In Tel Aviv, English-speaking hipsters have had to rely on word-of-mouth to find out where cool locals hang out. Until now.
A new smartphone app, DIY Tel Aviv, offers a selection of weekly events, from art shows to indie music, for English speakers who want to explore the lesser-known sides of the city.
“I choose things that catch my eye, basing it on my experience,” said Shimrit Elisar, the app creator. “These are not necessarily the big events.”
Elisar, an Israeli who divides her time between Tel Aviv and London, comes by her hipster knowledge intuitively. She is also the former nightlife editor for Time Out Israel, a tourist version of the international weekly magazine, which publishes Time Out Tel Aviv in Hebrew as well.
In DIY Tel Aviv, Elisar avoids big commercial events, or places that are inauthentic or that qualify as tourist traps. Ditto for mainstream events hosted by celebrity promoters or production crews.
Top-forty music clubs don’t make the cut either, said Elisar.
When gathering information for the app, Elisar likes to imagine she’s new to the Tel Aviv scene, which helps her decide what her audience wants to experience.
The app, which is written in English, was created for tourists, visitors and expatriates.
“I try to think of the kinds of things I’d be looking for if I were in a different city,” she said.“It should be something the locals would want to attend. Not the surface culture, but events that you need to dig around for in order to find. Events like punk shows, underground cafes and art shows.”
The app recently included an event at Anna Loulou Bar in Jaffa, which hosted “Words in the Desert,” a night filled with futuristic, robotic and cinematographic music. Also on the app’s lineup was a launch party for Micha TV, an obscure website for hipsters.
Elisar said she gathers her events by walking around Tel Aviv, reading event flyers and posters pasted on the city’s noticeboards. She also relies on word of mouth, Facebook and emails.
The app is a more user-friendly version of her city blog, “DIY Tel Aviv,” which is also published annually in paperback form.
The app will reach a larger audience, she said.
“More and more people have smartphones and people want that information to be accessible,” she said.
DIY Tel Aviv is currently available to Android users on Google Play, and the iPhone version will be introduced toward the end of January.
Another Tel Aviv-centered app is Sarona, created by the city’s recently opened food and boutique compound. The app offers a navigation system for visitors, as well as access to the area’s business and event information.
Sarona app downloaders will receive a free coffee from Cafe Landwer, Net Cafe, Roladin, or Biga.
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