Header Photo Credit

*The stunning photo in the header of my blog is all thanks to Ron Shoshani. Visit his facebook page for more of his amazing photographs of Tel Aviv!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tel Aviv Hot Spot: The Hoodna

I'm as surprised as you are that I'm writing up the Hoodna (הודנא), since, at this point, I think it's a well known Tel Aviv attraction of sorts. But, since it was my neighborhood Tel Aviv bar for over a year, and the first bar I ever sipped a beer at in Tel Aviv, I have to pay tribute.

What started out as a hole in the wall dive bar straddling a dark, semi-grimy alley of Florentine off Abarbanel Street is still known for its grit, although it's spruced itself up quite a bit in the past 3 years or so.

My first taste of the Hoodna was in 2007 when I went to see The Red Band play. This was before the Red Band had their own television show here in Israel- they were simple muppet street performers, and they were magical.  I couldn't believe it when I found clips of that actual performance on youtube. To be honest, that night at the Hoodna helped sparked my desire to move to Tel Aviv.

Photo Credit: Nino Herman
The Hoodna bar is actually two bars in one, one corner of the street features high tables and bar chairs with a large wall for screening sports games and space for setting up a concert, and the other side features a low-ceilinged cave-like bar, with mostly low tables and chairs.  But most of the Hoodna's seating is actually in the street, sprawling the alley between the two corners and dribbling out onto Abarbanel Street.

The most charming thing about the Hoodna has to be its nonchalance. Their chairs and tables are all second hand, and most of them are old tattered sofas, love seats and arm chairs, with some wooden folding chairs and school chairs in the mix. Decor is also "recycled". Light fixtures are made from recycled highlighters and coca cola bottles, and art on the walls is mostly wooden planks decorated with awesome spray painted stencils.

Photo Credit: Imbal Limor, Stencil done during eclectic artist night (once a month at Hoodna)
The service, especially if it is a busy night, it slow and sometimes poor, and their beer on tap is not the tastiest tap beer I've ever tasted.  It all makes you feel like you're in your arty friend's big living room, with other friends wandering around and bringing you drinks and bar food. Except, at the end of the night there's a bill. Granted, the beer is cheaper here than it is at other high-end Tel Aviv places, but it's relatively affordable.

In the end of things, it's a really cool atmosphere: laid-back, fun, young and arty- and it's no surprise that the place has cool owners who wander around saying hi to all of their guests nearly every night. And, especially in the heat of the Tel Aviv summer it's the perfect place to sit outside, sip a beer and chill with friends.

Hoodna Bar: 
13 Abarbanel Street
Florentine, Tel Aviv
Open Sunday-Thursday from 6:00pm till last customer
Open Fridays and Saturdays from 1:00pm till last customer
Lookem up on facebook and likem!

Photo Credit: Achbar HaIr

Some videos of the Red Band for your entertainment and enrichment:

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