When in Doubt… Resort to Some Fun

“The bartender greeted us and mixed us some drinks: a ‘Slammer Kiwi’ – sweet summer fun of kiwi liqueur, vodka, and sour mix; and a ‘Red Whiskey’ – a wonderful mix of whiskey and blood-orange liqueur over crushed ice. We sipped our cocktails and relaxed.” Asaf Epstein found a fun way to start the Summer season at Resort, a restaurant & bar in Tel Aviv

Ever since I moved into a new apartment in central Tel Aviv, I have hardly given much thought to enjoying a night out in the port of Tel Aviv. When I lived closer to it, I used to go there quite often, always impressed that the once bustling port is now a place to wine, dine, dance, and shop. Since my move, I have explored other areas in Tel Aviv, looking to discover new bars and restaurants. But you know what? The thing about the port of Tel Aviv is that after a while of staying away from it, you miss it. The bars are more spacious, the sea air fills your lungs, and the drinks flow on and on like the endless sound of the crashing waves.

I told Daphna that I wanted to try out a restaurant-bar called ‘Resort.’ We headed there on a Saturday evening, when the night was still very young. We walked all the way there to work up an appetite. The first thing that impressed me was the large open space of the establishment. It is not walled-in, but rather open and offering a nearly 360 degree view of the surroundings. Comfortable seating areas of tables for two, booths for friends, and relaxed cushioned seating for large groups are scattered across the space, and in the center… in the center, standing proud, is one good-looking bar. It is of a sharp, almost triangular shape (except for the rounded edge), beautiful red color, and lined on top with squares lit blue from underneath for placing drinks and ashtrays. Plants help create an atmosphere that is at once both wild and relaxed. “House of the Rising Sun” was playing in the background. A resort indeed.

We sat down at this leviathan-sized bar in two of the many comfortable chairs lining it. Dudi, the bartender greeted us and mixed us some drinks to get things started: a ‘Slammer Kiwi’ – sweet summer fun of kiwi liqueur, vodka, and sour mix; and a ‘Red Whiskey’ – a wonderful mix of whiskey and blood-orange liqueur over crushed ice. We sipped our cocktails and relaxed. The restaurant was still relatively empty but, but this would soon change. Daphna and I were both pretty hungry by then. “Stairway to Heaven” was playing. If you have ever heard this song (and I’m sure you have), you know that it is epitome of anticipation-building, a steady rhythm leading to a glorious finish. This very closely mirrored us, sitting in anticipation, waiting for the good food that would soon arrive.

The appetizers arrived and with them – Shachar Reischer, the friendly, easy-going manager. We chatted with him and learned about ‘Resort,’ as we munched on thick baked nacho chips, dipping them into some hot salsa. Within minutes we also shared a generous portion of antipasti with sauce and a wonderful non-conventional Caprese salad, which Daphna loved. Resort was opened in the late summer of 2007 by three business partners, who envisioned a place for fun outings, a place that was neither strictly a bar nor strictly a restaurant. Shachar explained that Resort is a place for a fun and relaxing time out. When you go there you are under no obligation to order half the menu, or to keep shelling out cash. There is no time limit or pressure to make way for new customers. You can sit, relax, and drink with you friends. Enjoy an eclectic menu. The crowd is a maturely-young 24 years and older. This is a place of summer, a place for couples and groups looking for a good time. Tourists and foreign nationals are never in short supply. On the weekends, Resort is also something of a pick-up bar.

We relaxed some more and chatted with Oran, another one of the bartenders. He is young and spirited, yet he reminded me of the old-fashioned bartenders of old, the kind we see in the classic movies, who are attentive to the customers and talk to them about their lives, their troubles, shelling out advice and light humor. He brought over some main courses: sizzling chicken fajitas with tortillas and dips; lamb kebabs and a juicy lamb chop, served with hot mustard; and a yam ravioli in a cre