Like all commercialized holidays, St. Patrick's Day has made it to some of the most unlikely countries.And Israel is one of them. Along with Valentine's Day and Silvester (NYE), St. Patrick's Day has become another excuse to party. Of course, Tel Aviv-ians would never let such a party opportunity pass them by.
To be frank, I don't mind the commercialization. In fact, St. Paddy's day can be pretty fun: I usually return home from the pubs with a belly full of free whiskey, and a handful of promotional paraphernalia. Take this hat I got last year for free at the Irish Pub "Leo Blooms". (Ignore the deer-in-headlights expression. I'm actually very happy about this hat! )
So, without further ado, here are some of the best things to do in Tel Aviv on St. Patrick's Day if you're looking for a good time (shout-out to one of my blog-readers, Jim, for asking me, and prompting me to put together this list!)
1) Hit Up the Irish Pubs in Tel Aviv!
you'd be surprised, but there are a handful of pretty nice Irish pubs in tel Aviv. They've got Guinness and Kilkenny beer on tap, a nice selection of whiskeys too. They'll be crowded, but they'll have fun specials and live shows.
Here are the better-known Irish pubs:
- Molly Blooms: Molly Blooms is one of the first really successful Irish pubs in Tel Aviv. They have live Irish music once a week (sometimes more) and they've got a really nice decor- dark wood walls make it intimate, but fun outdoor seating fits the Tel Aviv appeal. It'll probably be one of the more popular places to celebrate St. Patrick's day in Tel Aviv, so that means crowds...but it can still be lots of fun. Address: Corner of Hayarkon & Frishman.
- Leoblooms: Leo Blooms is Molly Bloom's brother bar. It's younger and less-central than Molly Blooms, but it's also got great specials and nice hot fried food. There's sure to be a live band, and waiters dressed up as leprechauns on St. Patrick's Day. Also, there'll probably be some nice specials. Address: Ziv Towers, Raul Wallenberg 24, Ramat HaChayal Neighborhood.
- Mash: There are two Mash bars in Tel Aviv, and while they aren't exactly Irish (their decor is more like a less-refined American sports bar) they always have St. Paddy's specials and a fun vibe. Mash Diezengoff address: Diezengoff 277/ Mash central address: Allenby 38
2) Book a table at one of Tel Aviv's Restaurant Pubs: If you want a calmer evening and want a nice hearty meal rather than fried snacks, consider spending your St. Patricks day in Tel Aviv at a Restaurant pub. Order some great beers and a dish of nice sausages or tasty burgers. (Definitely call in advance to- reserve a table).
Recommended restaurant pubs:
- Porter and Sons : This place is classy, tasty, and surprisingly affordable. that's not to say that it's cheap, but for what you get, the price is good. Dishes are generous and well-done, and there is a fantastic selection of international beers on tap (over 50!) .
- Mikes Place: This is your token American Bar in Tel Aviv. I know, St. Paddy's Day is Irish. But, as the American Bar, it has also become the "Anglo" bar; a haven for any English speaking ex-pat. the food isn't anything to write home about - think buffalo wings, jalapeno poppers, burgers and fries - it's fun on holidays. They almost always have live music, they've got really good specials and they usually have the most authentic crowd. There are three Mike's Place bars in Tel Aviv, meaning there is definitely one near you: On the Boardwalk, On Diezengoff, and in Ramat Hachayal. Check their website for more details.
- Brasserie- Get ready for long lines since the Brasserie is almost always hoppin. This restaurant is open 24/7 right on one of the busiest streets of TLV, Ibn Gvirol. they are known for their high-end French cuisine and great service at all hours of the day or night! If you sit outside, it will be a bit chilly, but you'll get nice tasty dishes and even better people watching. (But, don't go there fore the beers). Address: Ibn Gvirol 70, Tel: 03-6967111
3) Florentine -for the party animal in you.
Florentine is a young, alternative neighborhood filled with pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants. While the vibe there is arty, St. Patrick's day (like all holidays) brings the crowds. I would recommend starting early with a great sausage and stout at Stern 1 Bar on Frenkel street, and then heading to Vital street. Vital is the main bar strip. By around 10pm you'll probably run into kids dressed as leprechauns trying to pour free whisky down your throat. You'll also head home with free shirts, hats, and/or plastic blow-up toys plastered with the Guinness logo.
As a P.S., check out Time Out. While their suggestions frequently fall flat, sometimes they do know what's up.