This guest post was written by Trisha Velarmino.
Though Israel is not a stranger to Europe, the rest of the world will still incorporate the misunderstood country to vast desert lands, long stretch of seas and Jewish people walking around with keepas. Not everyone has a full knowledge of the first uber-modern-hipster-inhabited Jewish city of Tel Aviv. A bubble is what they call it, where everyone gets in and nobody can ever get out.
The seemingly hurtful but ecstatic belt most young people like me cannot escape from. There is no division between night and day. Not that the nightlife is thriving but it’s more of having the freedom to do the things you do at any time of the day. Going to dinner at 22:00 or meeting a friend for coffee at 2:30 — that kind of thing. Tel Aviv have a sense of life they made possible to be agreeable to its people.
You might find it hard to believe but this is the day in a life of a Tel Avivian.
6:00 The waves are calling
Get up, grab your bike and get ready to play. The whole city of Tel Aviv is facing the Mediterranean Sea, so decent surf waves come and go. If you’re a pro, don’t expect for a super huge height to come this way because the glides are just for fun. It’s a no-show off ride and a way of Tel Avivians to wake up and jumpstart the day. Banana Beach, Hilton Beach, Bat Galim, Dromi (Ashdod), and Maravi are some of the most popular spots frequented by local surfers who are longing for a ride. Surf equipment can be rented in all these spots so don’t worry if you come unprepared.
8:00 Smell the coffee and wake up
After a very tedious playdate, you need to eat. The long avenue of Dizengoff is home to the best breakfast cafes in the country it won’t be difficult to find your way. Nola, a classic American bakery will give you a taste of New Orleans. People with hangover usually come here for the bacon. If you want a typical Israeli breakfast, Room Service is the place. A three-level display of food is available should you be confused on what to order. Carb overload is what you’ll get if you opt to sit down at Bread Story as their speciality is what they are called for. But hey! Don’t forget to try their shakshuka while you’re at it!
9:30 The start-up nation starts a normal day in ‘the office’
Yep. Most of the Tel Avivians you will come across earns a living from a laptop. They work anywhere and this perfectly explains the free-spirit energy that envelopes the entire city. As early as 9:00, you will see all the cafes packed with people working on their computers. With the rise of the freelance workers, cafes are not even enough to accommodate anyone. This event gave birth to the co-working space culture. These are spaces (not cafes) that offer a dedicated desk and/or an office space to a shared community. Meaning, you will be able to meet the same people who are in the Digital Nomad revolution.
Misanthrope, MindSpace and SOSA are some of the quirkiest and coziest spaces, that offer different membership schemes for short and long term rentals. You will also get the chance to come across great minds in this kind of working environment!
13:30 Lunch, anyone?
The freelance work of Tel Aviv has a very balanced life-work relationship so yes, if you are wondering, 4 hours of work is enough, for now. The Minzar is flocked by many young adults as it has a very social environment because of its outdoor setting. And the food, oh the food! Though more popular for dinners, Egyptian inspired Port Said is always packed (believe me, there will come a time that you will just give up because of the long lines) so it’s also a better option for lunch. Great food. Outstanding food. Designed by top chef Eyal Shani, Port Said’s menu is a variation of meat, vegetables and loads of tahina. Think roast beef Carpaccio, bread (a lot of bread), rooster sandwich, baked potato, cured eggplant and a bottle of Israel’s pride -- Gold Star beer. Because… why not?
15:00 We’re full. Shall we take a walk?
There are 2 very good neighbourhoods in Tel Aviv that not everyone knows about and it’s always a good idea to take a stroll. If you are not up for walking, the green bikes all over the city are available for rental. Daily rate is 17nis (approx $4.00 USD) on weekdays and 23nis (approx $6.00 USD) on weekends, including public holidays. Neighbourhood number 1 is called Kerem HaTeimanim located in the center of Tel Aviv. This is where you will see the diversity in Israel as this is home to the Yemenites. The British and Bauhaus architectural styles are 100% perfect for your Instagram feeds.
A little down south of the city (with some confusing alleyways in between), you will find Neve Tzedek, the first Jewish neighbourhood outside Jaffa, now prospering as a fashionable district of Tel Aviv. It maybe one of the oldest districts but the vibe is so young as restoration took place year after year. Boutiques, galleries and shops parade the streets of Neve Tzedek where you can either shop or just enjoy the aesthetics. The visual presentation is perfect, they don’t look like shops at all!
16:30 Let’s go to the beach!
Half of the year, Mr. Sun is very generous to Tel Aviv and this makes everyone who lives here happy. Take a beach blanket, sit down and order a beer at any nearby store down the shore. Tel Avivians have always been physically active so you will see everyone doing sports. Not in an athletic manner but just for fun with friends. The most popular is the matkot, the national beach sport of Israel which is very similar to beach tennis. Hang out with friends and watch the sunset in the beautiful Mediterranean sea. Wow, what a life!
18:30 “Just one beer” is a lie
The “Tel Avivi” culture involves endless socialising so let me tell you that one beer, like in many cultures is never enough. Once you had one at 16:30, you’ll always be asking for more. At this hour, it’s always perfect to hang out with friends and I have nothing to recommend but that rooftop bar in Nachalat Binyamin Street. The Prince, the coziest setting I ever encountered in my life (okay, I come here every day!) offers the cheapest and the best drinks. Just order a kan kan or Gold Star or Maccabi and shots will come your way! Great ambiance, techno-jazz music with Middle Eastern beats in between plus the maximum awesome staff, the Prince is just so hard to beat!
Yes, they have the habit of eating late, too. Achim, the perfect epitome of an Israeli cuisine will make your mouth water after a long day of functioning. Home-made salads and kebabs are the most popular but their menu gives so much importance to fresh ingredients. Beware, this place is always full! Just in case you get tired of the queue, you can always walk 30 steps to Achim’s brother restaurant called Dok, a small but charming place that serves food with ingredients that are only produced in Israel.
Israel prides itself not only as a start-up nation but a cocktail expert, too! Quietly situated at Brenner Street, French 57 is a taste of New Orleans that travelled all the way to Israel to give spice to the nightlife in Tel Aviv with a little bit of jazz. Timid on the outside, open the rustic door and enter a different world. The ambience truly felt like an easy escape — bar stool height is just right, the music will make you feel you are in some bar in France letting the good times roll, and of course, my favourite interior of them all is the wooden barrels stacked on the bar.
00:00 - until whatever time you prefer, let the good times roll!
Known to be a very young city, Tel Aviv never fails when it comes to the nightlife. Don’t start wild. You must do this in order as each of these places will go along the height of your “party mood.”
- SpeakEasy @ Rothschild 22 (drinks)
- Jimmy Who @ Rothschild 24 (drinks, some dance)
- Sputnik @ Allenby 122 (drinks, some dance)
- The Alphabet @ Ahad Ha’Am 54 (dance!)
- The Block @ Shalma 157 (dance!)
- The Breakfast Club @ Rothschild 6 (dance!)
Finally, whatever time you decide to go out of these bars, don’t forget to get a cheap slice of pizza (or two) at Tony Vespa or a big breakfast at Benedict which is open 24 hours. You will thank me the next day as you wake up without a hangover.
Guest blogger: Trisha Velarmino is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers.
She'd like to believe she's not traditionally travelling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. Trisha also loves extremely spicy food, pineapples, plants and symmetry. In no particular order, her favourite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong and Tel Aviv. Follow her life adventures on her travel blog, Instagram and Facebook.
Showaround: Thank you Trisha for being our guest blogger, and Matanya Tausig as well as Gilad Mashiah for the beautiful photos!