There is no real gay neighborhood in Tel Aviv, but for the whole country, this city is the hub of gay life. The unofficial, loosely designated gay village is roughly centred around the Dizengoff area of Shenkin Street, and Rothshild Blvd. The beautiful thing about Tel Aviv is that is doesn’t need a gay village. It is a gay village.
Shenkin Street, widely regarded as Tel Aviv’s yuppie area, this busy cosmopolitan street sees bustling t-shirt shops, juice bars and cafés teeming with a broad range of the city’s population, including a healthy dose of homosexuals. It’s an ideal starting point for exploring Tel Aviv, especially on Fridays (essentially their Saturday), sitting in a coffeeshop, watching the hot guys mingle with puppies being sold on benches and frolicking in baskets, next to pseudo-scientology stalls and student campaigners.
Popular daytime cafes include Judah 177, Cafe Bistro, a 4-minute walk from Hilton Beach and Benedict, a 24-hour cafe serving delicious all day breakfasts! The cafe at the Gay and Lesbian Centre close to Gan Meir park is also great for finding out what’s happening later on that night.
You can sit on Dizingoff Street, take in a coffee just off Ben Guiron street and you’ll see more local gays wandering the street that in the more conventional “gay” areas. Indeed, Tel Aviv raises the bar for any nation in showing support for the LGBT community. The Gay Center Tel Aviv serves as a cultural center, event space, meeting hall, host to support agencies, and café.
It seems that there is nothing that Israelis love more than dancing and having a wild time, as you will discover when you go clubbing. You see it immediately on everybody’s face. There are parties every night of the week, while on weekends, there are dozens, beginning with the mega clubs, hosting thousands, and ending with more intimate dance bars.
So when should you go out? It depends on what you are looking for. Many bars have a “Happy Hour” policy, from 19:00 to 21:00, but still, most Israelis never go out before 23:00, even on weekdays.
The Tel Aviv night life begins late. Most clubs don’t open until midnight, and the parties really only get hot an hour or two later. Most places don’t close until dawn, and if you still haven’t had enough, there are after- parties for the truly devoted clubbers. The music played at the clubs varies from House and Techno music at the large discothèques, through dance, and there are even more esoteric places playing hip hop or reggae music. Variety is the name of the game. Several clubs (and restaurants) are located in the Yad Harutzim Street area, an industrial zone during the day, which comes to life at night and is one of the hottest spots in town.
Most nightclubs are mixed and promoters are always changing venues, but there are regular nightly gay bars, clubs and beach parties too. Still more clubs are considered gay-friendly and/or have special gay events on rotation, especially during holiday weekends and for Pride. Some club nights are 18-19-plus, others 21-23+ –but others may sometimes admit only men in their late 20s or older.
Evita is a classic and one of the oldest gay bars in the city. Inside you’ll find pop music and casual dancing or you can head outside to enjoy outdoor patio. Apolo Club is another gay favorite and cruisey-type place located off of Allenby Street.
Those looking to cruise should check out one of two of Tel Aviv’s gay saunas. Sauna Paradise, open 365 days a year for 18+ men (and bi men and women on Wednesdays) and the new Sauna Tel Aviv with full saunas facilities, plus dark room and bar. For outdoor fun, by night stroll in the cat-teeming Haatzmaut Garden, just north of the Hilton.
Another night-life center is the Tel Aviv Port, located at the north end of the city. The once-neglected port has been completely renovated, and is now a beautiful attraction, with its bars cafes, and restaurants, located along the wooden peer. Some of Tel Aviv’s best clubs are located there.
Last but not least, is the area of Nachalat Binyamin and Lilienblum streets. There are dozens of fashionable bars and restaurants; some of them attracting a specifically gay clientele. At night these streets are packed with people out for a drink and a good time. The atmosphere is great. A don’t-miss experience.
In spite of the greater political turmoil in the Middle East, Tel Aviv is a very open city that welcomes people of all walks of life. Tel Aviv offers a unique experience in understanding how minority groups can live together. Tel Aviv is like most European cities—modern and culturally inclined—only the men have better tans and bigger pecs thanks to the desert sun and required army service. Remember, everybody loves a Jewish boy…