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Hipster Bootleg: Recreating Prohibition At New Tel Aviv Bar

Welcome to Moonshine, where it would all seem illegal if everyone didn't look so cool.

Hipster Bootleg: Recreating Prohibition At New Tel Aviv Bar
Gai Volotzky

TEL AVIV — The partially hidden side door near the Night Kitchen restaurant toilet doesn't offer even the faintest clue about what could be behind it. When you open, there are a few steps and then the faint candle light illuminating the walls, on which a United States flag hangs. The many shelves behind the small corner bar are loaded with jars.

This is Moonshine, the new Tel Aviv cocktail bar opened at the Night Kitchen restaurant. Though it's already been labelled "underground," the dark corner bar is in reality a novelty watering hole that is attempting to recreate the typical clandestine bar experience during American prohibition from 1920 to 1933.

Until recently, the little space was host to a lawyer’s office. But restaurant owners Daniel Baralia and Gilad Heyman decided to turn it into a bar offering visitors an unusual experience. They brought in barman Mor Sikorel and started building a concept. "We had a few ideas, and one of them was a small dark bar with the style of the 1920s in the United States," Sikorel says.

Sikorel infuses fruits and spices in whiskey, rum or vodka, which he uses as the basis of his flavored cocktails. For example, the so-called Woodstock cocktail features rum infused with beetroots and bay leaves.

The atmosphere, the playlist and the menu are also fully American. The menu was developed by Night Kitchen head chef Boaz Peled and Adar Efron, a young chef who grew up in the United States. The menu offers classic American street food such as Sloppy Joes, Buffalo wings, corn dogs and Smores, among many more.

"We may have not been to the U.S. in order to prepare the opening of the bar, but for months we dug around on the Internet, watched many movies and sitcoms in order to really learn about that period and understand its atmosphere," Sikorel says.

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