Adi only agrees to meet up at local pubs. The rules are clear: never ever a café, a pick up bar or any sort of hip spot with mass appeal. Since most of the pubs in Tel Aviv have moved the fun to the city limits, Adi is left with only a few pubs on the big city's narrow streets. Which is why I knew that there was only one place I could convince Adi to go: Molly Blooms, the first Irish pub in Israel, located on little Mendeli Street, at the corner of HaYarkon.
Adi and I have known each other since childhood, and even then, when we were small, I didn't understand the magnetic pull of the Irish. When the rest of us wanted to watch Grease, Adi insisted on The Commitments. As teenagers, when we all fantasized about an Italian lover, she dreamed of an Irish beau with incomprehensible diction. And even now, when we are excited to see the new romantic comedy, she'd rather watch the Champion's League, accompanied by gallons of beer. All the details surrounding Molly Blooms were in favour: good food, lot's of alcohol, good music that's not too loud, and the most important fact of all – everything there, from the whisky to the smallest pictures on the wall, is all from the great nation of Ireland.
The atmosphere at Molly Bloom's is very fun and welcoming. It's nice to see a place successful for so long in this city, and still remain true to itself. The décor is warm, not succumbing to coolness like every other spot that just opened. There are 29 types of good strong Irish whiskey, some of which are very hard to find in Israel. The graceful lighting doesn't compel you to sit in the dark (which is why I was able to see Adi's nice shirt, which I went to buy for myself the very next day) and you will also find people of all ages, from all walks of life, who are brought together by one common denominator: love of a place that does your heart good.
Like every Monday (and Wednesday), an Irish band played rich and lively music. Adi sat down and ordered the national Irish drink – Guinness (but, of course). She convinced me that Guinness is the best way to drink beer, and still be a lady – because it isn't carbonated it doesn't cause you to burp so loudly that you'll throw the band off their rhythm. Guinness has other advantages. History tells us that because there is a lot of iron in Guinness, in Ireland they gave all new mothers a glass of the national drink, and at blood banks in Ireland, they gave all donors a glass of the beer – a token of gratitude – and also so they won't faint on their way out the door, which also caused the Irish to really love donating blood.
Now that we'd done good to our hearts, there was only one thing left – to do some good to our stomachs. On the waitress' recommendation, I ordered Shepherd's Pie, one of Adi's favourites since childhood. The Shepherd's Pie is served in a deep, round clay dish. The bottom of the pie is juicy ground beef, with a top layer of mashed potatoes, baked to perfection. If you choose, cheese can also be added to the top. I complemented the waitress on her excellent recommendation, and she told me in confidence that the recipe belongs to, one of the two owners' Irish mother.
Adi ordered the Beef Stew cooked in vegetables and Guinness (of course), and because she managed to polish off 3 pints of Guinness and another few Black Bush whiskey chasers before it even arrived, she didn't notice when my fork invaded the territory of her plate, and plundered the spoils of this fundamentally Irish dish. I must note that I was impressed. The beer added a bitter-sweetness to the meat and vegetables, tenderized the meat, and wrapped the entire dish in a cloud of thick splendid aroma.
Near the end of the night I looked over at Adi. She was satisfied, and so was I. We had a chat and a laugh, Adi drank and enjoyed the music, and I managed to steal food off her plate. Maybe there really is something about that Irish nation - they know how to have a great time and create a party out of any old football match! Maybe Adi was right all these years and when the rest of us spoiled our childhoods with American culture, she already understood what quality was all about? I still haven't decided. I guess we'll have to come back to Molly Blooms, to decide once and for all.
2 Mendeli St., Tel Aviv