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Going out is a serious pastime in Tel Aviv. With very few exceptions, drinking, music and food are all part of the city's nightly scene. And, with the secular New Year, locally referred to as Sylvester, still an unrecognized date on the Jewish calendar, it seems that the Jewish new year will continue to serve as a reasonable replacement. Of course, it does remain Jewish, which means that meeting up with friends usually comes after dinner, and with the extended family. But once the round challah and fish heads are gone, there is an array of activities waiting for the young at heart.
On the bar circuit, apples, honey and pomegranate all take center stage as part of numerous cocktail variations. Temptation, a bar located at 35 Allenby Street, has created the Temptini special for the occasion. The drink combines apple schnapps, extra-dry vodka, apple juice and apples. Temptation bartenders are also serving up a pomegranate mojito and apple and honey, which consists of honey liqueur and apple schnapps. As for the music, the DJ plans to emphasize Israeli tunes until at least 5 a.m.
The newly opened Benjamin Siegel, located at 1 Allenby Street at the Opera Tower, and its sister pub, Bugsy, located at 26 Florentine Street, are pulling out all the stops for their cocktail additions. The former has brewed its own sherry from wishniak cherries for the holiday, pouring the cherry atop vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate and the wishniak cherries from the sherry itself. They have added figs to the drinks menu in their Rosh Hashana in the village cocktail, which includes guava juice, Fidgling, Absolut vanilla, sour mix and figs.
Bugsy is serving up an interesting fusion of a pomegranate caipirinha, adding pomegranate seeds to cachaca, brown sugar and lemon and pomegranate juices. Making use of that Israeli holiday staple Tirush, Bugsy has created the aptly named Tirush Bugsy, a syrupy sweet concoction of peaches, oranges and apples stewed in red wine and then combined with orange juice, honey, cloves and cinnamon.
Despite being closed on the evening of the holiday itself, the trendy Ingrid Resto-Bar, located at 9 Masger Street, has already added their holiday offerings to the regular drinks menu. The Apple Amaretto is undoubtedly worth checking out, as is the Honeymoon - whiskey, milk, honey, soda and nutmeg.
If reflection upon the past year has got you down, then you might be in need of a blues show to help pick you back up again. At the Shablul Jazz Club, at Hangar 13 on the new Tel Aviv port, NIS 50 will get you in to see Efraim Shamir, a former member of the legendary Israeli group Kaveret, who has been playing the blues for 35 years. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., with Shamir set to take the stage at 5 p.m. For more information, call 03-546-1891 or visit www.shabluljazz.com.
Keeping with the retro-vibe, Bella Shlomkins live music bar and restaurant is starting the morning off with Hahadim 2006, a resurrection of one of Tel Aviv's original rock bands, founded in 1962. Together again, the band will cover the hits of the 1950s and 1960s, as they did in their youth around the Tel Aviv club scene. The club opens at 10 a.m. and the band is scheduled to start playing around 10:30 Saturday morning. Entrance is NIS 65 with a NIS 5 discount available on the club's Web site (www.bella-music.co.il). Located at 13 Noah Moses Street, for more information call (03) 609-6996.
Modern Israeli rock is alive and kicking and at home at the Goldstar Zappa club in Tel Aviv. With two major shows planned for Friday, the house is gonna be rockin' all day long. In the afternoon, the quintessential Israeli rock duo Rami Fortis and Berry Sakharov are set to take the stage at 3 p.m. The pair, who each enjoyed immeasurable success on the local rock 'n' roll scene as independent artists, when together comprise one of the most energetic acts this country has to offer. The blend of adrenaline and showmanship, split between Fortis's grandiose stage presence and Sakharov's subdued, Leonard Cohen-like persona, makes for a domestic act well worth investing a Friday afternoon.
If you are already in the area, it might make sense to make it a late night and check out the day's second act, Funk'N'Stein. The band has built up a significant following with its high-energy shows featuring funk from a long-gone era and its own material, culminating in the release of a self-titled debut album a few months ago. Coming off a successful tour participating in some of the biggest festivals on the local scene, such as Festival B'Shekel and the International Red Sea Jazz Festival, the band claims to be on a funky mission with plans to save us all. Considering that its members are also native Israelis, there is a significant amount of English songs in their repertoire. Funk'N'Stein has the ability to reach out to a wide audience when it takes the stage at midnight.
The next evening, Aviv Geffen takes the same stage, along with friend Eran Mittleman. Together they will offer up an intimate show playing acoustic versions of songs spanning Geffen's career on the piano and guitar.
Goldstar Zappa is located at 24 Migdalei Ziv Street. Doors open for the Fortis-Sakharov show at 2 p.m. Tickets cost NIS 120. For the Funk'N'Stein show, doors open at 11 p.m. and tickets cost NIS 70. Tickets for Aviv Geffen are NIS 110 and doors open at 9 p.m. For more information or to order tickets, call (03) 649-9550 or visit www.zappa-club.co.il.