Friday Night Life: Where to Drink, Dance and more on Shabbat

There is a common misconception out there that Jerusalem is a drag on Friday night, that you have to go to Tel Aviv to have fun on Shabbat (the Jewish day of rest), but that’s entirely false (unless you count drag queens at Video Pub).

Yes, it’s true that there is less going on overall, but not only are the  majority of the city’s bars and other nightlife venues open — Friday night is also one of their most lively.

Whether you’re looking to grab some drinks with dinner, take in some live music, sit around with friends all night and knock em’ back or dance the night away, sip on fine wine or expertly mixed cocktails, trust us, Jerusalem’s nightlife’s got what you need…

Stay Classy


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In just over a year, Gatsby has already become one of Jerusalem’s premiere bars and is THE destination for a proper cocktail. The 1920’s speakeasy motif offers one of the most unique boozing atmospheres in the city, as well as a rich seafood- and meat-centric food menu.

The bar opens with 2 for 1 happy hour at 6 and steadily fills up throughout the night, and at 11 the real party gets started as the DJ starts spinning electro-swing and vintage tracks.



Tucked in the quaint Feingold Courtyard between Jaffa and Rivlin Streets, Mantra is the only non-hotel wine bar in downtown Jerusalem.

In addition to an extensive Israeli wine list, they have a special tapas-style evening menu offering up a palette of Mediterranean flavors from Chef Yaakov Elisha.

The early evening hours are perfect for some laid-back wine tasting, but as with many Jerusalem bars, it’s not uncommon for a bit of partying replete with dancing on the bar to break out later at night.

Just Booze



A bar so famous on the Jerusalem nightlife scene that all you need to see is a photo of the sign outside, HaTaklit (The Record) is a destination for tourists, expats and locals looking for a chill yet hip atmosphere to pair with their drinking.

The bar starts to fill up starting around 8 pm, but there’s no harm in getting there a little earlier to maximize the 2 for 1 happy hour and listen to whatever music the bartender is in the mood for that day.

As the night wears on, the hangout often turns into a party, whether it’s impromptu or an already-scheduled special event like an 80’s party or karaoke night. If you’re not in the mood to party, you don’t have to go far to find a quiet drinking corner. Taklit has plenty of outdoor seating and runs the divey Hakasseta right next door. It’s also a popular spot to watch the football (soccer) throughout the week.

Dance Bars

Toy Bar/Oliver Twist


In a sense, these are 2 sides of the same coin – mainstream dance bars that cater to tourist, expat and student party crowd.

Toy Bar is a 3-floor, best of both worlds affair, with the top 2 floors dedicated to bar-lovers looking for an air of fun and music being played at a reasonable volume and the basement catering to the dancers in search of a club-like atmosphere.

Meanwhile, Oliver Twist is more or less a never-ending student party with DJ’s, loud dance music and multiple dance floors. Europeans will feel especially nostalgic for their Erasmus days.


A Jerusalem nightlife institution, Sira Pub is a charmingly grimy dance bar that wouldn’t be out of place in Tel Aviv or Berlin, except for its relatively small size.

Word to the wise, don’t bother going to Sira after 11 unless you’re in the mood to party in close quarters or sit outside. The Friday night crowd typically packs the bar and the dance floor while DJ’s spin hip hop, house, techno, funk, dub step or whatever the flavor of the week is.

Live Music

Even Juke


The lively Even Juke is a recent addition to downtown Jerusalem’s collection of live music venues. The standing-room-only music club, right next to Mike’s Place at Jaffa and Rivlin Street, brings in rock-oriented acts from all over the country. It’s a nice change of pace from the mainly seating-oriented venues around town.

Note: Even Juke has temporarily halted live music shows.

Nightlife Streets


Running parallel to Jaffa Street on the way to the Old City, you could also call Shushan Street hipster central. If somebody has a skinny jeans, an ironic shirt and/or a beard, chances are they’ll be there.

The crown jewel of the street is Ha-Mazkeka, a music venue that hosts local bands and DJ’s playing anything from techno, experimental and rock to funk and Jerusalem-born hip hop.

Best thing is – entrance is free!


For about as far back as anybody can remember, Rivlin Street has been the center of the Jerusalem bar scene, especially on Friday night when it’s the locale of choice for the younger Israeli crowd. The alley is typically packed to the gills with people sitting outside, snacking, drinking and smoking shisha.

Ben Shetach

Just around the corner from Rivlin, the bars on Ben Shetach Street skew a bit older, one might even say “sophisticated,” attracting people looking to grab some food and drinks.

On Friday night, Jabotinsky, Tel Aviv Bar and Gent Bistro are open until 2-3 am.

Gay Nightlife

Video Pub

You can’t have a nightlife guide without Jerusalem’s only gay bar. You can definitely chill on some drinks early on, but the place quickly turns into a party, especially Friday night.

While it definitely caters to the gay community, no need to fear if you’re not. The atmosphere is all-inclusive, everybody is friendly and it’s always a lot of fun