Most tourists visiting Jerusalem know to make a stop at the Shuk Mahane Yehuda Market during the day – it’s an amazing street market featuring innumerable Spice, Cheese, Fruit and Vegetable Vendors. While this is a worthy tourist attraction, don’t forget to also visit this very same Shuk at night to experience what is now the hippest place for food, drinks and live music in Jerusalem. It is here that one can catch a glimpse of Jerusalem’s young street culture in full force. With over 20 bars and at least 10 restaurants, the “Shuk” is where the nightlife is happening. Some of the restaurants and bars are open as late as 6am! Every night is different in the Shuk: the bars offer a variety of music and drink specials that change each night or even each week. They really mix it up and you never know what you may find - part of the magic and adventure of the Shuk night experience.
One thing that is a constant is that it is always lively and full of young people, especially on Thursday nights which is Israel’s end of the work week and busiest night out on the town. As the spice vendors close and the bars begin to open – you may come across a 9-piece band playing 70’s funk music, or a trio of classical musicians playing some Bach. Some nights there are live DJs spinning wild dance music and whole crowds of people on the streets of the Shuk dancing. Other times there are massive live karaoke sing along parties. There is a lot going on and you want to make sure you get to experience the best the Shuk has to offer at night….that is why I have made you a list of the Top 5 places you don’t want to miss out on.
Jahnun Bar “Jahnun” is a Yemenite Pastry commonly eaten for breakfast on the Shabbat. It is traditionally served with a special tomato dip, a roasted egg and a spicy spread called “Schug”. To understand this pastry one really needs to try it. Jahnun is made of “Melawach” which is a brown soft Yemenite filo-dough like equivalent. The Melawach is wrapped up into a cigar (the Jahnun) then it is baked in the oven. After a night of serious drinking and partying in the shuk a stop for one (or 2) of these Jahnuns really hits the spot. The establishment is not pretty but this dish and some of the other Melawach wrapped creations are definitely worth trying. Kosher (Rabbanut Jerusalem) and located at 30 Ha Egoz Street.
Experience # 2:
Pasta Basta In the summer of 2010 Pasta Basta was opened in the shuk and has never looked back. Probably one of the busiest restaurants in the shuk, this pasta bar allows you to choose from a variety of fresh handmade pastas and various types of sauces and toppings to customize your own personal pasta dish. Add asparagus, sweet potato, smoked salmon or artichoke to name a few. Every dish has fresh Parmesan added. These pasta dishes are made in plain sight (it’s super fun to watch) and they have incredibly friendly and fun staff. The best part is the cost - dishes average between 19-26 NIS. Don’t forget to try the lentil soup which is amazing!! They also offer salads and dessert (Tiramisu is delicious!) To top it all off they serve alcohol (Beer and Wine). Pasta Basta is open 12pm-12am Sunday to Thurs. Located at Tut Alley 8. (Kosher certified: Rabbanut Jerusalem)
Cafelix Roasters One unique place worth checking out during the evening hours is Cafelix Roasters. This café/bar is open all day and night - but at night it turns into an especially rocking music bar. They have happy hour specials from 7pm-9pm where you can get chasers (Cocktails drinks) and Boutique Jerusalem draft beers at 2 for 1 prices. They feature both Israeli beers (Shapira) and some Belgium beers. Every Tuesday night they have a live band which is usually very good. They also have an open microphone every Sunday night. Thursday night, the most popular night out in Israel, there is a live DJ starting at 10pm. On another note - the coffee is worth trying as they roast their own beans and have specialty coffees that are exclusive to their shuk-based establishment. They also have great food – they make their own sandwiches and pastries (on Fridays). (Kosher Rabbanut Jerusalem) They are open from 7am-3am. Located centrally in the closed shuk at the corner of Rechov Eitz Chaim and Agripas (Agripas 8).
Beer Bazaar This restaurant/bar, which opened just 6 months ago, offers beer exclusively from Israel. It stocks the largest collection of Israeli made microbrew beers (100 different types) and has 11 Israeli draft beers on tap. This bar is one of the most popular night attractions in the “Shuk” and well deserves to be placed on this list. It is almost always busy at night and can stay open as late - or as early - as 6am. The Beer Bazaar is a dream for beer lovers, but it’s also just a very good restaurant. The food is Kosher Menhadrin and has unique food offerings that are very “non Israeli” and much more “classic bar American” – Kosher hot dogs, Nachos, and my personal favorite - the pastrami Sandwich with coleslaw inside. You also have to try the chili which is definitely memorable. Located at 3 Eitz Chaim.
The Shuka There are a lot of bars in the shuk. All of them have their own twist. Located at HaEgoz Alley 17, Shuka is known for its atmosphere – a particularly excited and lively vibe. There is a lot of people and action going on at this bar. You often find many people drinking outside of it while listening to heavy electronic music or loud reggae. This bar draws and caters to a younger student hipster type crowd (18-25 yrs old). The drinks are not expensive and are not fancy. It’s open from 8pm till 2:30am. Occasionally the Shuka offers " Lectures on the Bar" where notable Israeli speakers are invited to speak about topics of education, politics and Jewish philosophy. Shuka sells only Israeli, locally made beer - Shapiro, Malka, and Alexander to name a few. They have great happy hour specials - including shots of the anise based drink “Arak” for only a few shekels. Happy hour is 8-9:30pm. The Shuka is open 8-2:30am.
There is so much to see and experience in Jerusalem’s Shuk Machane Yehuda at night. It’s one of the liveliest places to visit in all of Israel. I know you’ll have a great time experiencing all the culture and nightlife it has to offer. Don’t have too much fun!
To read about the best things to do in the shuk during the day, clicke here.