Anyone who’s flown to Tel Aviv a lot or who lives here can certainly remember the terrorist attack on the Apropo Café. In 1997, a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance to the coffee shop, killing three young women. I remember it clearly as 1997 is the year I emigrated to Israel. The white Bauhaus-style building had various different operators for a while after that. Then it remained empty for many years.
Tel Aviv’s laid-back version of Soho House
Recently, Beit Hanna opened in the beautiful historical building on the corner of Ben Gurion Boulevard. The community center is being proclaimed as Tel Aviv’s version of Soho House. Soho House with a twist however, the casual version. Anyone can become a member, without recommendations and elitist screenings.
The focus of Beit Hanna is community, networking and a healthy lifestyle. Cultural events are open to non-member neighbors. The program is lavish and offers lectures as well as meditation, movies and music jams. An asset to the residential neighborhood and to Tel Aviv in general. Beit Hanna has rapidly made a name for itself as a wellness spot for lovers of yoga and Pilates. There are also open-air courses on the spacious wooden deck in the front yard.
Freshly baked cookies in Eats Cafeteria
Since nothing goes down without good food, the highlight at Beit Hanna is the Eats Cafeteria. You can sit here between palm trees at a wooden table in the garden with your laptop and write or read the newspaper with a strong coffee and freshly baked pastries. Eats is also great for a quick lunch or to meet with friends on Shabbat.
Behind the concept of the eatery are Michal Epstein, known to the Israeli audience for her appearance in the cooking contest Masterchef, and entrepreneur Jonathan Koevary, ex-partner at Loveat coffee chain. Epstein, who created the menu, said it’s inspired by Ottolenghi’s delicatessens. Yotam Ottolenghi is a British-Israeli chef and restaurant owner. He became known for his cookbooks and deli-restaurants. Eats is simply furnished. You get coffee, a sandwich or quiche directly at the bar counter. I find the relaxed atmosphere perfect as a retreat from the hustle and bustle of central Tel Aviv.
Beit Hanna & Eats Cafeteria, Ben Gurion Boulevard 75, Tel Aviv
translation: Catherine Bradshaw