Ask a local about Tel Aviv’s nightlife and he’ll tell you to write your address inside your underwear so the cabdriver knows where to drop you off in the morning. After 48 hours in the White City, we’d like to post an addendum: Bring a Sharpie. Says Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai, “We have 748 clubs and bars in this city—one for every 220 residents. Go out after two a.m. and you’ll find out what kind of nightlife we have.” Um, we’re not sure that math adds up, but any recommendations? “Nanutchka!” the mayor says with a laugh. “Women dance on the bar.” Who are we to argue?
Nanutchka, an old-school classic, is on a nondescript street next to a construction site, which makes it hard to find but worth the effort. Antismoking laws aren’t enforced in Tel Aviv, so push through the cloud and step into the bar’s main room, which looks like a bordello you’d find on True Blood. Happily, the vodka flows like wine. True to the mayor’s word, women were dancing on the tables—belly dancing, actually.
Tel Aviv is a walking city, so get moving. Don’t be fooled by the café tables out in front of Rothschild 12. Those locals sipping cocktails are like nightlife decoys, disguising the raucous party inside, where absurdly attractive Israelis (is there any other kind?) down drinks at communal tables and DJs spin loud 1990s flannel-rock mash-ups. If your ears get tired, the party spills into the courtyard out back—the perfect place to light up. Though it’s not in any guidebook, we found the only thing Israelis care about less than nicotine is weed.
If you’d rather pray to the gods of the dance floor, we like Radio E.P.G.B. in Neve Tzedek—Tel Aviv’s answer to SoHo. Radio E.P.G.B. is the kind of hybrid dance bar we can get behind: It’s comfortably on this side of untz-untz, and they make a very good cocktail.
The party in Tel Aviv doesn’t really get going until two a.m., so down a Red Bull if you’re fading. For after hours, we like the Orient Hotel, a subterranean bar owned by noted DJ Skazi (real name Asher Swissa). You’ll find military chicks, good Israeli beer and enough Rihanna remixes to satisfy even Chris Brown. Safe travels. Yalla bye.
PS: That’s Arabic for “See you later.” Like the Sharpie, this too will come in handy. Trust us.