“You’ll prefer a different champagne,” says the bartender, and after a nod of the head from me, she poured a glass of Lambrusco: a red and bubbly champagne, more sweet than alcoholic. My friend remained loyal to her Jameson…” Shir Kidan learns a thing or two about drinking at O’Connor, an Irish pub in Rishon Letzion.

The old industrial area of Rishon Letzion is undergoing a facelift. During the day, the area is still pretty industrial, but once the dark sets in the area turns into one big party. Hidden among array of cafes and restaurants is a quality Irish pub that is one of the hood’s veterans. On chairs outside, sofas inside or at the bar, this is lot’s of space to sit with friends over a glass of beer or two. Once the alcohol hits your bloodstream and all the stress melts away (Attention: If you drink, don’t drive!) the conversation flows and the inhibitions…how should I put it? Well, they aren’t what they used to be. Now we can really talk. Or maybe I’ve already said too much…

The cute female bartender presented herself and began to investigate me – the problematic one – about what I like. I just don’t like what everyone else does. I always want something special. Usually something that needs to be specially made for me. After a short interview a fig cocktail was placed on the table. Sweet, sweet and sticky. An alcohol lollypop in a glass – perfect! I tried to find out what you call it – so that I could order it again at other bars, but the bartender explained that every bar has their own special cocktails and most bartenders invent their own cocktails based on experience and imagination. In order to shorten the ordering time that I had managed to stretch to ridiculous proportions, my friend simply ordered a Jameson. She, as opposed to me, knows what she likes.

The success of cocktail number one resulted in me requiring the bartender to recommend or reject everything I considered ordering thereafter. So, when I couldn’t decide between items on the munchies menu, we received a warm recommendation on the home fried potatoes. Fried potatoes generously covered in sweet chili sauce. A large, slightly spicy and steaming hot dish. A stolen glance at the alcohol menu revealed an impressive selection of beer. In fact, just about every type of beer available in Israel can be found here, and also in a range of serving sizes. We are talking about an Irish pub, after all. Just ask the girl at the bar opposite me who just downed an impressively large glass of beer, or might I call it a bucket.

I asked for a glass of traditional champagne. “You’ll prefer a different champagne,” says the bartender, and after a nod of the head from me, she poured a glass of Lambrusco: a red and bubbly champagne, more sweet than alcoholic. My friend remained loyal to her Jameson. She was probably thinking that at least one of us should look like she knows her way around a bar – and she most certainly does. Every so often the bartender came over to check that everything is all right, or if we need anything else, and if we happened to be talking about something interesting, to join the conversation. As a bartender, I guess that she listens to many an interesting conversation.

We couldn’t finish the night without something sweet – so we decided on a slice of cake. And if we were already ordering cake – why not the chocolate marquis. Because really, forget the alcohol, you can’t really enjoy yourself without a little bit of chocolate running through your blood stream. And if we’ve already got the chocolate on IV, why just a little when we can have a lot. Therefore, our favourite bartender once again made a recommendation – which is how we ended up with the marquis. A few layers of soft delectable chocolate that quickly went about its business soaking up the alcohol in our systems. Good that we weren’t driving that night.

A little tipsy and terrifically satisfied we set off in search of home. Or more accurately, I let my friend lead because as the one who knows her way around a bar, she can pretty much drink Jameson like it’s water. Maybe she’s actually an Irish orphan….

15 Moshe Becker, Old Industrial Area, Rishon Letzion
Tel: 03-9692480