(photo credit: PR)
Growing up in London, my favorite bars to visit were those housed in old basement casinos or cabaret clubs. The entrance was always on a small dark street, away from the main thoroughfare, and only as you descended the staircase into the underworld of London, did the magic reveal itself.
Although the entrance to Gatsby Cocktail Room does not include a grand staircase descending into the depths of Jerusalem’s nightlife, the talented owners and interior designers have managed to create an entrance that evokes a similar magic and takes you back in time to the days of speakeasies and cabaret. As the name suggests, this is a 1920’s themed cocktail bar and lounge, where the bar staff making the cocktails is as much part of the fun as the drinking is. They do have other drinks on the menu, but the main attraction is the impressive selection of imaginative cocktails.
We sampled a broad selection of different types of cocktails, so I will just focus on our favorites.
For me the clear winners were Goldrush (NIS 46), a blend of bourbon, orange zest, lemon and honey, and La Punta (NIS 42), a sweet and spicy mix made of Rosetta almond milk, passion fruit, lemon, spicy tequila and Grand Marnier. My friend favored the more traditional Old Fashioned (NIS 48), made with bourbon, sugar and Angostura bitters, as well as the Fitzgerald (NIS 42) with gin, sugar, lemon, eggs whites and the ever present Angostura bitters.
The team of talented mixologists is also happy to create a bespoke cocktail based on your preferences. We were particularly lucky to have Yuval Soffer create some cocktails for us, including a delicious Christmas in a Glass, his version of traditional eggnog.
Yuval recently returned to Israel, having worked as a mixologist in LA and New York for the past 12 years, and is partly responsible for the cocktail revolution sweeping Israel right now.
Gatsby has a limited but welldesigned bar menu and we enjoyed a selection of the dishes.
The cheese platter (NIS 48) is a perfect accompaniment to a night of drinking and includes a variety of high quality cheeses, served with fruit and crostini. We enjoyed both the Caprese salad (NIS 32), which was lighter than the traditional version of this salad and the artichoke a la Romana salad (NIS 34), which was very well seasoned. The tuna sashimi with beet Carpaccio (NIS 38) was very nice but I felt it lacked acidity and the barramundi Carpaccio (NIS 38) also needed more distinct flavor. Finally the fried red mullet (barbunia) with mint aioli (NIS 38) was a good bar snack, especially after a few cocktails, but the smell is a little off putting in such a small space. The bar is not kosher but the menu is dairy only.
Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our evening at Gatsby Cocktail Room, it is a welcome addition to the Jerusalem bar scene and the combination of great cocktails, beautiful décor and attentive service makes it a great place to go for a night out with friends or someone special.Gatsby Cocktail Room
18a Hillel Street, Jerusalem
Tel: 054-814-7143 (reservations required)
Sunday to Saturday, 7pm to 3am