A drag queen show in Israel! Tel Aviv gay clubs, LGBT nightlife.

Tel Aviv drag queen, Gay Nightlife

Are there drag queens in the Middle East? There certainly are — in Tel Aviv, at least!

I’m endlessly intrigued by how subcultures exist (and even thrive) worldwide, especially in regions where being LGBT is grounds for persecution. In the conservative Middle East, Israel is an anomaly: the ancient land is home to a progressive nightlife. And as you will see, it’s fabulous.

drag queen singing

On our itinerary, the Israel Tourism Board set aside time for us to explore gay clubs (yes, they are that awesome). The parties don’t start pumping until after midnight, and run until dawn or whenever the crowd decides to go home. My favorite was Evita (Yavne St 31, Tel Aviv), the city’s oldest gay bar. On Friday nights, entrance is free and there is a drag queen performance.

israeli man in drag

Everyone was so friendly at Evita; people chatted us up and got us dancing. The drag queens came to greet the regulars and goof around for photos.

tel aviv gay bars, parties

The club has a mixed crowd — gay, straight, lesbian, etc — giving the party a wonderfully inclusive feeling. In fact, this was one of best alternative nights I’ve ever been to, living up to Tokyo, Berlin, LA, NYC, London and more.

jewish club dj

DJ Shlomi Levi has the best name ever. He only broke his stone-faced expression once, to stick out his tongue.

gay club, evita tel aviv

The music was pure fun. Easy, fabulous dance tracks, with some hits and classics thrown in. The club brings in international DJs, like Hansel and Hansel from Switzerland…

jewish gays, hebrew lgbt

… and who can resist a taste of Italia?

big drag queen

I loved watching Osh-Ree work the stage. He’s been a nightlife figure for years, and you can’t help but smile when he sings.

אוויטה בר תל אביב

Between the songs, he and K-Long bantered in Hebrew. But the message is clear: “ohohohoh” and “Funtastico” are universal words in the drag queen lexicon!

man wearing women's heels

Osh-Ree told us the gay scene has come a long way in Israel, ever since it was legalized in 1988. Now, Tel Aviv is one of the world’s top LGBT travel destinations, with dozens of parties and a big annual Pride Parade. With no curfew, Israelis party hard and long. Osh-Ree also said, “In this part of the world, you never know when it might be your last night to dance.”

male stripper, tel aviv

So you might as well enjoy the male stripper and his tiny red undies while you can.

gay men party israel

He brought both men and women onstage, and did racy, “acrobatic maneuvers” with them.

lgbt clubbing, tel aviv rothschild

Drag queens in cities like San Francisco might stun you with their elaborate sets and dance routines. But I had just as much fun at Evita, where it’s all about having a raucous good time.

israel best gay clubs

The duo sings and dances — no need for lip synching or gimmicks.

My filmmakers are cutting together the travel video now, but here’s a preview of the drag queen show on VideofyMe. (Photography by me, Melissa Rundle and Eric Bergemann.)

brown hotel, cocktail bar tel aviv

We checked out several other fabulous places in Tel Aviv. The Brown Hotel is a new, LGBT-friendly boutique hotel with a lobby decorated in retro-kitsch. So much fun, sipping cocktails at the bar and exploring the rooftop .

Ha'oman 17, haoman club

My team and I also went to a massive club, Ha’oman 17 (Abarbanel 88, Tel Aviv-Yafo), which has hosted international DJS like Paul Van Dyk and Tiësto. It’s also the site of Shirazi’s FFF gay parties

pride party, Haoman tel aviv

… and as you can see, they’re extremely popular! I’ve never seen so many men crammed into two floors, moving to the throb of electronic music.

hebrew neon sign

If you’re in the mood for bar-hopping, I suggest wandering around Rothschild Boulevard. This wide, tree-lined street is a center of Tel Aviv nightlife.

israel bartender

I’m a fan of Nanushka (Lilenblum 30, Tel Aviv), a nearby bar and restaurant that serves Georgian food.

nanushka tel aviv

I saw lots of groups of friends eating and laughing. On the walls, there were mannequin heads in military caps.

Nanuchka Restaurant israel

Nanushka has several funky rooms, including an outdoor space strung with Christmas lights.

hebrew postcards, eyepatch kid

I didn’t get a chance to try the Georgian food here (we were already eating so well in Israel!), but it’s a good excuse to come back.

hebrew writing sign

Did you know Tel Aviv has such a colorful gay scene? Are you surprised by the nightlife here?

Coming up — I’ll show you what the drag queen acts are like in Cape Town, South Africa!

SHARE & COMMENT

  • MelissaR

    F-AB-U-L-O-U-S!!!!

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      Muahaha it’s always a fun night when there’s a low bow ;-)

  • Anna

    Rocking it Girl!!! –
    And the feel goes so well.

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      Xox

  • Jose

    Nice you look nice

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      Thank you

  • tonyhost

    What a great initiative here. I’ll look
    around the site and see if I can offer any additional ideas. Thanks.

    Yepi

  • Wider Bridge

    fabulous show

  • FRANCIS

    Awesome blog post! :D

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      Thank you very much.

  • Glamy

    An awesome night!

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      It was, we enjoyed it thoroughly.

  • Rag

    lol ^,..,^

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      Hahah

  • Orange Blue

    LOVE IT

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      Thanks

  • maven

    gracias

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      :)

  • sam

    it’s soooo cool

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      Yes!

  • tonyhost

    The article you have shared here very awesome. I
    really like and appreciated your work. I read deeply your article, the points
    you have mentioned in this article are useful. I must try to follow these
    points and also share others. yepi online

  • Caligo

    It’s really cool but you missed on the actual alternative scene here!
    Granted… It’s not really happening too much lately sadly, but there ARE still some goth and alternative parties, a tattoo convention and alternative people every now and then :)
    That’s the real “underground” part of Israel.