32 King George
Sat-Thurs 18-last customer; Fri 14-last customer
After years of struggling with the common dilemma, the battle between going out or staying home, we have found a perfect solution in Maoz, a place where comfort meets sophistication and a night in a bar can easily feel like hanging out in your best friend’s basement. Maoz is your ultimate neighborhood bar where “simplicity is served with a twist.” For co- owners, Gal and Yossi, the idea ignited through their personal experience. After years of running Shachen, a bar on Ivn Gvirol, they knew they wanted to bring the same energy to the center of the city. Lucky for us, the opportunity came up, and we found ourselves, an array of of fresh, young, and eager patrons ready to explore a new local spot. Once inside, we found ourselves upon a whimsical and playful space paired perfectly with a sophisticated cocktail menu. Although the bar might seem huge from a birds eye view, this is not another “mega bar”. Instead Gal and Yossi have created a space that’s meant to be shared and designed for the unpretentious guest.
As if Tinker Bell herself touched the place with a magic wand, a huge worn down apartment has been transformed to a wonder for our eyes. It’s like looking through the lens of the kaleidoscope, we see walls adorned with intimate vintage photos of the families of the bar owners. Little nooks hold small photography exhibits of student artists from the Shankar School of Art. One step further and you find yourself in Yossi and Gal’s “living room” complete with a desk, couches, a pool table, and full functioning shower in the corner. Somehow they avoid being kitschy by being truly genuine, we get a clear sense that the purpose isn’t solely for decoration, that we’re invited to sit on their couch. By strategically placing additional seating surrounding the perimeter of the wall, we get the message that at Maoz there are no barriers of separation, consequently they break the age old concept of bar exclusivity and reinstate a tradition of drinking amongst strangers.
If that’s not enough of a throwback, the vintage games and interactive toys, such as Cheburashka, the talking soviet version of Mickey Mouse, hidden in every cranny, are sure to incite the memories and make us like we are the open eyed, optimistic kids that we once used to be. With blood excitedly pulsing through our veins and flushed cheeks, we are suddenly ready to conquer the world again, only now we’re equipped with melon mojitos and apple-pear martinis.
The cocktails at Maoz are a treat that are worth going to just to experience. Yossi, a self proclaimed “mixologist”, bases featured cocktails on traditional cocktails spirits with a twist. The New York Cheesecake cocktail, one of the stars of the menu, is served in an old fashioned low-ball glass and is so deceptively smooth and delicious completely tricking our taste buds into thinking they are eating the real thing. He proudly shows us a bottle of Canadou, which is sugar syrup made of sugar cane. Most bars go with plain sugar syrup to save money, but Yossi is obviously interested in quality and the best taste for the patrons. Treating cocktails as a serious art, Yossi hand perfects the sangria and the fresh raspberry cava, making sure to keep the original flavors.
The essence of the place is made audible by the cheerful, sultry, voices of Elvis, Chuck Berry and Jerry Lewis. What we love about Maoz: the relaxing yet happy music, motown, rythm and blues, just the vibe for an enjoyable evening. While the owners have invested a lot of time and effort to make Maoz so hospitable, they make sure everyone who works there is friendly and welcoming. Feeling hungry after all of that? Well Maoz doesn’t let your taste buds down. All the food is designed to go along with the environment, the drinks, the company. Basic, minimal, straightforward, cheap, and tasty; Maoz wants to serve us the food we crave when we’re drunk. As Yossi states, ‘when I drink a beer, I want roast beef, or toast (Israeli toast that is).” Maoz offers just that, enticing snack foods with a compelling touch. They make sandwiches on challa bread, offer roast beef from one of the best butchers in town, and even their nachos are thrilling, covered in dripping, melted cheese. They make the toast in a unique way by using a pretzel instead of bread, and to further add some rustic elements they serve a toothsome mouthful of portebello mushrooms topped with creamy goat cheese. The food at Maoz is dynamic, and constantly re-inspired. In the winter it’s one of the few places to get a nice large bowl of goulash after midnight, served with a slice of Russian bread. Best of all the food at Maoz is kosher, a decision made to make everyone feel both welcome and experience the most essential element of Israel, the Jewish tradition.
In its inviting environment, crisp drinks, and down to earth menu, Maoz truly accomplishes its essential goal: to bring refined coziness to a bar. It’s the perfect balance of feeling completely relaxed while feeling that you’re somewhere special. So put on something comfortable, try a signature cocktail, and best of all, make some new friends. Maoz will surely be a fixture in the heart of this great city!
Photos: Jessica Frykman