It's not that I hate the winter per se. There are many nice things about it – lightning, the stormy sea, lying under a heavy duvet and sipping hot chocolate. But I have a tendency to wither and lose all energy. For someone like me, who works mainly outside, the winter is not exactly fun. Not to mention the fact that the winter for someone who doesn't own a car tends to be quite soggy. So how is it that I found myself on the first real evening of this winter making my way through the pouring rain and across the flooded streets of a quiet and empty Tel Aviv? I was making my way to ''banks - Dance in the City'', of course.
Despite the rain and the cold weather, banks was packed. This was on a weekday, a Tuesday to be exact. Not your typical night for going out, but there's something about this place that attracts a crowd even on a stormy midweek's night. Maybe it's the entertainment attractions - Sunday night they have live performances; Tuesday night is eighties night (with a little help from the seventies and nineties). Maybe it's something else. This place is different. There is something here for everybody. Whether one seeks a pickup bar, a dance bar or just a place to get a drink, banks offers a little of everything without being pretentious or overwhelming. The crowd, aged 24+, is a happy crowd and as inviting as the place itself. One can wander in off the street and feel right at home.
Open for only four months, banks has already acquired a reputation as one of the hottest places in town. It is run by a highly experienced staff. The owners' are all veterans of some of Tel Aviv's top bars, so they have been around and know their business. According to Shachar, their philosophy is all about ''how you define your spare time''. This place is all about making the customer feel at ease and at home. In my opinion, it is the personal touch that makes this place stand-out on a scene saturated with places where you can spend your money. If you are not already a friend of one of the owners, you will be after a few visits.
Although there is a small, albeit meticulously thought-out menu, this really is a place to come and drink, whether you are into fine whiskey or just want to have beer. The prices here are extremely reasonably so you can drink and still leave without having to break the bank. There are also special cocktails made especially for the evening and handed out by the staff. The night I was there, a nostalgic shot of Sachlab (a thick, orchid flavored drink popular all over the Eastern Mediterranean) with a touch of some alcohol that I was too drunk to place was the ''shot of the day''. Sorry – even we writers are allowed to have a good time!
13 Lincoln St., Tel Aviv