On first perusal, Bell Wood Bar well covers the basics: music, crowd and a proper selection of beers and scotches. Yonatan Sternberg enjoys his visit to the bar and the homemade olives that come along with it.
When walking into a bar, I have a short checklist that I go over before pulling up a chair. First I check the music. I am not fixated on any specific genre and consider myself rather open minded, but the music has to be good, and preferably not too loud, as I do not want to finish the evening with a soar throat and a horse voice. Second is the selection of beers on tap, or by the bottle, and the variety of scotch listed on the menu. Third is the crowd; some of the bars in Jerusalem have a very wide target audience and do not seem to have an age limit. It is not that I am an old man, though my girlfriend tells me that I act like one sometimes, but when going out to drink, I prefer to be at a place where the average age of the crowd is higher than the legal drinking age. Established 6 years ago, the Bell Wood Bar was a perfect choice. Over the years, the Bell has become one of the favorite bars among students and tourists, who frequent the place regularly. We arrived at the Bell Wood Bar just in time for happy hour. Everyday from 17:00 – 21:00 the Bell offers a happy hour special: for every 1/2 Liter of beer the next 1/3 is on the house. We pulled up a stool at the bar and were greeted by the friendly bartender. A friend of mine, who considers himself a regular at the Bell, let me in on a well kept secret: those who choose to sit at the bar, as opposed to sitting at one of the tables, are served complementary home made olives. Owner, Tzahi, claims that the Bell's olives are the best in the world; I would not go quite that far but, let me tell you, they are delicious and very addictive.
We started off with a glass of the Dark Edelweiss wheat beer and the Kasteel Rouge, a very flavorful cherry-based beer. After reviewing the menu, we decided to order something that would go well with the beers and selected the Bell’s fish & chips: two lightly battered fillets of cod, home fries and a side salad served with ketchup, mayo and a homemade vinaigrette dressing. Both the fish and the fries were cooked well, crispy on the outside and nice and soft within. The Bell also offers salads, hamburgers, sausages, sandwiches and more… Our second dish was Bell's special burger, topped with a sunny side up egg and sautéed onion and mushrooms. The burger was nice and juicy; I added a glob of ketchup and some mayo and the dish was devoured in no time. We tasted a couple more beers, including the Leffe Rosa, which was very nice. Apparently, the Bell also has a “revolving beer tap” and approximately once a month, Tzahi brings in a new keg, serving a beer that is not on the usual menu. The last item on my checklist is one that can only be evaluated at the end of a visit: the service. At the Bell the service is very professional and most importantly fun.
By the way, the Bell also organizes sporadic live music concerts and showcases important sporting events and games. Instead of sitting at home and watching the champions league, stop by the Bell. If you want to taste the olives, do not forget to sit at the Bar.