Sometimes all I need to end the night is a great neighbourhood bar. The kind that you drop in to see your friends at, to have a bit of a laugh, to drink a little and then head home happy. Pas Velos in Rishon Letzion is a place like that, which, despite its distance from Tel Aviv, holds a respected place on my list of top neighbourhood bars. When we got there on a Monday night we were happy to discover that even at 10pm (an early hour for this sort of bar), the place was far from empty. The large bar was already filled with people, and the seating area was also starting to fill up. With a view of the garden, excellent music and a laid back feel, the bar was most certainly a marvel.
We sat down on the couch, and Shelly, a lovely waitress, immediately came over. Of course we needed to start the night off with a drink. Only a couple minutes later, chartreuse, a strong and slightly sweet liqeuer, and a martini were placed on our table. If this was how the night was going to go, I understood that we'd have to snack on a little something if we planned on driving home. I asked for the menu again and decided ordered us a chicken gioza and hummus with tehina. The gioza is a dumpling filled with chicken. 4 were served on a bed of lettuce with sauce on the side. An excellent dish that is perfectly suited for 2 people who want to snack on just a little something, but who are looking for a bit of a change from the usual bar menu. We were already familiar with Pas Velos' hummus, and were pleased with it this time as well. The hummus was served with hot pitas and from the first bite it was evident to all of us that this is a dish that makes hits the spot – and big time.
After the first round of drinks was gone, and with it the food, it was clear that we'd have to raise another glass. With Shelly's polite assistance (who'd also joined our celebration) a cocktail called 'shitok' ('paralysis' in English) arrived at the table. The cocktail was comprised of Jagermeister, Aftershock and absinthe, as well as a glass if Bushmills whiskey. Even though the 'shitok's' list of ingredients signalled to me just how strong it would be, the drink nevertheless managed to catch me off-guard with every sip. For reasons that only the bartender knows, the cocktail actually tastes delicious. In addition – this is exactly the type of drink that you feel great after, all pleasant and laughing, but without the phenomenon of sad sorry drunkenness. The whiskey was also enjoyable, there were no special surprises here – those who know the right whiskey to order will always enjoy it. In the meantime, the background music had taken an interesting twist as the DJ went on to give us a real show. Shelly had told us that this was going to be a 'women in rock' night, so the arrival of Janis Joplin and friends didn't surprise us – in fact, we were quite pleased. Among other tunes, a few rarer covers were played that brought a smile to the faces of both guests and staff. The truth is that at Pas Velos the customer-staff divide is not all that wide.
Pas Velos hosts live concerts and a variety of deejays, and every night a curious new surprise awaits the audience. What else can you ask of a neighbourhood bar? Well...dessert, I guess. We ordered the Belgian waffle to share – a dish that we'd long understood that we can't do without. This time as well, the waffle worked its magic. Sweet, tasty, simple and pretension free – just how a dessert should feel, the ideal taste according to us, and that's exactly what we got. At the end of the evening just a moment before we forced ourselves to leave this place which is usually open till 5 or 6 in the morning, Tami the owner joined us for a celebratory chaser of whiskey. Why celebratory, we asked her with alcohol induced naivety. Oh honestly, she answered, don't you to know that there need not be a reason for celebration here? And that's exactly the atmosphere at Pas Velos – every customer is important, every drink or dish is tasty and it's all so that the experience will easily remain in your memory for as long as necessary, or more accurately – until your next visit.
25 Rothschild, Rishon Letzion