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The Israeli wine scene was at its most popular during biblical times, but in the last millennium it almost vanished. Now, a new generation is putting wine back on the map, so here Culture Trip highlights the best places to get a glass of wine in Tel Aviv – Israel’s cultural heart.
Along with a booming food and culture scene, Tel Aviv has a great selection of wine bars, spread from Hayarkon Park in the north to Jaffa in the south. Their neighbourly yet intimate flair matches the casual spirit of the city perfectly. Along with the delicious food they serve, Tel Aviv wine bars are the kind that makes one want to sit and chat for hours over a bottle of red.
One of the best happy hour deals in Tel Aviv takes place at Chateau Shual, nestled across from the central Rabin Square. Almost always crowded, it mostly attracts a younger clientele who love to enjoy the sun in the big outdoor seating area. The menu includes special wine cocktails like the rosé sangria carafe or the refreshing mix of Chardonnay and tonic water. On weekdays, between 5.30pm and 8pm, visitors can enjoy these and other alcoholic drinks at half-price. Those who do not wish to call it a night early can head to one of the many bars on Dizengoff Street, a 10-minute walk from Chateau.
Favoured by local food critics, Brut is a small wine bistro situated between two central locations: Rothschild Boulevard and Hacarmel Market. Co-owners Yair Yosefi and Omer Ben-Gal opted to create a food and wine menu that mixes Italian and French tradition with local ingredients. Those with refined taste will enjoy the ever-changing seasonal food menu of meat, fish and salads. The exceptional wine list includes wines from small-scale producers in France, as well as Israeli wine blends made exclusively for Brut. With its rustic design, which includes dimmed lights and wooden tables, it is perfect for an intimate night in Tel Aviv.
For the past seven years, El Vecino has been serving thirsty customers in a homey setting. A variety of dishes to suit different dietary needs is on offer, with the smaller dishes – the fish sashimi and the papaya salad, for example – of particular note and great fun to share. The wine cellar downstairs will accommodate a big group, while the outdoor seating area is great for a romantic lunch or dinner. After a filling meal, visitors can stroll around the nearby Hayarkon River Park to which an array of joggers, cyclists and kayak paddlers make their way every day.