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Tel Aviv–Yafo

Walking the tree-lined central boulevard of Sderot Rothschild. Photo by and © Vision Studio

To prepare for a night of club hopping in Tel Aviv–Yafo, take a nap and set your alarm for 11 p.m. Put on a little extra makeup and your most comfortable shiny sandals, and take yourself down to Sderot Rothschild—the city’s beautiful tree-lined central boulevard—to watch and take part in the promenade of people starting their evening.

Go to Sderot Rothschild to watch and take part in the promenade of people starting their evening.

The evening air is refreshingly cool after the heat of the day. A stream of pedestrians stroll beneath the night sky, the streetlights’ glow mottled by trees. Couples abound: a shy young boy and girl hold hands, blinking at a dazzling transvestite unicyclist coming their way. A woman in unthinkably high heels strides along with as much apparent ease as her partner in high-top sneakers. (Israel is famously casual: while some people dress to the nines, most are comfortable in shorts and flats.) A pair of grandparents proudly pushes a stroller down a path; perhaps the baby’s parents are having a night out and the older couple wants to enjoy the pleasantly cool evening air and the many gratis performances on the boulevard. A small crowd surrounds two street performers doing an acrobatic hybrid of the Wobble and the NaeNae, accompanied by the propulsive beat of a recorded drum. All of it helps put you in mood to explore the city’s many nightclubs

People Watching in Sderot Rothschild

 Benedict Ben Yehuda poster advertising their midnight breakfast.

Nightclubs are mercurial things—they come and go with the wind—but there’s one thing you can count on in Tel Aviv-Yafo: the effervescence of the scene.

You might well find yourself dancing on a table . . . practically speaking, there is simply not enough room on the tiny crowded floor.

The clubs cover a full range, from the super-elegant—where a swish clientele drinks cava and complicated cocktails while nibbling on delicate hors d’oeuvres—to the poundingly high-decibel underground cavern, throbbing with bodies and sound. There are clubs where, upon entering, you might encounter the long legs and bare feet of a young woman dancing four feet above floor level on the bar, to jangly Middle Eastern hip-hop, and where—if you stick around long enough—you might well find yourself dancing on a table (practically speaking, there is simply not enough room on the tiny crowded floor).

DJs at some clubs spin disco music, to which a young and sweaty crowd pogos beneath scattered rays of colored light. And there are chill jazz venues where you can make a selection from a menu of single-malt whiskeys, and sip blissfully to recordings of jazz greats or live performances. Some rooftop clubs have outdoor seating areas lit by sparkling lights, where you can sit on comfy bright-colors sofas and puff at a hookah like an old pasha.

If you’re hungry at 2 a.m., visit a late-night gastropub and have (what else?) a bagel, served with zaatar and tahini. (These are not your New York bagels: in Israel, the bagels are extended oblongs, baked but not boiled, and far more filling than our little doughnut-shaped affairs.) Here, eaters and beer drinkers young and old chat and laugh, enjoying a much-needed break in their club crawl.

As the sky begins to lighten at the edges, you may be famished after your night of adventures. Tel Aviv-Yafo has a range of eateries that specialize in breakfast—including Benedict Ben Yehuda, where you can select your own combination of toppings for eggs, from asparagus to salmon to creamed spinach to (the decidedly un-kosher option) crisp bacon.

After your late night/early morning breakfast, you may ready for a nice long nap. Happily full and delightfully exhausted, you have seen the sun rise. It’s time to head home.

Benedict Ben Yehuda >

HaMaoz/Café Meira >


Nightclubs of Tel Aviv-Yafo, and Breakfast after Midnight