Ask the Barman: Fast-paced fruity fun

Bartender Shani Azouri serves up the drinks at Tel Aviv Port's latest mega-bar Pineapple Express.

Bartender at Pineapple Express 370 (photo credit: Yoni Cohen)
Bartender at Pineapple Express 370
(photo credit: Yoni Cohen)
Summer is in full swing and that means the mega-bars at Tel Aviv Port are packed with young foreign tourists and local high-rollers partying hard most nights. While Galina has earned the reputation in recent years of being the Port’s top destination for those looking to have a good time, recently-opened Pineapple Express may be about to squeeze its way to the Number One spot.
As is customary with most mega-bars in Tel Aviv, such as Sublet and Clara in the south of the city, Pineapple Express has its very own large outdoor area. Those who sit outside get a great view of the sea and at the weekends the bar opens earlier to allow people to watch the awesome summer sunset.
Pineapple Express is for people who want to party hard and don’t mind paying for it. Though it only recently opened, a number of celebrities, basketball players and other sports personalities have checked out what all the fuss is about. People can either sit at the huge indoor bar and the even bigger outdoor bar or one of the many surrounding tables.
Bartender Shani Azouri is familiar with the bar scene at the Port and has been in the business for over two years, previously working at Galina. The 23-year-old student from Saviyon loves her job and is forever smiling because she gets to party hard while at work.
When not knocking out the Vodka Red Bulls to the fun-loving customers, Shani can be found relaxing on the beach with her friends after a hard night partying and a day full of studying Communications at the IDC in Herzilya.
How did you get into bartending?
I started working as a bartender at a restaurant but it was too tame there for me. I like to go out a lot anyway so I decided to become a bartender at a real bar, something which I see as a dream job.
How long have you been doing it?
Two years.
How did you learn the trade? Did you go to a bartending course?
I didn’t do a course. I was actually thrown in at the deep end and that’s how I learned everything I know. There was one place where the bar manager believed in me and he really helped me out a lot.
What’s the craziest night you’ve ever had?
There have been plenty. But there was this one night when a group of French tourists came to the bar and things got interesting. We drank a lot together and then some of my friends joined in and at the end of the night we went on their yacht that was docked in the port and we carried on drinking and dancing. Let’s just say it was crazy night.
Who’s the most interesting customer that you’ve ever had sit at the bar?
Once this guy came in who was about 60. I looked at him and thought he must be one of those lost causes with nothing interesting to say. But when I started to speak to him I discovered that he was a professor and lecturer at Tel Aviv University. I had a very interesting conversation with him about all kinds of things. The thing that was so special about it was that it was such a surprise that he turned out to be so interesting.
Who would be your dream customer?
Collin Farrell.
What drink would you serve him?
Whisky or maybe Patron.
What’s your favorite drink to make?
It would have to be Vodka Redbull. It comes automatically. It’s fun, easy, and quick.
What’s your least favorite drink to make?
Any kind of cocktail. I don’t like to make them because when it’s busy behind the bar and there are lots of people trying to catch my attention it can be annoying to start fiddling with making a cocktail.
What’s the best tip you’ve ever received?
NIS 1,500. It was actually in euros though.
Who was it from?
A group of tourists.
What’s the best part about the job?
I get to party and also work at the same time.
How do you cope with the late nights?
I don’t. Usually I just don’t wake up till the next night.
Do a lot of people try to hit on you while you’re behind the bar?
Yes. It goes with the job and you learn how to live with it. And most importantly, my boyfriend learned how to live with it.
Do you have any tips for anyone that wants to be a bartender?
You have to love partying. That’s the most important thing.
Pineapple Express, Hangar 23 Tel Aviv Port