Travel: The Happy Hour

2022, Apr 17    

With frequent travel to different countries comes (for most) the desire to enjoy drinks at a local bar to help pass the time / take your mind off the work at hand. In some countries this can be a bar for locals where its cheap drinks at the expense of not quite fitting in, while in others it can be enjoying the bar in the hotel (albeit at a higher-than-average price). This tale is one of a trip to Israel spanning a few weeks and getting to know the (very friendly) hotel staff.

I'd been to Israel multiple times (specifically Tel Aviv) and had always enjoyed my time there, from the friendly people to the great food places to enjoy in an evening. During one of my longer stays (where I wouldn't fly home for the weekends) I had settled on a small 'boutique' hotel close to the office I was working at. Amongst the many charms/qualities it had (taking aside the air conditioned rooms and amazing breakfasts) was that of the hotel bar.

In particular, this bar ran a happy hour to help bring in visitors and keep the locals local, with the offer being a BOGOF special on cocktails. As someone who enjoys a nice cocktail you can see the appeal, especially given Tel Aviv isn't known for being the cheapest. The happy hour would start at 7pm each evening, making for a good schedule of finishing work, finding somewhere to eat, getting changed, then enjoying a drink or two to unwind in the evening.

During the many evenings spent there I had become more familiar with the staff (as they had with me) and enjoyed conversations with them the more my stay progressed. Learning how one of them had lived there his entire life, while the other had moved around a lot and would shortly be leaving the country to study abroad definitely made for more pleasant conversations than just being asked how my day was.

Reaching one of the weekends had left me with a significant dilemma in that I had finished early but the happy hour wouldn't start for a few hours, leaving me with the sobering thought of either paying full price or finding something else to occupy myself with. To avoid any confusion, I enjoyed the bar/lounge of the hotel not just for the alcohol/talking with the staff, but also the black & white movies being shown via a projector (something you don't see every day).

After one of the two bartenders had noticed I was sat without a drink I was asked why I hadn't ordered for my usual. Explaining that I was waiting until the BOGOF period had begun he smiled and chuckled, before politely telling me as far as he was concerned it was always happy hour when I was there, subsequently walking back to the bar to make me my favourite drink.

Many an hour/evening was spent there enjoying the unwind from work while watching the occasional black & white movie and talking to the bar staff about their future plans. As one might expect I was slightly hungover the next day, but thankfully my room was close enough to the bar for it not to matter.

To me, it shows how friendly staff (and being friendly to them) is the approach that should always be taken. I enjoyed my stay at that hotel each time and returned there multiple times as the year progressed. Finding a hotel that you can enjoy because it feels like you are a local is an undervalued travel perk in my mind.

To the bar staff at the hotel, thank you for a great time and making a long trip easier. To the bartender who left for Germany to continue their studies, I hope it's going great for you. To the lady in the kitchen cooking the breakfast each day, your food was delicious.