Florentine, South Tel Aviv, Israel - Yonatan Frimer reporting:
The winter solstice had recently passed and a New Year was upon us. The fabled 2001 "A Space Odyssey" was at least five years our junior and it was time for a drink. A companion was selected during the forth-night's celebration and a choice watering-hole was all that stood in the way. Several attractive bars seemed to loom in the horizon, but the music, vibe and, dare I say, shape, was particularly intriguing to my companion and I on this cold Tel Aviv night. But find our place we did indeed. A small corner bar, a sign bearing its name had not even been put up yet, a sign that would soon read "The Pearla"
It was not our first choice, mind you. We explored the nether regions of "The Whiskey Bar", which emanated a strange silence at this time of night, and decided, in the end, to expend our drinking allowance at the unnamed corner bar, the one we would later learn was to be called "The Pearla.
Pearls are beautiful items of jewelry that are caused by an irritation upon the insides of a sea creature called the oyster. This particular bar was a manifestation in that irritation in many ways. While many of the bars in the UN protected "Bauhaus" area of Florentine certainly make an attempt at creating a pleasant and romantic atmosphere, The Pearla actually delivered. The minor details of the establishment are lost in my writings, but the vibe was kept strong and eminent by the fantastic choice of music being played by MP3 upon a virtual turn-table. The hit list was made by the owner, who claimed his name to be Erez ,as he made futile passes at my drinking companion. "I opened this place just 3 -weeks ago" he boasted "We are getting a sign next week". I could tell my drinking companion was not impressed.
Who opens a bar in this land marked with suicide bombings and political turmoil? In this region full of dilapidated warehouses and random staircases which appeared to be the norm and no longer the exception. There was at least 5 other bars within a happenstance away and for a Monday night, business sure was booming. Where we witnessing the end of an era. A voyage in time when video phones are the choice not taken and debates range from hybrid-cars to oil-politics. Alcohol was the modern vice of choice, to drown our sorrows and forget our tomorrows. We no longer felt safe in our lives and needed a warm place for escape. The Pearla delivered, an while it was at it, it did it well. Sometimes is just all oysters and no pearls, but tonight it was all Pearls, without even one oyster.
Except for the screaming drugged up prostitute which I'll leave for next time.