a leaving my house for, and it’s like I’m lying to myself every time, because when the night come around, I get dressed, prepare myself for the unknown and adventure coupled with doubt and go out into the streets.

I’m sure most of you are waiting to hear a sort of happy ending, about my understanding that I was actually completely wrong and how this night is actually everything that is good about this city, but no.

Party on every corner - white night TLV

Already during the first interaction between me and the street my snobbism take over and I feel like everyone around me are just like unwanted guests in my home.  There’s noise, a lot of it, nowhere to sit, or even just to stand, and I start o get annoyed.  I look for myself within this thing around me, because it obviously can’t just be me that’s suffering while everyone else is having fun.  So I continue to just walk around in the street, just like them, looking for something.  Everything is colorful, and big, and happy, and drunk, and for one moment I do see the magic that everyone else speaks of, I join the in on the fun for nothing, just trying to be happy.

But that magic is cut off the first second I see someone peeing on a building, or running drunk between moving cars.

How did it happen that we, the citizens of Tel Aviv, living in the epicenter of noise, are thirsty for some quiet?  How can it be that we close ourselves up in our houses during the huge mass events, just waiting for it to be over?

I will speak only for myself. It’s not that I’ve gotten old, or that I’ve gotten my fill, or that I have just become another snobby and bitter Tel-Avivit.  I just simply believe that Tel Aviv should not be put on display.  A look in on one drunken night will never do justice to this city.  The beauty is in the little things here.  In the pretty sunsets on Alma beach, night strolls in Yaffo, impromptu shows by amateurs at a juice shop in Florentine, the darkness of the Cat&Dog underground to the light of the Armadillo pub, in the noise, in the quiet, in the freedom, and mostly in the conflicted lives of each and every one of Tel-Aviv’s citizens.

So for one night, I don’t really care that everyone else has a little fun, because they’ll never really understand.  I guess the dream of a “big city experience” for the rest of us is like watching Kate and William getting married; a far away fantasy that will never come true.

All the rest, the ones who are “living the dream”, don’t be surprised to find out that sometimes, the dream, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.