As I have written here several months ago, the Bell Wood Bar in Jerusalem is one of the first places that comes to mind when I feel a need to quench my thirst and have a couple of cold ones.
As I have written here several months ago, the Bell Wood Bar in Jerusalem is one of the first places that comes to mind when I feel a need to quench my thirst and have a couple of cold ones. The décor, music and familiar service create a homey British Public House vibe and the variety of alcoholic beverages is quite impressive. This time, I invited a good friend, who is both a regular at the Bell as well as a good drinker. Not to say that she is a drunk or anything, but on a good day she can sure drink me under the table.
Since we both had to wake up rather early the next day, we decided to take advantage of the ‘early bird special’ arriving just in time for happy hour. Everyday from 17:00 – 21:00 the Bell offers a happy hour special and for every 1/2 liter of beer you order the next 1/3 is on the house. We pulled up a couple of stools at the bar and were greeted by the friendly bartender. Those who choose to sit at the bar (as opposed to sitting at one of the indoor or outdoor tables) are served complementary home made olives. Owner Tzahi claims that the Bell's olives are the best in the world, I wouldn't go that far, but let me tell you, they are delicious, go well with beer and are very very addictive.
We started off with a glass of Edelweiss, a light and refreshing Austrian Weissbier (wheat beer in German) that suggests aromas and flavors of banana bread and pleasant tartness – a great summer beer. We also had a tasting of a new Cherry flavored beer which name escapes me. This version is much lighter that the familiar Kasteel Rouge, yet still very flavorful and tasty. Some may consider this as a ‘girly’ beer but let me tell you, it tastes damn good. Apparently, the Bell also has a 'revolving beer tap' and every couple of months, Tzahi brings in a new keg, serving a beer that is not on the usual menu. If you feel like trying something new, don’t forget to ask about the new offerings.
After the first round, Tzahi walked over and we had a chance to talk and hear about the Bell’s summer preparations. Tzahi is also busy planning the Bell’s 6 year anniversary (call for additional information) and promises a fun filled celebration with a lot of interesting surprises. So what else will you be doing at the Bell?, I asked Tzahi. “well, aside from the usual performances and happy hour, starting in a couple of weeks, every Saturday evening we will have Flamenco parties at the Bell, with live music, dancers and of course special drinks & dishes. We are also working on a special summer inspired menu, with a variety of light dishes, chilled sparkling wines and interesting cocktails.”
I almost forgot about the munchies we ordered when the bartender placed a couple of dishes in front of us – Middle Eastern ‘grilled cheese’ sandwiches where instead of cheese the cook adds tehina, hyssop (za’atar) and olive oil and beef sirloin carpaccio. The carpaccio was sliced paper thin just as it should be and seasoned with sea salt and a generous drizzle of lemon juice and oliv oil. The Bell’s menu also includes: salads, sausages, sandwiches and more. My favorite is Bell's special burger, topped with a sunny side up egg and sautéed onions and mushrooms. Since I ordered it on my last visit, we decided to split an entrecote sandwich, comprised of sautéed slices of beef, onion lettuce, tomatoes, pesto and mayo. The sandwich was quite tasty and accompanied a well poured pint of Guinness and another of Gosser - a slightly bitter dark lager originating in Austria. Looking at my watch, I noticed that it was time head back home and call it a night. Next time you visit the Bell on Saturday evenings, don’t’ forget to wear your Flamenco dancing shoes.