It's the spirit of freedom that makes Tel Aviv nightlife so much fun. If the scene can seem a little stand-offish at first, that's just a reflection of the Israeli character: not warm and fuzzy, and there's no risk of mistaking this place for Disneyland. But when the working day is done, look out, and look below for a list of places where the party doesn't stop. Just don't show up anywhere before midnight.
1. Ha'oman 17
Ha'oman 17 draws the big names from the international DJ circuit like Tal Cohen and David Morales. Figures prominently in Gay Pride week (June) but hosts pulsating, head-spinning, where-am-I? club-a-paloozas throughout the year.
Cover varies; 88 Arbanel St., 011-972-681-3636
Tel Aviv is a gay-friendly city, but that doesn't mean its only gay bar is. In other words, don't expect to sidle up to someone at the bar and easily strike up a conversation as you might in, say, New York. Rather, the thing to do here - whether gay, straight or bi (or lesbian or transgendered life) - is to come on a Sunday night for the Eurovision song contest. You won't believe your ears, let alone your eyes.
No cover; hours are approximately Sun-Thurs 6 p.m. until last customer, Fri-Sat. 5 p.m. until last customer. 31 Yavne St., 011-972-3-566-9559
It's dark, noisy and crowded, and packed with Tel Aviv's beautiful people. Some of whom smoke. But it's worth dealing in order to indulge in the bar menu, which features innovative offerings from the restaurant Abraxas Tzafon, right next door. Nosh on as you enjoy the live music that hums late into the night.
No cover. 40 Lilienblum St.,011-972-3-5104435
Rooftop bar alert! Sublet boasts beautiful people, a beautiful view over the Mediterranean and fabulous music. Don't be intimidated by the entrance, which is through an office building lobby: no one in Israel stands much on ceremony. Once you're chilling on the deck to the pulsing techno beats, you'll let silly formalities fall by the wayside.
No cover, but dress sharp. 6 Koifman St.,011-972-3-5165888
I'd like to say that Nanuchka is equal parts boisterous bar and quality Georgian restaurant, and that's true. But this Tel Aviv staple really is more of a hot mess: leggy blond Russians teetering on bar's edge as they sort of try to dance on top of it; dark, hairy-chested Isra-guidos eyeing them over-solicitously, and pale-faced yours truly ducking for cover, praying to gods of all religions for an earplug dispenser to magically appear. Good times! Seriously.
30 Lilienblum St., 011-972-3-5162254
6. Milk & Breakfast Club
When people say that Tel Aviv is a 24/7 city, perhaps with a slight eye-rolling, they can rest assured that places like this sleazy dive bar-cum-club will back them up, should anyone be holding their assertion to close scrutiny. You want to slam an arak on the rocks with raucous club creatures at 4 a.m. on a Wednesday? You just got home.
No cover; or dress code to speak of. 6 Rothschild Blvd. Phone? I don't think so.
7. Social Club
This place is swanky with a hint of naughty. Nominally a supper club, with a spot-on lower Rothschild Blvd. address, the central feature of Social Club is the bar. But the open area in front is essentially one big bar too, and, danger! The cocktails are highly slammable.
Open from noon til past midnight daily. 45 Rothschild Blvd. 011-972-3-560-1114
Tel Aviv has no shortage of jazz and music clubs, but Barby is one of the best. They favor Israeli acts here, but there are also international names who perform, such as John Cale, founding member of the Velvet Underground.
52 Kibbutz Galuyot St., 011-972-3-5188123
9. Lima Lima
You'd never guess it from the entrance, but Lima Lima is large large. The first room is fairly ordinary but the crowd is gorgeous: imagine all those beach babes whose tans are deeper than yours, in club clothes that are tighter than yours, add some electro-groove and a vodka Red Bull to the mix and you get the idea. The open air terrace in the rear is enclosed in winter. Mondays are gay, other nights mixed.
42 Lilienblum St., tel. 011-972-3-5600924
Perhaps most famous for the PAG party which takes place on Fridays -- it's an electronic dance night that pulls a mainly gay crowd and some of whose creative collaborators have been flagged for Lady Gaga's attention by Perez Hilton. Great club nights every night of the week. The location is a bit off the beaten track, but an easy cab ride from just about anywhere in central Tel Aviv.
Cover varies. 7 Carlebach St.