Nightlife: Jerusalem after sundown

The familiar aromas of fish and spices somehow vanish to make way for a whiff of alcohol and the misty fume of narghilas.

November 25, 2016 11:25
Mahaneh Yehuda shuk

PATRONS CONVERGE on the Beer Bazaar in the Mahaneh Yehuda market, also known as the shuk, in downtown Jerusalem. (photo credit: TOVA MOSKOWITZ)

Those who have paid close attention to Jerusalem in recent years have borne witness to a remarkable transformation in its local night scene. Cobbled streets and narrow alleyways once largely empty after sunset are now lined with tables and are filled with the sound of booming music and cheerful chatter. Dozens of venues that have cropped up like mushrooms after rainfall over the past two years alone compete for the attention of 30,000 students and, in so doing, are brewing a peculiar brand of recreational culture that is distinctly Jerusalem.

Even so, word has not yet reached the rest of the world of this extraordinary revival. Foreign visitors looking for a taste of Israeli nocturnal culture will invariably turn to the “city that never sleeps,” passing Jerusalem for a sightseeing destination that is much mellower and more traditional. Even among Israelis, it seems, this notion of their capital remains largely unchanged.


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