They say smells are something you never forget. A certain smell can take you back in time. For me, the fragrance of night-blooming jasmine (cestrum nocturnum) in the streets of Jerusalem on summer nights is one of those unforgettable scents.
Night-blooming jasmine is planted in the gardens in many Jerusalem neighborhoods, especially Rehavia. It is a sprawling, very fast growing climber that needs trimming to look nice, but as evening falls, the small whitish-yellow flowers open up and give off a wonderful perfume.
Stroll through the streets of Jerusalem at night and breathe in the sweet, intoxicating smell. But the truth is, the Bible got there first. The author of the Song of Songs waxed lyrical over this heady scent thousands of years ago:
Awake O North Wind,
Come O South Wind!
Blow upon my garden
That its perfume may spread.
(Song of Songs 4:15)
Ben Yehuda St, and Nahalat Shiv'aa area is a very lively area at night, there are many pubs and restaurants in and around it and its one of the nicest areas to hang out in.
Another nice area to walk around is the German colony area.
As about Pubs and such you can find hang out in the "Russians court" area.
I was lucky to fill up my collection of beautiful sunrises and sunsets over the great places all over the world. This time it was a very picturesque sunset over Old City of Jerusalem which I admired from the Mount of Olive.
You can watch my 6 min 56 sec HD Video Sunset over Jerusalem out of my Youtube channel.
You can watch my high resolution photo of Jerusalem on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 31° 46' 42.69" N 35° 14' 26.93" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Sunset over Jerusalem.
What can tell more about local customs than local people singing and dancing?
I enjoyed Jewish singing and dancing in Jewish Quarter in Jewish Passover.
You can watch my 3 min 25 sec HD Video Jerusalem Singing and dancing in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City out of my Youtube channel.
Dear friends of the russian lifestyle. I have got bad news for you - at least if you travel to Jerusalem and planned to have some fun there: one of the best places in town got destroyed! A Israeli from Russia told me, that one of those oligarchs living in London, bought the area where there was once the Russian Compound with the best russian-life bars and nightclubs in town. He now wants to build skyscrapers there. It really seems, that even for some born with a real soul, there is all about money and nothing about life...! Sad.
---------------------in rememberence: here is my old text about the compound--------------------
The Putin Bar - Beers to honour the Russian President!
If you are Russian, Ukrainian, Belorussian yourself or you just like the "russian" way of life, that is THE spot to go for a great night!
Russian Pop Songs, young immigrants dancing on the tables, Russian as first language when ordering a pivo or two...
Its loud, its busy, its rough - and everybody knows everybody. You will find friends there if you can go with that special flow. If not: better go somewhere else.
Bar Putin got my second home in Jerusalem - and not mainly for the pictures of President Putin at the walls of the bar. Bar Putin opens almost every day around 10, but go there on thursday or saturday around 11 when there are the first customers but it is still not too busy.
Post Scriptum: Even conservative Foxnews covered the bar!
Dress Code: The boys there wear usually Jeans and XXL Sweaters and the girls the opposite, e.g. miniskirts and tight tops. But you can dress however you like.
I also enjoyed Jewish children singing on Jaffa Square.
You can watch my 4 min 39 sec HD Video Jerusalem Jaffa Square Children singing out of my Youtube channel.
And finally I enjoyed people dancing (most of them were tourists, I think) in Mamilla.
You can watch my 3 min 16 sec HD Video Jerusalem People street dancing in Mamilla out of my Youtube channel.
Nightlife in the old city is very quiet. It is safe to walk around, but everything is closed and there are just a few street vendors.
If you look for bars, restaurants, discos, etc.. head to the modern city outside the walls, that is much less fascinating but with an active nightlife scene.
Rivlin street is the best place if you like to drink some beer, smoke shisha and meet young people.
There are many pubs in this street we just liked Zolli's more but the standard is very similar, the only beer I could drink was the irish Murphy, the locals are not bad but definitly very light.
The good thing of middle east is that you can smoke nearly everywhere, specially here in Jerusalem, had no problem smoking our cigars while drinking.After 10 the street become really crowded and young american and russian teens dance and drink on the street.
