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Gotham is best described as the capital's version of The Breakfast Club, one of Tel Aviv's pioneering, underground dance bars. Any Jerusalem imitation deserves a reluctant welcome. Reluctant, because it's about time Jerusalem starts its own nightlife trends. Welcome, because Gotham is a pretty good knock-off with a distinctly Jerusalem touch.
Gotham has succeeded in importing the dark, underground vibe of its Tel Aviv role models, whose main draws are the DJs and their electronic music. Located in the center of town, it's guarded by bouncers meant to ensure a 25+ crowd. Gotham's interior weaves the Jerusalem stone walls with gothic and metallic themes. Wrapped (and warped) lightbulbs hang above the bar, and medieval-type metalwork and gargoyles add a Dark Age aura.
The ambitious yet successful design extends to the unisex bathroom, whose dark gray metallic fixtures look like something out of a Braque painting. Since The Breakfast Club is infamous for, err, unconventional activities in its stalls, Gotham's investment in the bathroom is understandable.
Gotham is destined for after-hours creatures. It only really begins to pick-up at 2 a.m. with synth and bass-heavy electronic music. On a recent Thursday night, the crowd was pretty grungy, and not necessarily 25+.
Gotham lacks a certain soft, feminine touch, which may have explained the higher male-to-female ratio, about 5:1. It was hard for my friend and me to focus on dancing while warding off advances from creepy men sorely lacking in a rich female selection.
Gotham has only been open for about two months, so it's hard to tell what kind of people it will attract in the long-run or how Jerusalemites will take to it. But for now the dance bar still fills a void in Jerusalem's underground nightlife scene. It just needs to fill up with a more attractive crowd to get to the more exclusive partying status of the more selective, hip Breakfast Club.
31 Jaffa Rd. (Feingold Courtyard, across from Adom restaurant); open Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Friday and Saturdays; 054-446-9711.