When I suddenly desperately need to go to Tel Aviv, not even for business matters or even for the sea, but for the sake of feeling something very special and elusive, looping between tables on Dizengoff or Rothschild streets, to hear the roar of cheerful voices, to see the already recognizable inscriptions in Hebrew, when suddenly you want to sit on the pavement, while holding a pita with sabiakh with both of your hands, but when you have only enough money for a ticket to St. Petersburg, I rush straight to Rubinstein Street to Bekitzer.
Bekitzer is Tel-Aviv in a jewelry box: small but stuffed to the top, noisy, but kind, simple, but damn cool, being loved by the camera, holding food, and wine, and cocktails, and holidays, and the idleness of the weekend and a quick bright flash of everyday life inside. Even when it seems that there’s no place inside and you can’t take a seat there, you still find where to nestle. Someone moves the chair, someone moves away the glasses, takes away a book from the counter – and now you’re sitting behind the counter and the guys are running past you, because they are ‘in the weeds’ because the place is so packed, and every other time they fetch you something: a piece of silverware, a glass of water, a smile.
Yes, sometimes you have to wait, sometimes they serve you cold food, sometimes there is no way your shouting can be heard by a bartender, when you want him to make your Limonana less sweet. I think those who visited Tel Aviv, Israel, will understand that this is the naked truth about the local cafes and bars. It will be very delicious, but slow, fun, but uncomfortable, once it took us a whole hour to sit at the table in Port Said, but we waited for it anyways. I prefer to think about it that way. Sincerity of the place, its essence and my disposition towards it, itsloyalty, will always stand above the human factor and long waiting time.
The other thing that I really like about Bekitzer is how they celebrate Jewish and Israeli holidays, with what level of dignity they relate to the tradition. How they pay respect and homage to Yom Kippur by being closed and with what scope goes the all-night-long booze celebration of Purim, how they organize baking master classes for children and how they light candles on Hanukkah. For me this is the very Israel I fell in love with during my first visit, and the very Israel I miss. The place that you admit with all its imperfections, because you understand and accept them.
When I told the Israelites about this place, they grinned and said that this Bekitzer is the Yiddish word (meaning ‘doing in a fast fashion’), which is no longer used. But it’s music to my ears, there is everything that I love in this phonetic set, especially this perky clinking ‘tz’, as in my last name, you can’t find a better name for this bar. It’s funny that they can be found on facebook by the name @bktzr, just like that, without vowels, as in Hebrew, because the main thing is always in the roots.
Rubinstein, 40/11, St. Petersburg
Mon-Fri 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 a.m.
Sat-Sun 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 a.m.