Great bar/restaurant in centre of town. Attracts essentially a late 20s/early 30s crowd (but not exclusively) with good music, great ambience, slightly faded round the edges. Large semi-circular bar dominates the downstairs, lots of faded velvet drapes and 50s style furniture. Upstairs has a little less atmosphere.
Dress Code: Anything goes - stays open late
Nightlife in Jerusalem is livelier than you think. You just have to know where to find it. Most visitors to the Holy City never get anywhere near Talpiot, not to mention the Talpiot industrial zone, which looks like a sprawling mass of workshops and garages. But hidden among the carpenters and the auto mechanics is Yellow Submarine, a music club that features live performances every night.
Housed in what looks like an old factory is a performance space for up-and-coming musicians, singers and bands of every stripe. The place is nondescript from the outside. I must have seen it a million times and never noticed. But come nightfall, the lights go on, the black tarp that serves as a door opens, and the music begins. At the end of a long entrance hall painted to look like the inside of a submarine (murals of circular windows looking out at sea with some cartoon fish swimming around) you will see a brightly lit bar. Stock up here on draft beer, wine and alcohol (or for people like me, hot chocolate, apple cider, soft drinks, tea and coffee) to sip at your table when the show starts. The club itself is small and very informal (grab a chair and move the tables around as you please).
Tickets are 50-60 shekels a person, but Tuesday nights – jazz night – admission is FREE.
For those who want to mix with the locals, this is about as local as you can get. Not a tourist in sight.
Emek-Refa'im Street, in the German Colony neighborhood of Jerusalem, is a popular place to hang out in the evening in Jerusalem, take a stroll, dine, sit in one of the cafes.
On Lloyd George Street, a narrow lane off Emek-Refa'im, you will find the "Lev-Smadar" movie theater. This neighborhood-cinema is a favorite among Jerusalem residents; it's a small old building from the British Mandate era, which used to be called "Cinema Orient" in those days.
It has retained its small-town charm, and its small cafe is full of atmosphere. By the way, the movies shown here are also great!
Small wonder that the residents of Jerusalem have vigorously fought plans to tear the cinema down, and now this building is on the conservation list.
A really cool dance bar, that is part of the Hebrew University Union Students Club own treasure. The place itself is pretty small compare to say the Haoman 17. It boasts two dance floors and a stage. Each dance floor has its own line of music(R&B in one, and techno in the bigger one). They have on occasions Israeli rockers who make their way on the stage. It's a medium size dance-bar, so you'll find it quite cozzy. Son.. you found the right place. Lot's of young and intelligent chicks. Bear in mind that usually only students flock the place. I usually see a lot of Americans there, if that helps out, coz you won't find too many of them in other dance clubs around. Entrance tickets are usually 50 sheckels if you're not a student and 30 sheckels if you are. Most parties are held on wednesdays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays for Students, and on Fridays for 23+. Bottom line. Good place, and a good one when you just wanna "get it on", but if you're a real clubber walk back 100 meter to the Haoman 17.
Dress Code: I dunno just be yourself
Spectacular night light show that tells the story of Jerusalem visually. The images are cleverly projected not on a screen, but on the actual 3000 year old walls around the Tower of David which creates a very realistic 3D effect. Very colourful and mesmerising to watch the gradual development of Jerusalem from a garden of eden to the present day realities.
It lasts for around 45 minutes but the visual effects are so absorbing that you want it to last longer. Nifty use of moving images to tell the story of this very historic city.
Dress Code: It can be cool at night outside summer, so wear a jumper since this is an outdoors experience.
Yes, even in one of the most religious cities on earth there is a small but steady community of Gays and Lesbians and their straight friends as me who just like to enjoy life, music, dancing and happyness.
And the best place to find all this is Shoshan-Gay Bar and Club. It is open daily from 9:00 pm, except on Sundays and on some weekends shows great Dragqueen performances or special parties.
To emphasise this: If you are straight and you go there you will not be harassed in any way! People are extremely tolerant and nice at Shoshans! I went there quite often with gay and straight friends and we had fun every time we'd been there.
On the other hand, the community has a hard life in Jerusalem. There had been attacks against the Pride Parade and Shoshan in recent months. So if you go there you also show your support of the community and they will love you for this!
Dress Code: Sexy, funky or whatever you like. If you like Drag-style, feel free to go there this way. Otherwise just have fun as you are :-)