Needless to say, Tel Aviv is not the Mission. In fact, from what I could tell no part of the country is even remotely hipster. No fixies, no ironic mustaches, and no jorts sans me and my SF cohort. This is a place where there's no distinction between vintage and thrift in fashion; if it's new it's good, if it's old it's bad. Up until a couple of months ago, there was even a customs ban on the iPad. And you DON'T want to fuck with Israeli customs when your Apple products are on the line.
One of our Israeli friends, Liat, is a self proclaimed 'club girl'. She prefers the kind of scene we had experienced just the night before at the Port district of Tel Aviv (imagine the Marina club scene to the seventh power of Mediterranean flavored douchedom.) At the Port I had blown through almost 180 scheckles on cabs and cover alone. YES, THAT'S A REAL KIND OF MONEY.
I was fed up with the techno laced fist-pumping scene and Liat knew it. So on the second night of our doomed three day quest to find a karaoke bar in a karaoke-less country, Liat met us at a place loosely translated as “The Third Ear” where rumors of karaoke had been whispered from six degrees of Hebrew separation. When she came down the stairs to greet us she had a look of disgust and warned us profusely as to how awful it was and just how much we would hate it inside.
Since this supposed 'karaoke bar' was located above what looked like a medium sized record store; too disorganized for a Barnes & Noble yet too sterile for Amoeba, I was understandably skeptical. But we had just spent 45 minutes walking here, so ignoring Liat's prophecies we climbed the stairs to investigate; the walls slowly beginning to take on the appearance of a stickered and graffiti'd MIssion bathroom. As we neared the top I heard the familiar dying cat calls of amateur night at the the Mint, but quickly discovered that it was actually the sound of a local three piece rock band playing for a surprisingly well sized crowd. For the first time in Israel, I was in love with a bar. The low lighting; the selection of whiskey and stout on tap; the first Israelis I had seen in two weeks with even half a sense of style. It was just like an SF dive except you could still smoke inside (RIP Amber) and between the bands the jukebox had a playlist that ranged from the White Stripes to the Beach Boys.
Settling in with our drinks, I pointed out a pair of girls to Liat. One was what most Americans would identify as a hipster with a capital H. Horizontal striped dress, the bangs, exaggerated red lip stick. I explained to Liat that these girls were what we would call “hipster” in America, and asked her if they had a word for them here. She looked at the girls, then turned to me with disappointment and very matter of factly said one word: “Trashy.”