Many of Jaffa’s restaurants and bars are located in restored buildings. // © 2013 Israel Ministry of Tourism
Over the past decade, Tel Aviv, Israel, has become a more desirable and, therefore, more expensive, place to live. In turn, younger residents have moved to the more affordable Old Jaffa section, which is about a 15-minute walk from the city center. Jaffa is not only picturesque, it’s also home to one of the world’s oldest ports, architecture that dates back to the Ottoman Empire, a quaint artists’ district, a number of unique restaurants and a bustling flea market where visitors can get everything from antique furnishings to fresh-squeezed pomegranate juice.
Many of Jaffa’s neighborhoods, which were once dilapidated, have become popular spots for locals and travelers to spend an evening. In the last few years, Jaffa has seen an influx of new and modern attractions including chic bars, restaurants and nightclubs throughout the port and flea market areas. Opened toward the end of last year, the Jaffa Port Market features outdoor restaurants that overlook the harbor as well as a food court, with offerings that range from international cuisine to an Israeli craft brew market. In the port area, there’s even a dark restaurant, called Blackout, where guests dine in pitch-black darkness and are served by blind waiters.
Opened in December 2012, Main Bazar is becoming one of Jaffa’s most talked about nightspots. Guests can sit along the bar, which is constructed from piano parts, groove to tunes played by a live DJ and munch on small plates of sweet chili cauliflower and fresh bruschetta. Nearby, the Container is a hip, but not overly cool, restaurant and bar located in a massive boat hanger. Those in the know go to the port-side venue for live music, monthly art exhibitions and events. Gay-friendly Anna Loulou Bar is co-owned by two scenesters — one Arab-Israeli and one Jewish — and is located on a nondescript side street. So, ask your tour guide how to find it. This hipster hideout features nightly DJ sets, cultural programming and a large selection of cocktails — it’s also one of the most fun places to go dancing in Tel Aviv.