Tel Aviv has always surprised me with its duality, its ability to combine incompatible and always deliberately act contrary to the public opinion. It’s everywhere, it even concerns bars. I had heard a bit about the Imperial Bar before I got there for the first time. It was repeatedly recognized as the best bar in Israel, the whole Middle East, and a few times – the world. Knowing the level of Israeli prices, I armed myself with my Israeli oligarchs – and we went there, after we hopped beforehand to Lucifer, our good and hidden from others eyes little bar.
We arrived at the appointed address, got out of the car – and I was slightly taken aback. I even decided to check whether I came to the right address, maybe that was some kind of twin of this famous place. But no, it was all good: “The Imperial Bar is on the first floor of the and bears the same name as the hotel, which is located almost on the first coastline.” But it does not say that the hotel is at its best three-star and looks, to put it mildly, very shabby.
And nonetheless we decided to check it out. We did not get into the bar straight away, as we did not book any seats and came spontaneously. We were asked to wait in the lobby, and got invited after 15 minutes. Well, what difference does it make which hotel are you staying in if there is a perfect bar in it? Chambered, noisy, decorated in a colonial style, serving fine cocktails, in which, according to the credible media outlet, “London signature” style is read.
Now I can’t even recall the names of cocktails. I remember only the menu with flowers and flamingos and the fact that each drink had a description and there were badges showing its taste qualities: spicy, fresh, tropical and so on. Barmen, beautiful southern men in shirts and old-school braces, were using a shaker and ice-shovel just stunningly, so you could easily put yourself in their hands. Alex Kraten, a barman of the world scale, was also was spotted there as a guest bartender.
Ah, this buzz of Israeli conversations. It isn’t heard only in three places in Tel Aviv: on the beach on a weekday, on Nahalat Benyamin Street, when there is no local craft fair, and here at the Imperial Bar because you are swimming through it, like under water, thrilled with the sensations of self-importance and magnificence of your character.
After you come out, it is absolutely necessary to walk along the beach, straight on the sand, barefoot, to return to earth, to shake off this golden dust. But if you suddenly feel like you need some more of this dust, you always know where to find it
Tel-Aviv, Hayarkon 44
6.00 p.m. – 03.00 a.m.
a cocktail – 15-20 $
the menu is seasonal, constantly changing, so trust the barmen or your senses
all photos are from Imperial Bar Facebook page