Before I departed to Tel Aviv, only the lazy did not tell me that the great and mighty bartender of all of Israel Bar Shira had opened a new place (in fact, even more than one). And it’s a must-visit place! Sure thing I must, I thought! The legendary Imperial alone is worth it all. And so I go to the flea market in search of the neon Motel sign, looking for a detached beautiful building (what was I thinking?) And I can’t find anything. I check the address, raise my head – and here it is, Motel, just like a real motel that is put together from everything at disposal.
It’s a crazy Israeli thing – to make a feast out of anything. At the same time, they have some inner sense of style of some kind. This happens when the Motel looks like a real motel and even a bartender looks like a gangster rather than a mixologist. Heady pink light, grandma’s wallpapers, pseudo-stuffed deer heads, a wall full of frames, a box with keys with massive knobs, as if there really are motel rooms here. A super tiny bar. The bar counter hugs one corner, four tables are pinned to the other, a strict one-way flow goes between them. Оf course, there is a patio, but we must keep in mind that the most interesting is always behind the counter, right?
On the menu of this dive bar it stands ‘Motel – Imperial de Luxe’, it is either a self-irony, or a joke. All this looks wild, but as soon as you order something you start figuring out why this ‘dive bar’ is packed with people. And it deals neither with their service, nor with how the place looks, but with the fact that today it’s indeed the best cocktail place in Tel Aviv. And if the Imperial is a place for aesthetic gourmets, on the contrary the Motel is a hilarious booth, a daring challenge, a discouraging absurdity, which for some reason you believe at once and you understand that your reaction is a well-calculated strategy.
In general, it’s fun. It seems that the nonexistent drug dealers are about to collapse from non-existent rooms and start a shootout. But the guy behind the bar wearing a ‘wife-beater’ shirt, coat and a chain around his neck, somehow looks at you soothingly, while making another cocktail, and you are thinking: ‘Now I’m gonna finish up my hot dog, anyways’.
Olei Zion 7, Tel Aviv
Mon-Sun 6:00 p.m. – 01:00 a.m.
(Happy hours 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.)