Gay Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv has recently become a bigger draw for gay tourists. Walking the compact streets after dark is a pleasure in this "city that never sleeps." Most people hang out first with friends, filling the city’s hundreds of restaurants and cafes before heading off to party the night away. Dinner runs quite late, and gay-operated dinning spots, not always easy to find, have flirty waiters. Food choices are internationally diverse, and local chefs typically use fresh, local-source ingredients. Some nightclubs close only "when the last customer leaves" and unlike in Jeruselem, most clubs here stay open on Friday nights, into the Sabbath hours.
Walking around alone or with your partner any hour of the day or night feels perfectly safe. Cruising in Tel Aviv is at least as uncomplicated as in North America, and visitors are generally considered "interesting." Daytime cafes with a gay crowd include the popular Benedict, open 24 hours, serving breakfast all the time, on Ben Yehuda at Jabotinsky, 5 minutes walk from Hilton Beach. The cafe at the Gay and Lesbian Center by Gan Meir park is another friendly place to get oriented.
Most nightclubs are mixed and promoters are always changing venues, but there are regular nightly gay bars, clubs and beach parties too. Still more clubs are considered gay-friendly and/or have special gay events on rotation, especially during holiday weekends and for Pride. Some club nights are 18-19-year-olds, others 21-23+ with some nights restricted to men in their late 20s and older. Tel Aviv has two gay bathhouses, Sauna Paradise, open 365 days a year for 18+ men (women some nights) and the newer Sauna Tel Aviv, with full sauna facilities, plus dark room, DJs and bar.
The gay beach in front of the Hilton Hotel is the terminus of Tel Aviv’s fabulous annual pride march, and site of the huge beach party that follows. Even if you’ve had enough of big-city pride celebrations, this one in early June is a refreshing change, not to be missed. The Gay Center at Meir Gardens hosts Pride Village to kick off the march with shows, music, and other entertainment. All year the center has services, films screenings, lecture, classes of all kinds, and a daytime cafe in the park - a good place to get your bearings over coffee or a snack. Ga'ash Nude Beach, a bit outside the city, is also popular with gay men (see others). The TLV LGBT Film Festival takes place each year in early June. They also present monthly screenings of gay cinema at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque.
There is no lack of debate here about the government's Arab-Israeli policies, or what the ultra-orthodox think about gay lifestyles, but gay gathering places are among the most integrated in this society. Politics aside, strong bonds between people and rugged determination generate a good deal of get-along tolerance, despite all the security precautions, and occasional warfare, in this most Western of Middle East nations.
Ben Gurion Airport, between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, is the country’s main gateway. From the airport it's a 20-minute taxi ride. A train takes about the same amount of time at one tenth the price. Board at the Airport station on Level S of the Landside Building, after buying a ticket at one of the machines. See Israel Railways for schedules. For bus/coach information in English see Bus.co.il.
Walking is a great way to get the lay of the land. For city bus services see the English-language website of Dan Transport. Taxis are abundant and relatively cheap. Bicycle rental stands are all over the city for rides of anywhere from 30 minutes, to day or week-long periods. Israel Railways trains or Egged buses and coaches can, between them, get you around most of the country.
Tel-O-Fun, a bicycle sharing system, has over 12,000 bikes for rent at 200 stations. Daily, weekly and annual subscriptions are available, and as with other such plans in cities around the world, the first 30 minutes of the trip is free. There are over 130 km of bicycle paths in the city.
Every city has its gay thoroughfare, and in Tel Aviv the Dizengoff area of Shenkin Street, and Rothshild Blvd qualifies as the main gay zone. With several gay clubs and bars for spending a raucous night dancing until the sun comes up, it's also a great place for shopping, cafe-sitting, and dining, at any time of day. Gay beaches include the Hilton Hotel beach in the city, and the Ga'ash nude beach a short drive out of town. Plenty of hotel options can be found on Ha'Yarkon Street, along the shore, a short walk or taxi ride to both beach and bars. Old Jaffa is another area for good dining, in nooks among ancient streets.
Currency and Money
The Israeli shekel is the accepted currency. You shouldn’t have trouble finding ATMs downtown.
In daylight or darkness, walk north from Old Jaffa along the idyllic shore of the Mediterranean Sea, detour through Independence Park to the gay beach in front of the Hilton Hotel and you’ll find all kinds of adventure. Check out Squirt.org for more.
Media & resources
Gay Tel Aviv Guide covers the party scene, and lists places and upcoming events of interest.
Pink House not only offers exclusively gay lodging and accommodations, their website also has a weekly rundown of gay bars and party events around town.
Eater.com has a great list of 38 Essential Tel Aviv Restaurants - a kaleidoscope of eateries that include Yemenite, Moroccan, Tunisian, Spanish, and homegrown Israeli food.
Secret Tel Aviv onllne magazine has tips on restaurants, bars/clubs, hotels, tours and local events.
GayWayTLV is a gay owned/operated travel agency for tourism, within and outside Israel; guided tours in Tel Aviv, flights and hotel reservations, in both English and Hebrew. Outstanding Travel offers one, seven, and ten-day gay package trips.
No word yet on 2019 plans, but the Queer Magic Festival of September 2018, at a secret forest playground, offered "a safe space for self acceptance, gender fluidity and free expression of body and soul."
Hotels and Guesthouses
Brown TLV Urban Hotel (Kalisher 25; 972-3-717-0200), 30 guestroom boutique hotel with retro design and stylish ambiance, sundeck, spa, ten minutes walk from the beach, shops and restaurants nearby. Saturday evening gay-friendly SkyLine sunset parties from 6pm.
