Monday, February 27, 2006

Bloomberger BY Yonatan Frimer

Tel Aviv, Bloom Bar, Yonatan Frimer Reporting

Perhaps it was the somber sky or the gathering storm over a thousand miles away. Perhaps it was the specific angle at which Venus appeared that night in the sky. Better yet, we could blame fate, the shifting rift of chance and luck. Whatever the cause, something was off at this awful bar, Bloom Bar, 2 stories above the hectic intersection of Allenby, King George, and Shenkin St.

This blog was never intended to badmouth an establishment. Nor do we see ourselves on a mission to cause harm to any business. Our arms don't reach that high. But our committee has decided it is our DUTY to warn patrons of impending shortfalls and that decision is effective immediately.

What were they thinking when they designed this place. The location is ideal, the size, shape, view, everything is ideal. Yet some Israeli in the blessed country found a way of ruining it all. You could say it was "overdone". You could say that "they could have done worse". Some where even quoted as saying it’s not "that bad". But it was. It was a disaster. Too many ideas clashing together. One corner had Bob Marley airbrushed on the wall while a nearby window was playing MTV Base on mute thru a projector that made the image visible on both its sides.

Ecstasy trippers where reveling in the corner with that loud pitch response and a propensity to grind and hug each other. The populous of the bar was primarily male. Some where having a beer with a buddy in an inquisitive fashion. Others where trying their luck with the few women that had somehow made the mistake of being there and where bidding their time at the bar. One guy air-guitared as another attempted to impress the ladies to no avail.

There was no more party left in our souls. The Bloom Bar had drained us with it deranged happy Gothness and the beer and whiskey was beginning to kick in. The worst was behind us and we where ready to move on. Perhaps when the trauma wears off, one of us could write about it in the blog.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Vandalism and Saloma

Tel Aviv, Saloma, Nathan Fain Reporting.

If a night begins with a two hour session of vandalism on an ATM then you can be assured satisfaction by nights end. This was true of last Thursday when your intrepid leader took us out into the southern Tel Aviv streets for who knows what. We were one block away from our destination when one of us went to grab some cash from the only bank that would take her alien card. The ATM machine ate the card. I tried mine and it simply wouldn't take it. It was broken and took her card for no reason. There would be no chance to get it back for 3 days. We did what every good malchik would... spent 2 hours trying to convince the bank's 24/7 phone operators that it was, in fact, their fault and doing what we could to occupy our time (see image). Here's the thing, as a bank owner you never want someone in your ATM kiosk for that long.

Ahem, that out of the way the nights bar was a unique one. Saloma. A bar whose decor looks built from years of scavenging the Jaffa market for anything that smelt at least 30 years old. Is it 80's, 70's, 60's? It is some twisted scene where no single piece of furniture or wall hanging looks same. None the less... nice. Couches strewn about but not a lounge. It is filled with 5 or 6 rooms, a courtyard and a bar. Jukebox, wall piano, statue of king kong, sequins on the ceiling.

If you do venture to the spot don't be scared off by the door rat. When we arrived he explained that there was no room. He says this every time I've been there. Previous times friends i was with would beg and convince him to let them in. It's just one of those things. What I suggest doing instead is telling him "fine, we just want to look around". Upon walking in and seeing the place half empty we took our seats, ordered, and the rat went back to guarding his door.

Details: It is on Hertzl St., between Lilenbloom and Yehuda Halevi. Look for the two planted palm trees out front. The music ranges from funk, indy rock, electro... no one particular mood other than not-mainstream. It is a bit pricey with a local beer costing about 23. And depending on when you get there the door rats might require a minimum order. The people are interesting and would probably be approachable if it were not for the stuck-up mood that the door man sets for the place. I'd suggest checking it out at least once.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Wheels Keep On Spinning By Yonatan Frimer

Tel Aviv, Habima, Yonatan Frimer Reporting.

People started showing up around 22:00. Thats 1o PM in military time. This was a bar "roll" nota crawl. A few hundred roller bladers show up for a 2 hour run across the hills of Tel Aviv. A few of the more seasoned rollers dress with reflective vests and carry hand-held fog horns.

Once the madness starts its just concrete and wheels for 2 hours. Traffic is messed up as hundreds of rollers swarm the city. Traffic lights are occasionally respected, but typically they are just a guide for those who need to take frequent breaks. At one point we rolled over a boardwalk that made a precusion sound as thousands of wheels rolled over the wooden surface. The most prevalant road obstacles where not the cars. Two things caused the most danger: pedestrians on cell phones and rollerbladers getting the phone number of some young eager female most likely on her first run.

At the half time stop I spoke with the founder of Israel-Rollers. He made it clear that I am joining at my own risk and welcomed me to the group. He told me along with the others that the websites, was the best way to answer my questions.

The run ended at some bar in Jaffe. I didn't make it that far. I broke off from the group early in the evening with the advent of a blister on my injured foot. Next time I would go the full length, if I could make it.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Mecca Bites? By Matt Berman

Herzlia, Israel, Matt Berman reporting:

Here's my version of our crawl.

It was an ordinary Thursday night from my calculation. Actually, on an ordinary Thursday I probably would be home watching TV, but instead I was out in Tel Aviv checking out a local scene. The goal was Lillenblum St. to go to the Velvet Underground but we never made it. Oh, we made it to Lillenblum all right, but due to lack of vision or signage we never caught the VU. Next time, next time.

We ended up on Rothschild, I think, and after walking into a black hole of a bar--this place was pitch black--we traversed its length and made a quick exit. The music was deafening and not even very good. Besides, it was a very narrow and claustrophopic place. They called it Bordau, a name intended to sound like French for whore-house. It's wedged in between Churchill's--a place that remains a mystery because of the 40 shekel cover they were charging--and the place we finally settled down in, called Mecca.

Mecca is a very cool bar. Or rather, bars--one upstairs, one down. You walk in and are greeted to a spiral staircase that takes you up to a virtual catwalk. For some reason there are stools lined up but the path from the staircase to the bar is so narrow that if people were sitting there nobody else would be able to pass. Anyway, at the top of the stairs, you go left or right around a square walkway that lets out on one end--you actually want to go left because you hit a dead end going right--and into a cozy area with a full sized bar and some tables. We spent most of our time downstairs, but I think it was more crowded upstairs.

The downstairs bar is in the shape of a question mark. When we sat down, we were presented with friendly service from Oren who, like most Israelis I have met, was disappointed that I spoke to him in Hebrew. He complained that he couldn't practice his English to which I replied, in Hebrew of course, "Speak to me in English, but I have to practice my Hebrew." (He spoke to me in Hebrew.)

The bartender who ultimately served us was a girl from Tel Aviv who seemed very American, but according to her she didn't spend much time there at all. Seemed hard to believe. We ordered beers--they have Goldstar, some light colored ale that Yoni ordered, Carlsberg (I think) and Guiness. I would not recommend the Guiness because the chance of having it poured wrong is about 50/50, but if you're a gambler then go for it. Anyway, I didn't look at the menu, which was a mistake. I would probably eat there next time--if the food is like the rest of the place then it is good. And there will definitely be a next time--but I'll make sure to spend more time upstairs. I might even gamble on a Guiness.