Originally published on PlanetOut.com
Name: Elad 'Ogden' Gur-Arie
Profession: Freight Forwarder
City/town: Tel Aviv, Israel
Relationship status: Single
What was the last vacation you took? Where did you go? Where do you most want to go?
March 2009. I went to China with 2 close friends, one of them is Israel's most famous Drag Queen (Ziona Patrios). Was SOOOOO funny. Well, I like the USA a lot. It feels like 'being home' when I am there, though I never lived there just visited (more than 10 times already).
Are any famous people from your town?
It's Tel Aviv, everyone who is famous in Israel came from Tel Aviv or lived there for some part of its life.
What are some of the things you love most about your town?
Tel Aviv is a country within a country. It has its own way of life. It's a very liberal city - that welcomes everyone, no matter who or what you are. You always feel welcomed. The city hugs the gay community for years now, and we feel we get or 'say' there, without being told 'well, it's only because you're gay'... You can walk around the street of central Tel Aviv holding your boyfriend's hand, and feel so good about doing that. No one is making a face about it. Also the fact that Tel Aviv is a 24/7 city makes life so much easier there.
Elad, If someone came to your town for just four hours, what is the one thing he should do?
Do the center... Rotchild Avenue, sit in a Caf?. See the White City (an old area that has been declared by UNESCO as a place of heritage), go to the beach (10 minutes walk) and just absorb a scence of a combination of a Middle-Eastern Western atmosphere.
What are some great restaurants for a night out with gay friends?
Tel Aviv offers all types of food. From fast food to gormet food. You will find it all. I would recomend for gays to go to Mozes (Rotchild Avenue @ Yavne Street) or Benedict Breakfast Restaurant (Rotchild Avenue @ Alenby Street) - good food, good prices, good people... and they are so gay friendly!!!
What are some great restaurants for a romantic gay date?
Well, there are no gay restaurants... most gays date at any caf? there is (and there are plenty), but I am not quite sure they will feel comfortable to hold hands etc.
What are your favorite gay bars and/or dance clubs?
Well, the most famous place for gays who are looking to see everyone, along with a nice drink or something to chew is the EVITA which should be re-opened by end of June 2009. It's located on 31 Yavne Street, between Rothcild Avenue and Yehuda Halevi Street. Offers varity of evening, starting from Eurovision Nights (Every Sunday) to pop, electro nights with Pick Up atmosphere.
Another good option is the new, just opened 'Tommy Bar', on Yegea Kapaim Street, which offers also verity of themes including one special - Drag Show - every Tuesday by the famous Holy Wigs group (Ziona Patriot, Diva D, Kiara Duple, Talula Bonet and Galina Port-Du-Bra). In the summer, we also have a nice 'on the beach' pub called Chich Beach, which is under the hotels at Gordon Beach. One more that is brand new is The Ashmoret Pub - which offers Hebrew music nights on Sunday and oldies on Tuesday (Rotchild Avenue, between Alenby Street and Nahaly Binyamin Street). As for clubs? WOW - the gay tourist will have plenty of them.... here we go!!!!!
• PopRing - Tel Aviv's (and Israel's) longest running gay party line! Celebrating 8 years of fun this June. Being held every 2nd Thursday at the Theatre Club (10 Jersualem Blvd., Jaffa). Featuring pop and dance hits, along with occasional shows and lots of fun. Ages 18 and up. You can check out future parties (Hebrew and English) along with past parties' pictures on www.popring.co.il
•BigBoys - PopRing's bigger brother. Celebrating 6 years this June. Being held once a month (and twice a month this summer) at the Theatre Club (10 Jerusalem Blvd., Jaffa). Featureing pop, dance and 90's hits. Happy hour 2am-3am. Ages 28 and up (and you can bring your boyfriend, if he's 22yo and up). FUN FUN FUN.
• 1984/1994 - A new growing line, featuring 80's nights, usually on Wednesday and 1994 party (90's) once a month on Friday, usually at the Barzilay Club (Harechev Street).
• Glam-Au-Rama - le bizzare nuit :-) New line at the Culture Club (Ha'arba'a Street, near the Cinemteque) - featuring all time hits from the 80's, 90's 2000's and more... with small hilarious shows in between... ages 18 and up.
• Pag - usaually on Thursday's at the BLOCK. Fun for the Electro lovers!!
• Lima Lima - every Monday, on Lilinblum Street. Hip-Hop Music
What are your favorite gay parties or events in your town, if any? What is the crowd or scene like at those places?
Well, I'd have to say PopRing/BigBoys, but that is also the party I grew with, and now I am a member of the production team. The crowd if basically... everyone... Well since the music if fun, and everyone will find his favorite sone/track played... you can see from young teens, just coming out of the closet to people of the good age dancing one next to another... It's a fun party to be at and have fun with your friends... we have theme parties (party in red, party in black&white, candy party and all kind of funny themes to get the people to feel it's more than just a party).
Where is the best public place for a gay person to make out there (or isn't there one)?
Emmmm, I'd have to say... Shenkin Street, though there are no distinct street for gays... the gay are all around central Tel Aviv, but I do not recall seing gay couple making out somewhere... well maybe Hilton Beach during the summer, which is known as the Gay Beach in Tel aviv....
What is the gay community like there? Do you consider yourself to be part of any particular "scene"?
The "Scene" is just like any other scene... We are the 'scene' where gays from all over Israel come to, and that is a big amount of gays, but again, just like any other city.. everybody known everybody, and your new date was with at least 1 or 2 poeple you know... our own version of Queer as Folk, Israeli style...
Where do you go for other forms of entertainment -- live theater, concerts, movies, art exhibits? Are there any local gay performance groups, bands, or artists that you're a fan of?
I go to the movies with friends, hang out with them, not just to the gay places. We have some cultural activity for gays and by gays, but nothing 'solid'. The teenage group has their own established theatre group, which already had two or three productions performed.
If you had gay friends visiting from out of town for the first time, what are some "must-dos" you'd recommend?
Eurovision nights at the Evita, Drag Show night at the Tommy, PopRing or BigBoys, Hilton Beach (if they are in the Summer).
Elad, Is there a local cocktail that's popular in your town?
Vodka/Red-Bull is a very popular combination at the parties... but I drink Vodka/Apple Schnapps/Figeling cocktail which really works during parties.
Where do the hot boys in your town tend to hang out?
Gym!!!!! Just kidding... or not. On every pub or party you will find them... and of course... Hilton Beach, especially during Saturdays.
What bar has the cutest/hottest bartenders?
Evita (only because my best friend 'B' works there as bartender and he is one of the hottest men in Tel Aviv)
Do gay men and lesbians hang out together in your town or is that just unheard of?
We hang out in the same city if that's what you mean. Not in the same places...
Do you have a hometown crush? If so, describe (but don't name names).
Every time I see a hot men I get a crush... got used to it, and so will you, if you come and visit!!!