City Guide - Tel Aviv and Jerusalem

05 May, 2015

Jerusalem bars

Gatsby

18 Hillel Street, Jerusalem

The best cocktail bar in Jerusalem is Gatsby – opened six months ago, it was also the first. What book opens the secret door to this place is probably best left unknown (there are a few favourites in the area that might compete for that honour) but either way this is a quintessential entrance to a quintessential speakeasy bar.

They haven’t missed a detail. Bartenders in bowties perform to a crowd of locals perched on stools surrounding high tables that stretch across the sizeable black and white marble floor. Swing, jazz and double-shaking offer a thrumming rhythm to proceedings. The menu is mainly classical in approach but the way it is displayed is not. Each drink has a postcard in its honour, which is novel, if a little time- consuming to read. Still, the drinks are worth the wait.

Zuta

10 King David Street, Jerusalem 

Hidden at the back of one of the best restaurants in town, 1868, is Zuta, a hideout that has been open just a few months. Lighter and more airy than a speakeasy, this place is the work of owner yankale Turjeman, a 31-year-old chef and cocktail enthusiast.

On the bar-side of the limestone walls you will find straight-up classics of the kind that should be mastered by all bartenders before they experiment. Turjeman did his homework, visiting 25 bars on his last visit to London. He returned with an extra suitcase of equipment and otherwise inaccessible booze.

What he has created is a nice, simple bar that does things in the right way. There are many more ambitious hotel bars in Jerusalem that aren’t a patch on Zuta – as Turjeman said on hearing W50BB was doing a bar tour of the city: “That won’t take long.”





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