The south of Tel-Aviv used to be a pretty bad area. Personal safety in most of Israel and definitely in Tel-Aviv is of the best in the world, but some neighborhoods, though not dangerous per se, were just pretty uncomfortable to walk around. However, in the recent years, as Tel-Aviv is getting more and more expensive, young people – students and artists – are starting to move into these once hardcore areas, and are bringing a breath of fresh air, in the form of some worthy hangout places.
Located in the Levontine area, now a bustling neighborhood with a hipster vibe, this cafe is a mixture of a slightly rougher ambiance and an elegant one. It has a big wooden bar, an industrial look with old school Tel-Avivian floors, bare pipes and walls and a big sitting area out front. WayCup offers a great yummy pastries selection, as well as some light savory snacks. They roast their own coffee, and have a very good brews. It is really laptop friendly, and is a great laid back place if you would like to spend there a couple of hours. However, note that it is closed on Saturdays.
Located not too far from WayCup, on the crossroads of Allenby and Levontine, Beta and Grega is a known hipster establishment. With a big bar, and some cozy seating inside, and a bigger sitting area, surrounded by a small jungal outside, this place is a great introduction to the underground Tel-Avivian culture. Unlike the previous place, Beta and Grega offers some real (good) food, and not just coffee and pastries. Open till midnight daily (except for Friday when it closes earlier, and Saturday, when it’s closed all day long), Beta and Grega transforms to a bar, and serves alcohol as well.
Tony & Esther can be found in the upcoming area of the Levinsky Market, which is definitely a place you would want to visit during your stay in Tel-Aviv. This cafe has a homey eclectic vibe to it, the indoor decor is vintage / flea market inspired, which gives the place a cozy atmosphere. There are also quite a lot of tables outdoors, as well as on the other side of the outside seating. With good coffee, food, pastries (both vegan friendly) and alcohol served, this is one of the cooler places for a hangout. Note that at times (Fridays especially) the place is packed and you might have to wait for a table. Open daily till midnight (Friday only till 6pm).
Out of all the southern neighborhoods, Florentine, was the first to become home for the young crowd, students, artist etc. And for years it has also the home of the Casbah. Florentine was voted as one of the 10 most hipster neighborhoods in the world by timeout magazine, and you will understand why when you visit the Casbah. This place has the most enchanting garden, its colorful and homey, often displays art work by young artists in their indoor space. The Casbah is a hangout place for the neighbors, but is welcoming to anyone. It’s a good place to work from, grab a coffee, have breakfast, lunch or dinner, and even functions as a proper bar (it’s open till 2am). Go and take in some relaxing vibes!
Getzel lies in Shapira, one of the last neighborhoods in Tel-Aviv that are not yet entirely gentrified. Most of the population is from low SAS, and a lot of refugees reside there. However, in the last couple of years it is starting to attract a different crowd, and Getzel is definitely the place to visit if you happen to be in the area. It has a cute colorful decor, a communal table and a few outside seating options. The place is very vegan friendly (try the eggplant Shakshuka!). While visiting Getzel (and Shapira) you will probably encounter a few interesting things, like cars parked on rooftops 😉 It’s definitely an experience.