Tag Archive 'Yehuda Halevi'

Jul 19 2009

The Penguin, underground dance bar, Yehuda Halevi 43

Published by under Underground clubs

After The Breakfast Club, The Cat and Dog, The Mental and a few other basement clubs that opened around town in recent years, I didn’t think another similar place would impress me. But The Penguin did. It’s a great combination of all of its predecessors, with a different feel and a different vibe. The owners relay the message that the décor should still be well-invested, even though you won’t see much from the moment you arrive (due to smoke, alcohol, etc.).

The entrance does not bode well, easily making into the top three “Places with the Strangest Entrance in the City” list. There’s a courtyard of an old building on Yehuda Halevi Street and a brown door that makes it look like you’re entering an illegal casino or an abandoned studio apartment, any which way, it arouses doubts regarding the place, but that quickly changes. It’s like you’ve entered through a magic door. You go downstairs, getting used to the lights and décor. There’s a well-designed bar, wooden floor, a nice dance floor, couches in the corners and more. It’s a combination of dark underground and a quality lounge.

The place has two major unique qualities. The first is low-key and special: In the center is a private bar and it’s unclear exactly who gets in and how. It’s like an aquarium that you can look into, and gives the impression that if you’re inside you’re well connected and cooooooool! The second is the place’s crown jewel – two small, comfortable booths, which you can lock from the inside. In them are places to sit, as well as a shiny tray. These booths give revelers the chance to spend time alone, or with someone, or to reinvigorate themselves. Because of these “White Booths”, the lines for the bathroom are shorter, which is great. It’s cool. There’s no shame. The place’s catch phrase is “People do everything here and don’t hide it.”

The Penguin has honed a unique Tel Aviv phenomenon. If you’re there at 1 or 2 A.M. and it’s still empty, you may ask yourself whether you’ve missed out on the action or if it has yet to start. And then you remember that this is Tel Aviv, and that back in the day The Breakfast Club only started showing signs of life (life might not be the right term…) at 4 A.M. And you realize that the night is young. It’s unbelievable. What the hell? No one in this city works!

The sound is great, you can hear and feel each beat in all of your organs. The crowd was great – kudos to the bouncers. The drinks flowed, the music only got better, people started dancing and it got crowded, and the night seemed promising…
I’d recommend going there on Wednesdays for the amazing electro and house parties. The rest of the week is good too. Check the nightlife sites to see who’s DJing. And clear your schedule for the following morning, because there’ll be another black hole in Tel Aviv. It might be more stylized, but at the end of the day it’s blacker than black…

The Penguin Tel Aviv
Yehuda Halevi 43

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