The Shuk at Night

The shuk in Jerusalem is an outdoor, grocery store type of market by day. but at night, that’s when the real scene picks up. No longer are there people cutting up fish or selling fruits and vegetables. No, the main stores close and shuk2everything changes. On the closed, shuttered gates you’ll see what with a quick glance looks like graffiti but then you realize is something beautiful and amazing. Essentially, the artists Solomon started by painting one of the gates in the shuk, and his work and popularity grew and grew. He now has painted a ton there, as well as other places (when I traveled to Chicago I saw a wall that he painted). He occasionally does designs, but more often than not he paints people. I went on a tour of his paintings once, and I heard fascinating stories along the way. He paints figure with significance, whether it’s the grandfather of one of the shopkeepers, the original owner of the store, or an Arab who saved some Jews. He’s all about meaning and significance, and he’s in high demand by the shopkeepers to work on their storefronts. Overall, his artwork has made this place a popular spot with a bit of a hipster feel.

But that’s not all that’s happening in the shuk after hours. The place turns into a totally different type of place! The restaurants are booming, playing fun music and entertaining guests. And the bars set up shop outside of their storefronts too. There are tables put out so that additional people can sit. Try walking through on a Thursday night (the US equivalent of a Saturday night) and it’ll take you forever because of how many people are out and how narrow the space is to walk. But along the way you’ll get quite a show. You’ll see people eating, laughing, drinking, smoking and having a good time. You’ll see friends gathering, parties happening, and dates meeting up.

Once you pick your place, sit back and enjoy. You can start with a place like Jahnun Bar or Fish n Chips, but there are also other options like Sushi Rehavia and Berlina. Once you’ve gotten a taste for the shuk (sorry, I couldn’t shuk1resist!) and are feeling kinda full, venture on over to one of the many bars in the area. Honestly, I can’t remember the names of even half of them. But you can check out Beer Bazaar, an American favorite. They of course serve some food too, but they’re especially known for their huge variety of beers. And Tap n Tail is a cute little place secluded from the main hustle and bustle of the shuk, where you can sit in a bit of a quieter place while enjoying your party’s company and some nice drinks. Sometimes they’ll bring you a complimentary chaser. But they’re also good at their regular cocktails. I personally prefer something sweet, but you can definitely ask them for recommendations.

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