In the second part of our series on gay Israel, our sexy new Travel Guyd, Al Bel gives us an insider’s intro to Tel Aviv’s gay scene, as well as online/offline crusing…
The most popular gay bar in Tel Aviv is Evita (31 Yavne St), where you can hang out essentially every night. However, I’d recommend Sunday nights, which are dedicated to the Eurovision song contest! There’s also a live act on stage by a fantastic group called Euroflash who lip-sync numbers from any country, in any language, from Swedish and Danish to Estonian and Slovenian. Even if you’re not a big fan of Eurovision when you enter, they will soon make you one. Every night at Evita has a different theme, and the best way for updates is to checkout their Facebook page.
Apollo (46 Allenby St) is a Berlin style bar, with a dark room bigger than the bar itself, is usually very crowded on weekends. Schpaget (43 Nachlat Binyamin St) is a more relaxed, low-key bar, with a great selection of drinks and music, that attracts a pretty mixed crowd, from gay hipsters and their straight brothers to other super-cute locals. The newly opened bar Barvaz (Duck in Hebrew), (Florentine 10 St), is a charming place, also very popular with lesbians. Lounge 17 (17 Montefiore St) is the new gay kid on the block, and if you’re an early bird, this is the place for you. Lounge 17 opens at 7pm, with a menu, in case you’d like to dine in a more relaxed atmosphere and listen to good music, or just drink some local beers (my favorite, and the most popular one is Goldstar, but Maccabee, and also Danish, German and Belgian beers are also very popular here). I recommended you check for updates before you arrive, since many straight clubs also host very popular gay nights. My favorite in this category is the “Notorious G.A.Y” party at OCD (42 Lilienblum) on Monday nights. A young and trendy crowd and a well-designed bar, with a great outdoors bar too.
Tel Aviv online
For the latest updates, and for meeting hot locals online, you should check out Atraf.com, which is the most popular gay site in Israel for dating and clubbing. Two new Apps for iPhone/Android: Tlv Scene, and Tel Aviv Gay Vibe, where you can find all the latest updates and info for all gay parties in Tel Aviv, and also buy tickets, get discounts, free entrance, guest lists, and in some places, a free drink too.
If you end up the night by yourself, and you’ve already exhausted all the options on GuySpy and Atraf but still don’t want to be by yourself, your last resort is most likely the gay sauna or the cruising park.
At the moment, only one gay sauna operates in Tel Aviv, Sauna Paradise (75 Allenby St). It is a relatively small sauna, but clean and with a tendency to get very crowded, especially after 8pm and on weekends. The entrance fee is about 20 US$.
If you’re a bit more adventurous, then you should check out Independence Park, just above the gay Hilton Beach. This is Israel’s most popular gay cruising park, and thanks to the mild weather, it is popular throughout the year, but again, mainly from March until November.
Passing stranger! You do not know how longingly I look upon you,
You must be he I was seeking.
I ate with you and slept with you, your body has become not yours only nor left my body mine only,
You give me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh, as we pass, you take of my beard, breast, hands, in return.
A glimpse through an interstice caught,
Of a crowd of workmen and drivers in a bar-room around the stove
late of a winter night, and I unremarked seated in a corner,
Of a youth who loves me and whom I love, silently approaching and
seating himself near, that he may hold me by the hand,
A long while amid the noises of coming and going, of drinking and
oath and smutty jest,
There we two, content, happy in being together, speaking little,
Perhaps not a word.
Part 3: Tel Aviv culture, where to stay and where to eat – coming soon…