One of the smartest decisions taken during that wintertime was to go for a month and a half to my beloved Tel Aviv (read, the best city on Earth). And even though I arrived in the city during the season of weak grainy rains, nobody canceled the miles of walking with methodical bar and café hopping. For that reason, a large report awaits you, which I’ll start with the new place – Cafeteria.tlv – that has ‘cluttered’ all local bloggers’ Instagram accounts.
Page 2 of 6
My Minsk friend, who now lives in Tel-Aviv, always asks me to give her a tip for a couple of must-go places which she would definitely visit upon her arrival. She zealously monitors every new place that opens – in the meantime there’s plentiful places that open – so sometimes it’s hard to meet the timeline of the weekend without a clear plan.
They said ‘You should go, you should go,’ they said ‘you should definitely go there!’. They insisted, trembled, rolled their eyes. So I went there. A dark, boudoir, noir basement with poker tables and heavy velvet curtains. Everywhere are either tail coats, or night dresses. The menu is laid out into playing cards a la taro. Drinks are terrific. – Well, how do you like the Kabinet bar? – A one-time thing. And that’s why.
It happens when you forget expectations when you open the door with a wave of the hand, yet not knowing what an absurd Moscow love is waiting for you. Why absurd? Because for me Moscow is a city that I can’t understand, a city I don’t want to go to, a city that I’m bored to walk around. Therefore, the least you expect from yourself is falling in love with its scenery. But Youth cafe Moscow is an exception, it’s my ray of light, my personal vanishing and coming youth, it’s a place when you completely forget how old you are, and you just laugh at the counter, knocking back Appletinis one after another.
This is the city of eternal mold, the city of fossilized vodka color, city of gray stone, dirty bricks, flooded with rains that bring no freshness, surrounded by endless embankments, connected by melancholic bridges. Surprisingly, there’s a place in this city for a very sunny, childishly joyful, vibrant, dazzlingly happy Portuguese charm. I’m talking about a small bar – Tawny Bar – that occupies a modest, but lovely tiny space in-between two buildings on the Fontanka, on the left of the Golitsyn loft, close to Sakhinkle Kazbegi with the similar hospitable attitude.
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.
Georgian restaurants are no strangers to anyone. They grow everywhere, and at best, they always serve delicious food, at worst the owners’ hospitality is poured into supposedly sincere singing of variety hits from the 90’s and 00’s. But you can’t compare all of this to the moment, when the soul of the people, their cuisine, becomes connected with the soul, especially St. Petersburg’s soul, and they open the place that even Georgia itself lacks. Ladies and gentlemen, Khinkali restaurant Kazbegi, hamarjoba!
‘Are you saying you just had two large balconies facing each other, made enclosed spaces in each of them, bridged them and voilà! – you have a bar? How is it even possible?’. I have long tried to explain what Do Immigration looks like, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter. Any kind of alignment is possible in Petersburg, and it seems it’s time to get used to it. Do Immigration is a place of strength, power, and not only for those who obsessed with wine, but also for all adepts of St. Petersburg’s spleen, Oz. romance and marginal bars.
It’s been 123 weeks. Petersburg has been washed with a few medium-long rains and hit the sunny side. White nights are deceptive: they call you out for a walk, but you give up quickly and dive into semi-dark bars with ease and then it’s hard to get out of them. In El Copitas, it’s dark and they only take cash. If not for this, I would have stayed in the city for one week longer, so it would be 124 weeks.