28 Jun 7 Reasons why the Yemeni Village is the Coolest Neighbourhood of Tel Aviv
The silly proverb claiming “Every day is a holiday if you live your nights like the Yemenites” actually makes sense. The “Kerem”, the Yemenite village in the heart of Tel Aviv City, is the most chilled, most authentic, and most easygoing area of town. This is why it’s the coolest neighbourhood of Tel Aviv.
This up-and-coming neighbourhood is patched with cool clubs, local favourite bars and pubs, hummus restaurants offering many different kinds of the national favourite chickpea-and-sesame cream, and coffee places hosting both young hipsters and an old religious crowd, sharing this picturesque quarter in peace and harmony.
The Coolest Neighbourhood of Tel Aviv
It’s been a while since I decided that one day I would get into the Kerem-groove and move into this slightly surreal melting pot, a village surrounded by skyscrapers and fancy projects, yet always remaining rural and country-like. About a month ago,a special opportunity came along and my boyfriend and I found a romantic and cozy apartment with a jackpot sun balcony.
All this right on the same street as our favourite hummus restaurant. Ever since then, if we don’t necessarily need to, we never really want to leave the area – and we don’t even have to, since everything that one can think of is right here, hidden in the narrow alleys and curvy streets of the Kerem.
Here are my 7 reasons why this neighborhood deserves your special attention – regardless of whether you’re thinking about living here or just visiting for a fab vacation.
- Dance the Night Away at The Kartel
This awesome club and bar in Malan Street, just next to the “shuk”, aka the market place, offers an easy vibe, fun music, cheap drinks, and a dance floor called “Ghosttown”, tempting everyone to strike a pose.
The hand-painted walls give the impression of being in a downtown pub in Mexico City, but the crowd is as Tel Avivian as it gets; everyone looks über-stylish yet never snobbish, and you simply feel at home the moment you order your first drink. Insider tip; ask for a chaser and it will be served in a cute little clay cup, handmade personally by the owner and manager of the place.
- Start Your day with a Creamy Cappuccino at Café Yom Tov
“Yom tov” means “Have a nice day”, and kicking off a morning at this flea-market-like coffee shop, the wish comes true right away. The tools and bits and decorations are so randomly picked, they actually make sense all together: this is the true “balagan”, the Hebrew expression for the charming mess we love so much about this country.
Try the avocado sandwich enriched with crunchy sprouts, and enjoy your morning soy milk in “afuch” – local cappuccino – listening to the enchanting French chansons they play from the speakers.
- Drink a Glass of “Fat Cat”, the Signature Ale of The Beer Bazaar
Beer Bazar is a typical Tel Avivian start-up success story: it started off as a counter selling locally handcrafted beers, and by now it has several locations and a “flagship” bar of two floors, looking over the Kerem with a cozy balcony.
By the evening hours the place gets so busy, people even sit on top of the counters, which throughout the daytime are used as vegetable stands for the salesmen of the nearby market. Thirsty for adventure? Order a “Hatul Shamen” – literally meaning “Chubby Cat” -, a local boutique beer; creamy, bitter-sweet, cloudy, raw, and fine as it gets.
- Fight the Peaceful Hummus Wars at Shlomo ve Doron & HaTeimani
Hummus is a serious business in the Middle East – everyone has their favourite hummus places, and people can get into serious fights over which is the best one.
The Kerem is famous for its hummus spots, and although there’s one on every corner, the most legendary ones are HaTeimani (once called The Syrian), serving classic creamy hummus, alongside chips, a simple and crunchy vegetable salad, and freshly prepared falafel balls, and Shlomo and Doron’s “Hummusiya”, offering a more innovative, spicy and warm hummus, with their handmade pita bread.
- Try Cosmopolitan Culinary Adventures at Balienjira
The Kerem is also a home of international cuisine; not only of classic Middle Eastern delicacies. The recently opened Balienjira offers the very best of the Ethiopian and Eritrean kitchen.
The beautiful and always oh-so-stylish woman running the place became famous all across the country after she decided to go public with her story of taking a loan to make her dream of opening an authentic injera eatery come true – by now she is the official face of a local bank’s project investment service. Injera is a soft flatbread with light, bubbly texture, and it also serves as a plate for different curries and stews, depending on whether the guests are vegans, vegetarians or meat eaters.
- Make a Splash at Drum Beach; Order a Cocktail at Royal Beach
Several streets of the neighborhood are basically connecting the city’s main food market with the beach – wherever you happen to be in the Kerem, you can never be far away from the seaside.
The easiest way is to walk out to Geula Street – with a quick stop for a drink at Sheleg, an open-minded and LGBTQ friendly café near the corner of Allenby Street. Geula will bring you directly to the sandy shores of the Mediterranean.
Drum Beach by the Dolphinarium is famous for its colorful graffiti and random, spontaneous street performances by local drummers, often joined by tourists.
And for the ones who prefer it fancy, the luxurious Royal Beach tower’s terrace is the best spot for chilled drinks and hot dates.
- Discover the Surrounding Hot Spots at the Carmel Market and on Nachalat Binyamin
The Kerem is in the very centre of the city, therefore it’s surrounded by lots of exciting and fun streets to discover. Right by the entrance of the Carmel Market, on Magen David Square, you’ll find Pasta Basta, a friendly and cheap Italian bar “DIY” style; pick your kind of pasta, sauce, toppings, and flash it down with their house wine.
Nachalat Binyamin, the textile district, is also close by, hosting an arts and crafts market every Tuesday and Friday – the perfect time to try Agadir’s to-die-for vegan burgers, and give a go to the aubergine chips and the crispy tofu nuggets on the breathtakingly beautiful rooftop bar, HaNesich, aka “The Prince”.
You’re new in the city? For contact infos and details on each place click on the names of the venues in the titles. Connect to the blog on Facebook and Instagram as well @SeaNRent_UnlockTelAviv. Find more insider tips for LGBTQ visitors to the neighborhood in the upcoming issue of Time Out Israel’s English edition, and read my weekly posts on my blog WhitecityBoy.com.
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