Located in the heart of Tel Aviv, Shuk HaCarmel supplies produce to locals and restaurants, as well as serving as a tourist attraction. After the vendors pack up their goods, the neighborhood still has much to offer. Here are our top picks for places to grab a drink around Shuk HaCarmel.
Bar, Mediterranean, Tapas, $$$
Courtesy of Bicicletta
Bicicletta is seemingly hidden in plain sight and is quite easy to miss. Its humble entrance does little to hint at the secret garden tucked just inside. However, once discovered, this place is difficult to stop raving about. Bicicletta boasts Mediterranean tapas-inspired dishes and the menu includes mouthwatering spins on traditional favorites such as eggplant fries, watermelon gazpacho and corvina ceviche. The electric atmosphere is chic without being pretentious.
Nestled in the narrow side streets near the Shuk that give Kerem Hatemanim its magic, Norman is the ultimate little bar-next-door. This place is worth the trip even if you aren’t fortunate enough to call it your neighborhood joint. The bar’s laid-back vibes and warm, friendly bartenders will make you feel like a regular. Specializing in whiskey and Belgian beers, Norman’s impressive selection on tap is guaranteed to satisfy any beer enthusiast who wants to diverge from their usual Goldstar. This place is perfect for a night with old friends. It’s just far enough out of the bustle to not have to ‘see or be seen’ yet charming and cozy enough to make you stay hours longer than you originally planned.
This rooftop bar is a neighborhood staple, with views of the popular pedestrian street, Nachlat Binyamin, and its bi-weekly artisan’s fair. The bar’s retro interior design, and its great music make it one of Tel Aviv’s not-so-secret hotspots. Besides fueling the Tel Aviv nightlife, the venue also serves as a home for community and creativity, hosting lectures and cultural events as well as bands and DJs. Midweek this is a great place to bring a laptop and cozy up in the library-like interior to get some work done. However, once the weekend rolls around some light drinking and sunbathing on The Little Prince’s delightful rooftop patio is definitely in order.
Par Derriere, with its lusciously green interior and romantic ambiance, this sweet wine bar will win your heart at first sight. Their crème brûlée, one of the best in the city and besides the magical garden, Par Derriere also has a lounge area in which they frequently host live music events. The wine list is regularly updated, boasting wines from all over the world including an excellent local selection. The eats are inspired by the fresh produce of the shuk whose entrance is just a block away. Ask the hospitable staff for a paring recommendation or just play it safe with the cheese platter; you can’t go wrong with wine, cheese and a little jazz.
Although The Malabia isn’t strictly speaking a bar, it ranks as an undisputed local hotspot. To be fair, they do sell Goldstar beers, but the main attraction is undeniably the malabi. Made from a milk-based (or vegan) rose-water pudding, topped with a choice of favored syrups (we recommend the cinnamon vanilla) and sprinkled with nuts and coconut for crunchiness. The light, refreshing dessert is perfect for a summer night, either on the way to the bar or after a night of partying. It’s also easy on the wallet, at only ten shekels a pop. What makes this place so unique is its nightlife vibe and cult following, illustrated by its patio, which is ordinarily packed until closing at 2 am. The Malabia also offers board games such as backgammon and checkers, making it excessively easy to loose track of time and spend the whole evening.