Jaffa’s ancient labyrinthine backstreets hold all sorts of magic at night; wend this way and that and you’ll hit upon offbeat places to eat, drink and socialise. Shaffa is a favourite, in the grid of lanes beside the market, for its easygoing, thrown-together vintage vibe, serving up simple food on granny crocks, cocktails with handfuls of herbs, and live music now and then.
Shaffa Bar, 2 Nakhman St, Jaffa; +972 50 214 1444
Every creative in Tel Aviv will tell you this is the city’s coolest hangout, so you might wonder at first if you’ve got the right place – shabby as it is, tables spilling messily onto Har Sinai, opposite the Great Synagogue. Port Sa’id is cool in a way that is uniquely Tel Aviv –understated, rough around the concrete edges. Dressed-down locals drink bottles of Goldstar, outside or in the dark interior lined with shelves of vintage vinyl. The tiny kitchen sends out stripped-back street food – whole eggs, whole artichoke, whole onion – in paper bags or with lashings of labneh, from the menu devised by Eyal Shani, another surprise.
Port Sa’id, Har Sinai 5; @port_said
This retro hideaway is hardly a secret, as a World’s 50 Best winner – but it feels like one, sequestered as it is inside the risibly unlovely three-star Imperial Hotel. There’s a Twenties-Tiki vibe that’s typically Tel Aviv-quirky, recalling nights of decadence and days of insouciant idling with a cocktail list inspired by the Grand Tour – a drink for each destination, finely crafted by mixologists who know their stuff and dress like dandies, and will keep mixing as long as their customers are still awake at the bar.
Imperial Craft, 66 HaYarkon Street; imperialtlv.com (open 6pm – last customer; over-25s only)