Capital Cool: Nightlife heats up in Jerusalem

While during the academic year, student club parties are where it's at, summer nightlife in J'lem is generally all about festivals, drink specials and other outdoor gatherings.

August 5, 2011 19:22
2 minute read.
Israeli Wine-Tasting Festival

Jerusalem Wine Festival 311. (photo credit: Courtesy Israeli Wine-Tasting Festival)

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While during the academic year, student club parties are where it's at, summer nightlife in Jerusalem is generally all about the festivals, drink specials and other outdoor gatherings. 2011 is no exception, and has scoured the city for the most exciting offerings of the Holy City's summer in the way of live music, bars, clubs, parties and festivals.

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One of the biggest festivals of the summer season, Hutzot Hayotzer at the Sultan’s Pool sees loads of big-name Israeli acts taking the stage, for an experience to complement the booths of international crafts and foods. This year will feature Mosh Ben-Ari, Hadag Nachash and Ehud Banai, among others. While the Front Stage features Friday afternoon street parties, on some Thursday nights they bring in some of the biggest names in Israel and abroad to play, including Israeli rock demi-god Berry Sacharof and trance superheroes Infected Mushroom, who close the Front Stage season at Sacher Park together on August 18.

There’s big bands and then there’s big bands with lots of musicians, like party band Marsh Dondurma, who play the Safra Square concert series on August 18. The German Colony’s weekly jazz fest features live music and other diversions every Thursday night this summer too.

Music isn’t the only thing happening, though. The Beer Festival puts 150 different types of beer on center stage, along with DJ sets and an appearance by Mercedes Band starting August 31. The all-you-can-consume Wine-Tasting Festival brings a bit of class into the equation, with unlimited wine on a background of jazz and art in the Israel Museum’s sculpture garden.

There’s no need to wait for someone to set up a stage and a bunch of booths just to get your booze and dance on, though. Many of the city’s smaller bars are switching things up for the summer, like Glasgow's specialty cocktail series. At Mia Bar, they are offering a special summer bar much menu designed by gastro-star Roger Moore of Chakra, with foodstuffs that go great with beer, like root vegetable salads and qeusadillas. They call Sundays at Hatza'atzua “tipsy,” but with unlimited beer and wine for 40 to 50 NIS, it’s really a binger’s dream.

Indie dive Uganda generally hosts progressive, artsy DJs and bands all week long, and on August 10, quirky DJ Alon Ovnat of the FACT record label spins the beats. It’s fitting the Americanized Mike’s Place is home to an upcoming Grateful Dead tribute concert, but if you prefer dancing to chilling, Hakatze's got an electro party every other Thursday and a pride/trash pop party on the intervening Thursdays this month.

For complete listings of everything going on around Jerusalem, check out's calendar of events and latest articles.

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