Friday, July 22, 2011

Why Guinness always tastes better in Tel Aviv

How far would you go for a good pint of Guinness? A 5 minute drive? 20 minutes? How about two and a half hours?

There is a quaint little pub in the heart of Tel Aviv, neatly tucked away opposite the Dan Hotel, close to the American Embassy, and just a stone's throw away from the Mediterranean. One would think that I could find something a little closer to the middle of the desert, where I live. And yes, Guinness has been spotted in Beer Sheva, the sleepy southern cow town, known as the "Capital of the Negev". And yes, I have even tasted a pint or two there. But no, it cannot come anywhere close to a pint of Guinness at Molly Blooms.

So, what makes Molly special, so much so that she continually seduces me into making the long two and a half hour sojourn up into her arms from the desert? Is it the lure of the sea; the interesting assortment of people wandering in from Hayarkon Street; the unique  atmosphere created by parts shipped in from the mother country; the waitress who grows increasingly stunning as I work my way through the pints? Or is it the taste of a skillfully pulled pint, running through pipes religiously prepared for its journey.

I was once told, during my christening period into the wonders of Guinness when travelling through Ireland, that the taste could be significantly different from pub to pub – all depending on how it is drawn. It was there that I joined the quest for the perfect pint. Some feel that this quest is quite similar to the search for the perfect woman. Yet most, in their later years, seem quite content to sit back and drink their pints and watch their women, for the Irish know that both together are the closest to heaven that they will ever get – at least in this world.

A friend of mine first discovered Molly Blooms, when it was just opening, many years ago. He lives only a short jaunt away, but he convinced me to make the journey up to try out this new pub, and the rest – as they say – is history. Since then, this has become our "office" and we meet there whenever I can make it up from the desert. Ronald, my friend who will remain nameless, always waits to watch me take that first sip of Guinness. He says that my whole countenance changes. A sense of tranquility sets over me and I become a new person, or a better part of my old self. I discovered long ago that  Guinness is much more than just a beer: "mother's milk", I like to call it. Others may scoff at this. But I know what I know. My friend, however, can neither agree nor disagree, as he doesn't drink Guinness, even though he is originally from London. But at least he has left his distressing Carlsberg habit behind, now choosing a darker blend, even though it may only be Tuborg. But there is hope for him yet.

R, as I will call him, becomes increasingly insightful as he drinks.  I become amazingly brilliant, but then I am the one drinking the Guinness. We have come up with plans to become rich and famous, write the great American novel, solve the problems of the Middle East, know what it is that women really want … to have all these revelations of genius evaporate away on the train ride home. We keep promising ourselves that next time we will write it down. But we never do.

So yes, Guinness always tastes better in Tel Aviv. You know the feeling, where the best of friends meet, to share that special place and that special moment – and all seems well with the world.


  1. Only a Canadian or an ex shoe salesman could wax so lyrical about the ersatz kitsch that passes for a pub on hayarkon. But I will concede that the craik can be good and the lighting is so poor that even the least attractive scrubbers can look seductive.

    I'll drink Guinness with you any time - as long as you're paying.

  2. Well, I'll pay for the first round, at least.

  3. @David, is Guinness only available in US or do they export it also in Asia? I have drunk a bottle of it and its more addictive than the other beer.

    Drei~barco scrubs

  4. Well, Guinness originates in Ireland, but can be found the world over. It's not the same drinking it from a bottle, though. I need my Guinness drawn directly from the keg. Pubs offering a good pint of Guinness on tap are not always easy to find in this part of the world.