Bellboy and Butler – 2 Concepts 1 Site, both unforgettable
I was done with the cold weather in Berlin in March. The Winter seemed darker and longer this year. Looking for a bit sunshine paired with fine drinking, I found a cheap ticket to Tel Aviv. But this was the inexpensive part of this adventure. Tel Aviv is known as the start-up mecca of Israel. The growing economy of the country also increases the cost of living and thus makes the city one of the most expensive ones in the world. Also, the cocktails are pricey and to give the guests the opportunity to have more than one drink, Happy Hour is an important part of the concepts. Happy Hour does not have positive connotations for me, but my purse took a little less punishment as a result.
Tel Aviv is also known as the White City. This refers to the world’s largest collection of International or Bauhaus style buildings, and the simple reason that most buildings are white. Tel Aviv is a relatively new city, having been founded in 1909. An outstanding architectural ensemble of the Modern Movement has been created with over 4.000 white houses located in the city centre. In 2003, Tel Aviv was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. I was impressed by the innovative town-planning ideas and how local cultural traditions have been taken into account.
Travelling is an important part of my life and what I love the most about my bar adventures is that there is always a special relationship between a city and its bars. They serve as important cultural hubs and are the main sights of my trips and they always reflect the spirit and lifestyle of the whole city. Tel Aviv boasts a number of fantastic bars.
Wouldn’t you like to start your night in an extraordinary cocktail bar in Tel Aviv? If you have ever met Ariel Leizgold before, you can be sure to give your senses a surreal and sophisticated experience.
Ariel Leizgold is the most awarded bartender in Israel’s history. He opened Tel Aviv’s first ever cocktail bar and since then he’s launched numerous award winning bars and restaurants in Israel and around the world. In 2011 Leizgold had the honour of being inducted into the list of the 50 most influential people in Israel’s hospitality industry and in 2012 he got the pleasure of authoring the country’s leading bartending course and training book. In 2015 he became World Class country winner. I met him last year in Istanbul and it was pretty clear to me that I had to visit his bar(s). He is a professional experienced bartender driven by passion and hospitality. Let’s have a look behind the curtains of Bellboy, where Ariel and this barteam let the magic happen.
What awaits you is a quirky 1920s style boutique bar featuring out of the ordinary cocktail creations. It is a place to get lost, to relax, to have fun.
Bellboy, located on the ground floor of the Hotel B Berdichevsky, is dimly lit with a small bar station, cozy velvety seating areas and a playful decoration in a 1920s style. It is like entering another world somewhere faraway in history, the era of speakeasies, something surreal and very seductive. The ears are treated well by background swing jazz music. Don’t miss the bathroom and the smoking area, even if you don’t need to go. I was blown away by the atmosphere and the hospitable vibe of the staff. Fortunately I found a free seat at the small bar counter where the magic happens. All the drinks are prepared in a theatrical manner and served in extravagant vessels.
The cocktail menu features unconventional combinations using a wide range of homemade essences and fresh ingredients. Attention is on detail and they spend hours on preparation of the syrups, tinctures, purees, powders and infusions. The drinks are inspired by key elements from cooking, pastry and molecular cuisine and the decoration is quirky and fun. You really get individual storytelling drinks.
By using obscure and unusual ingredients combined with presentation, you get a unique experience that appeals visually and pleases the taste buds.
The menu lists innovative libations. I opted for Rings a Bell, a fruity, fresh and elegant aperitif style cocktail. Gin, Sauvignon Blanc, Campari, lychee liqueur, grapefruit, cocoa balsamic, passion fruit and sichuan chocolate played well together, sweet yet well balanced with a delicious salty chocolate rim. For me, the best place is at the bar, where I can watch what is happening and especially at Bellboy there is a lot to see: tiny bottles, fresh herbs and flowers, a pot of melted chocolate. Some drinks come in a miniature bathtub with a rubber duck, or in a real conch shell. Suddenly, the sound of a horn woke me up from my thoughts. A vintage baby carriage was wheeled through the bar from time to time to offer shots to the guests. They are served in oyster shells, pre-batched and cooled within the stroller. Thank god they are low-alcohol, so it is more about fun and I was able to order another drink.
Josephine’s Pet fitted my cognacilicious mood perfectly. The cognac had been infused with blue cheese and the lovely concoction was subtly balanced with Bellboy citrus honey, Mandarine Napoleon, a cognac liqueur, and Lime. Lovely! Tel Aviv is renowned for its cuisine, to complete the whole experience you will find a variety of small dishes that make the night unforgettable.
And if you think now, that’s it, then you are so wrong. Bellboy is magical and even more magic happens behind a secret door. Butler, a secret room hidden within Bellboy features Old times’ cocktails.
There is a magic door taking you back to the 19th century right into a speakeasy lounge. Butler is hidden within the Bellboy bar, intimate, cosy only 10 seats so the bartender’s full attention is focussed on your needs, just like a Butler.
No brands, only uniformly labelled bottles, snakes and other curiosities preserved in fluid rest on the shelves. The dark wallpaper with jungle motives provides a homey atmosphere. A cup of punch on arrival and then you can choose one of the classics and forgotten drinks. They all come straight out of the Hugo Ensslin’s Recipes for Mixed Drinks, Harry Johnson’s Bartender’s Manual, Jerry Thomas’s How to Mix Drinks or Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book. This is definitely a drinking journey back in time and a place to spend a secret and quiet night.
To bring this adventure to a close I have to add that having Brunch at Bellboy is just magical too and the most beautiful part is that you can start drinking around noon. Apart from the delicious food that is a creative twist on traditional breakfast, they serve light cocktails. I had a Silk Trail: Gin, Oolong tea, Campari infusion, geranium syrup, rose syrup, pine nut syrup, Yuzu juice, Lime, sweet Muscat wine and Prosecco. Cheers, and do not feed the hippos!
Brunch at Bellboy, a perfect reason to start drinking early.
Thank you, Ariel, for this wonderful experience and I am looking forward to your next projects. There is more coming soon from this genius and charming person.
Pictures were provided by © Ariel Leizgold