A market stall, a former hospital and a speakeasy – Jerusalem’s most popular night-time spots all put a twist on traditional bars. After a hot day spent wandering through historic and holy sites, quench your thirst at the city’s best watering holes.
By day, Jerusalem is filled with people visiting the Holy City’s many fascinating historical and religious landmarks. By night, it transforms into a place with a vibrant nightlife thanks to a plethora of venues scattered throughout the city. Whether you prefer to wet your whistle at a rockers’ hang-out, party at the city’s only official gay bar or taste a variety of high-end cocktails, here are Culture Trip’s best bars in Jerusalem.
Bar, Pub, Pub Grub
The tiny Sira eludes easy labels. Somewhere between a dive bar and a space for avant-garde art, this pub in the Downtown Triangle is popular with students and is among the liveliest and most laid-back establishments in the city. Boasting a generous happy hour from 5pm to 9pm during the week and hosting nightly events, such as film premieres, live music from up-and-coming Israeli artists, DJs and lectures, Sira is anything but conventional and gets more spirited the later it is.
Located in the central Jerusalem neighbourhood of Rehavia, the casual yet sophisticated Wine Bar specialises in delicious wines and tapas. Perfect for a romantic date or a relaxing night out with friends, this bar is the brainchild of local chef Assaf Granit, who was inspired by his favourite wine bar in Italy – he’s also behind the much-admired Jerusalem restaurant Machneyuda. Serving a variety of wines, beers and cocktails, Wine Bar also has a tasty food menu, featuring cheeses, charcuterie platters and sandwiches. Without a doubt, this bar is the best place to sit back and enjoy a glass of red.
A landmark Jerusalem watering hole and meeting spot for members of the city’s bohemian circles, the unpretentious Hataklit lies near the Russian Compound off Jaffa Street. Also known as a secular bastion in what is an otherwise famously religious city, Hataklit has long welcomed artists, journalists, writers and an assortment of misfits looking for a reasonably priced, no-frills drink. The interior is simple and decorated with record sleeves, but many patrons prefer to mingle outdoors where there is ample seating available, especially on warm summer nights. Happy hour is on weekdays from 4.30pm to 9pm and features a buy-one-get-one-free deal on all drinks.
If you’re searching for quality cocktails in the Holy City, look no further than the Gatsby Cocktail Room in Downtown Jerusalem. Inspired by American speakeasies, this stylish joint lies behind a nondescript green door. Once inside, you’ll feel like you’re journeying back in time thanks to the dapper decor and a drinks menu arranged according to the seven deadly sins. For example, the Queen of the Crop cocktail (Tanqueray gin, flower liqueur and cucumber) represents envy, while the Back to Black (whiskey, ginger liqueur, lemon, strawberry and pineapple) represents wrath. The drinks here are comparatively pricier than in other bars, but the mixologists spare no effort in their work and pay attention to every detail.
Serving Jerusalem’s LGBTQ community since 2012, the Video Pub is a 1980s-themed gay bar located in the heart of the Downtown Triangle. With a focus on electropop music, the bar is the perfect place to grab a well-priced drink, enjoy a guest DJ set and see a drag show. Often referred to as Jerusalem’s only official gay bar, the Video Pub attracts people from all backgrounds and orientations. It also hosts regular ladies’ nights, so check the schedule before going. Keep in mind that the Video Pub tends to get more crowded as the night draws on.
Let the headbanging begin! Blaze Rock and Sports Bar is brings together Jerusalem’s hard rock and heavy metal fans. With nightly live-music shows from the best local rock groups around, the Blaze is the perfect place to get to grips with Israel’s alternative music scene. Situated in the Downtown Triangle in what used to be a gaming arcade, this bar has a grungy vibe to go along with its well-rounded and reasonably priced drinks menu. Best of all, there’s no cover charge, so you can rock on through the night.
Experience the cool evening atmosphere of the Mahane Yehuda Market at Yudale, a trendy tapas bar with an extensive beverage menu. The food served here is ever-changing, with past dishes including grilled calamari, truffled polenta and beef carpaccio. Aside from its popular cocktails, Yudale is a great place to try out local araks – an alcoholic drink made from distilled anise. Be prepared to queue as it’s one of the city’s most popular bars, but the line generally moves quickly. Yudale is closed on the Jewish Sabbath, which begins on Friday evening and ends on Saturday after sunset.
Bar, Cafe, Restaurant, Vegetarian, Vegan, Beer, Wine
A co-working space, artists’ studio and a bar all in one, Hamiffal (The Factory) is unlike any other Jerusalem watering hole. Best described as an art bar, Hamiffal lies inside an abandoned 19th-century building near the heart of the city. Simultaneously serving as an art gallery, a café, a vegetarian kitchen and an events venue, this welcoming public space has plenty of seating throughout the day and evening. Enjoy an array of vegan dishes as you quench your thirst with liquors, beers and wines. Hamiffal is perfect for a relaxing evening out and a cultural experience rolled into one, as well as for meeting members of Jerusalem’s creative community.
Once upon a time, in the late 19th century, Hansen House operated as a hospital for patients with leprosy and had an attached goat pen that provided fresh milk for its residents. Fast-forward to today, and hidden behind the tall walls of the Hansen House (no longer treating Hansen’s disease), the Hadir bar is a thriving kosher tavern with regular live-music shows featuring local artists. Located in the historic hospital in the Talbiya neighbourhood, a stone’s throw from the city centre, the bar offers a fine selection of wines and beers in its scenic garden – Hadir mainly has outdoor seating. Along with alcoholic beverages, Hadir serves a range of vegetarian small plates.
After the sun has set and many stalls close, a new crowd gathers at one particular stand in the heart of the Mahane Yehuda Market. Welcome to Hatch, a casual kosher bar that specialises in craft beers and home-made sausages. Having opened in 2017 by American entrepreneur Ephraim Greenblatt, Hatch is a relative newcomer and has quickly become a local favourite. On any given day, you can find the place packed with diners wolfing down corned beef sandwiches, buffalo wings and sausage plates. Alongside these tasty treats are unique craft beers that rotate regularly – one such beer is Higzamti, a stout made with more than four times the amount of dark malt. For those less keen on ale, there’s also a creative rotating cocktail menu. As this place is kosher, it is closed on the Jewish Sabbath.