The weather was rather Irish as Idan and I walked over to Molly Blooms down the wind-tunnel that is Ben Yehuda Street in the winter. Normally, a cold blustery wind and clouds threatening rain would be cause for complain, but tonight it only whet our appetites for the dark beer, hot stew and lively Irish music to come.
Opened 8 years ago as the first Irish pub in Israel, on the corner of Mendeli and HaYarkon Streets in Tel Aviv, Molly Bloom's is well on its way to becoming a local institution. In the wake of Molly's success, many copy cats have tried to emulate this classic Irish pub concept, but none have managed to capture the special spark.
Upon entering the pub, Idan and I were greeted by the din of Anglo accents. If you're male, a sports lover and hail from an English speaking country, sitting round the bar at Molly Blooms is just about your favourite place to be. (Molly Bloom's screens international football, rugby and even some Euro League basketball for the natives.)
As we headed into the adjacent dining room, the crowd grew more eclectic (a couple girls in army uniforms, a table of old geezers, and another full Tel Aviv 20 and 30 somethings) and bits of Hebrew could be heard. We seated ourselves in a prime spot at the back of the room, facing the area which would soon become the stage for live Irish music.
Idan, all ginger haired and decked out in his tweed ivy cap, was ever so suited to our location and oh so knowledgably pointed out that the thick layer of foam atop our respective 1/2 and 1/3 liters of Kilkenny indicated a professional pull. As I perused the extensive whiskey menu, which includes Irish, Scotch, Malt and Classic Malt whiskeys, Idan further edified me that Molly Bloom's has an extremely impressive whiskey list, including some rare labels like Jameson 'Green Spot' and Bushmills 21 year single malt.
With our pseudo pints being nursed, it was time to order up some hearty grub. Being longtime fans of this Public House, we were already on intimate terms with the slightly spicy lamb sausages (ok, not exactly Irish, but a kosher – and delicious – compromise) and the Shepherd's Pie. But tonight we decided to head into uncharted territory – the beef and vegetable Guinness stew and the fish and chips. The stew, served over a heaping portion of mashed potatoes, was just perfect with its rich brown gravy and tender melt in your mouth meat. The fish and chips (made of sol) were tasty as well, but I personally like my beer batter to be a bit browner, far crisper, and loads greasier.
By the time we were ready for dessert the delightful live Irish music had us feeling up for dancing a jig. But we didn't. Idan was still only 3/4 ways through his 1/2 litre. Though he does look Irish, and most certainly loves to eat Irish, lucky for me, Idan doesn't drink Irish. So, instead of a fine whiskey chaser, we opted for a mile high slice of warm apple pie. Served in a pool of Bailey's cream, the layers of thinly sliced apple give way to a buttery crumble base that keeps you coming back for more.
And more we will be back for at Molly Bloom's Traditional Irish Pub. Because when a Public House feels so homey, why stay home.
2 Mendele Street, Tel Aviv