NYX Tel Aviv (Derech Menachem Begin 48), hip/stylish rooms, kitchenettes; fitness center and spa, restaurant/bar, rooftop terrace, live music and film screenings, event center with LGBT dance parties and Pride functions, barber shop and tattoo artist.
Pink House (Raban Gamliel 17; 972-54-233-0932 ), luxury townhouse and private studio apartments in an all-gay building at city center; plus exclusively gay dormitories designed for younger travelers, Inspired by the inexpensive gay dorms of Berlin and Paris.
CLOSED: Eden House (Yishkan 11; 972 3-545-5900), gay-owned/friendly townhouse apartment rentals at city center, gourmet restaurant.
See these and more lodgings options, with locations and contact information, at our Hotel & Guesthouses listings on our Tel Aviv map and listings pages.
Anna Loulou (Ha'pninim 2, Jaffa), queer-friendly community/ cultural/ arts space, bar, mini-club, laboratory and "home for a binational crowd of Palestinians and Jews who believe music can be a medium for radical social change." In addition to their main website, see their blog and BoilerRoom Resident's Hour sites.
Apolo (Allenby 46), nightly 10pm-4am gay dance club, men-only and bears nights, male strippers, sex shows, porn movies, theme parties, large and busy dark room; 18+ / 19+ / 23+ nights. DJs play a variety of music from Hip-Hop, Divas and Pop to House/Electro Progressive and Middle-Eastern.
Beef men-only parties, various venues include Duplex (Ha'shach 10): monthly Beef Jerky fetish nights, sexy men, kinky stage shows, cruising bar and play area; Beefster Tuesdays each week, beefy guys to young hipsters; and Beef Xtreme, several times each year steamy hot, perverted sexual fetish parties. Check website for dates and venues.
Bootleg Club (King George 48), gay-friendly underground club, dance bar, shows and entertainment.
Breakfast Club / Milk Bar (Rothschild 6, Jaffa), big mainstream techno dance club, gay-friendliest on Thursdays, occasional LGBT events.
Cat & Dog (Carlebach 23), gay-friendly underground-scene nightclub, dancing, semi-dark zone.
Comfort 13 (Kompert 13), Floerntine neighborhood mixed nightclub on two levels, DJs, dancing, shows.
Forever Tel Aviv gay dance parties takes place at Haoman 17, as well as at major circuit festivals around the world.
KU Club Tel Aviv (Shalma 117), high-energy mixed young dance crowd; quality sound and lights, superstar DJs.
Lima Mondays (Lilienblum 42), mixed gay-friendly hip hop/ funk/ soul music Monday nights; old Notorious GAY night site.
Poni at Pasáž (Allenby 94), Tuesday gay house/electro music dance parties, mostly guys, cruisy nooks; took over the old VRS Tuesday slot.
ShKuDa Bar (Yehoshu'a ha-Talmi 12), gay/straight m/w mixed cocktail bar/ nightclub, pizza & sandwiches.
Shpagat Bar (Nahalat Binyamin 43), nightly themes, 23+ mixed crowd gay bar, nightly theme parties, 80's, 90's, Electro, and Pop music, women's nights.
Theater Club | Moadon Ha Teatron (Yerushalayim 10, Jaffa), dance club, occasional 29+ men-only gay dance parties.
WTF at various venues, including Ahad Ha'am 27, and Volt (Carlebach 3, just off Rotschild Blvd) - an LGBT dance party with a European touch of class and Middle Eastern vibe, plus a dark room for the guys to play.
For the occasional PAPA Party World Tour events come to Tel Aviv, see their website link.
CLOSED: Evita (Yavne 31), 18+ gay/ mixed crowd dance club, nightly theme parties, drag shows.
BackRoom (Dizengoff 150), gay sex bar, playroom, maze, dark room, glory holes, video cabins with 150 porn channels, underwear and naked nights; ages 18-24 enter free.
Dungeon Fetish Club (Hasharon 21), fetish/BDSM club, men/women, dancing, performances, St Andrew's Crosses, swing chains, coffin, cages, maze, kink corners; leather/vinyl encouraged.
Paradise Sauna (Allenby 75), daily steam and dry saunas, Jacuzzi, bar; Wednesdays mixed night for bisexual men/women, other nights gay-only.gay. No-towel nights, Friday dancers and DJs.
Sauna Tel Aviv (Carlebach 14), new facility, Jacuzzi, steam and dry saunas, relax lounge, play areas, sling, dark room, DJs, full bar, smoking area.
Sexy Shop (Dizengoff 150), gay erotic videos, books, toys, accessories, backroom cruise area, bar, video cabins, darkroom, maze, g-holes, sling, WiFi; underwear and naked parties.
Benedict (Ben Yehuda 171), open 24 hours, serving classic breakfast and brunch from around the world all the time; fresh-baked bread, fresh-squeezed juices.
Beta & Griga (Levontin 2), Sunday-Friday 24-hour gay-friendly coffeeshop and bar, SE Asian food.
Brasserie M&R (Iben Gvirol 70, Rabin Sq), faded-glory Parisian-style Art Deco 24-hour cafe/bar/restaurant.
CoffeeBar Restaurant (Haruzim 13), American/ Italian bistro, bar, good food served all-day breakfast through late nights; Saturday brunch.
Messa (HaArba'a 19), Provencal-French haute cuisine, bar and snacks.
Orna & Ella (Shenkin 33), home-style food to gourmet cuisine, fresh-baked breads and breakfast pastries
CLOSED: Cordelia (Hazorfim 14, Old Jaffa), high ceilings/arches, indoor garden; celebrity chef's classic French restaurant/bistro/ bar.
See more restaurant suggestions at our Tel Aviv map and listings pages.