Our guide to gay bars in Tel Aviv.
The architecture of your evening out in Tel Aviv may progress from sundowner drinks to dinner to drinks at a smaller bar to drinks at another bar to dancing at a club or two before getting back to your hotel in time to turn off the alarm clock and pull the drapes against the rising sun. The “walk of shame” isn’t carrying your shoes at dawn after debauchery like in other cities—it’s getting home before dawn that is cause for embarrassment.
While nightlife is an integral part of the Tel Aviv identity, getting drunk is not. There is also a great deal of socializing in one another’s homes where groups of friends gather for dinner parties instead of hitting the clubs night after night. Much of the cast of characters you’ll see at gay bars is younger kids—those who haven’t yet moved out of mom and dad’s place and have no personal space of their own.
It is very easy for foreigners to crack the scene. Israelis love to talk to tourists. The scene is pretty irreverent and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Partiers spill out onto the sidewalks in most clubby neighbourhoods and knots of friends drift from one bar to the next catching a pleasant buzz before the longer night ahead.
If you are looking for a gay map, advice or just to chill, check out the state-of-the-art LGBT Community Centre in the Gan Meir park, complete with excellent café-bistro.
Bears love BEEF (@ Triple Club, 58 Hamasger Street) on Thursdays. Boyling (@ Minus 1, Nahalat Binyamin Street 52) is a packed club on a Friday, the main night out in a Jewish week. And there are frequent Saturday parties at TLV Club (Old Port) with its two dance spaces and outdoor area.
While there aren’t a lot of permanent, seven-nights-a-week GLBT spots, there are long-standing club nights at different locales any night of the week. Some happen weekly, some once a month, and all are well attended with lines out the door.
The scene revolves more around what the locals call ‘Party Lines.’ These are recurring Gay Nights thrown by individual party promoters at straight clubs. Held usually at Oman 17, 1bar and TLV Club. These usually run on Friday and Saturday nights.Every night, the party moves to a new hotspot, and the result is a feeling that it’s always “the best night of the week.”
Tel Aviv’s first bear club night, Beef (Triple, Hamasger 38) where the buff leather clad boys serving drinks, and a darkroom, reel in a hirsute crowd. Among the many choice phrases we picked up in Hebrew, it‘s worth learning the terribly polite “Slee-kha” for “excuse me”. Then, if you’re lucky, you might hear it followed up with “Ma slee-kha, teet pashet”, which is more or less “what excuse me? Take off your clothes”.