Jerusalem, Israel
Reuven, 52
Architect and bar owner
see his Jerusalem city guide

a bit about Reuven

What do you do and why do you do it?

I am an architect and a bar owner. Why? To challenge my creativity I suppose. I had a great run as an employee at some of Jerusalem’s premier firms and worked on great projects. I also enjoyed teaching. When the owner of my favorite bar left town, I became a bar owner too!

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had and why was it so effing bad?

I can’t think of one, though I’ve worked some doozies. One of my bosses, when I worked as a Carpenter, was difficult and could be oppressive at times, but I find the benefit in all work experiences, and have been fortunate to do what I love.

Were you born and raised in Jerusalem?

I was born in Massachusetts and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. I moved to Israel straight after college to fulfill the generations-old Jewish dream of returning to Zion. I’ve been here most of my life, starting in 1985.

What’s your current hood in Jerusalem and what’s the best/worst thing about it?

I live in Ramot, 20 minutes outside of City Center. It’s a boring and quiet suburb, which is both what’s best and worst about it. After years of living closer to town, I needed an easy place to park and a small garden. But sometimes I wish I lived in a run-down studio apartment in the hip side of town near the Shuk.

What kind of music do you listen to and what kind of music do you absolutely HATE?

I’m proud to be eclectic, so I can’t say I HATE any music genre unless it’s simply performed badly. As a kid I would only listen to the Grateful Dead and regret missing out on some great experiences because I was such a snob. Still love the Dead, tho; and believe in live music and improvisation. I love Blues and Classic Rock which we play at work; and also listen regularly to Classical and Neo-Folk. Love Jazz too – every Wednesday with a glass of wine.

You’re broken hearted – what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?

Gratefull Dead: Deep Elem Blues, Brown Eyed Women, He’s Gone, etc; Marshall Tucker: Can’t You See; Various: The Long Black Veil and Angel from Montgomery; Myles Davis and Dave Brubeck; Dolly Parton: I will always love you; Johnny Cash: various; New Stuff? Sean Rowe: To Leave Something Behind

Name the best TV shows of all time.

The Wire. It painted a true to life and balanced picture of City politics – a subject I love. I watch The Man in the High Castle because its good and because my friend acts in it. I’m no Trekie, but I will watch reruns of Star Trek and Hogans Heroes; and yes, I watch Game of Thrones. But to be honest, I don’t watch much TV.

Name some spots in Jerusalem that are good for a Tinder date.

There are plenty of great pubs, restaurants, and cafes to recommend, but before you sit down for an hour or so, meet up for a walk in any of several magical neighborhoods or public gardens I could recommend. The weather is good 8 months out of 12, so get to know a new person on the go. Of course, if you’re more focused on the business end of Tinder, you’ll need some safety advice as well and some insider knowledge. Jerusalem is very conservative and less sexy than TA. But believe it or not, it’s pretty common for people to meet up in a hotel lobby for the fancy atmosphere, overpriced deserts, and nearby rooms.

Which public figure would you want to see “roasted”?

Prince Charles. I simply trust the English to perfectly mix biting criticism with laugh-out-loud humor.

Who’s your hero and where in Jerusalem would you take them out for a serious hang?

Bill Bellichek or Kurt Vonnegut — to Mike’s Place for a Bourbon or five.

Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?

I’m straight up department store clothes until it comes to my funky glasses (private eye-doctor) and fedora (the old hat store on Ben Yehuda – but looking for another option).

What’s the area in town you’ll never be caught dead in?

Well, there are spots in town I could be dead if I got caught in them, but I go there anyway. In terms of personal tastes, the satellite suburbs like Neve Yaakov and Pisgat Ze’ev don’t fit my image of Jerusalem.

What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?

Sketch our beautiful buildings.

Where do you go in Jerusalem for a casual night out?

Nachalat Shiva neighborhood in Downtown, the First Station in the German Colony, and the side streets around the Shuck in Machane Yehuda.

Where would you go in Jerusalem to celebrate some freaking good news?

Any of my favorite Bars. If not my own Mike’s Place, then the Glen, or Gatsby’s. If my wife is celebrating with me, then a gourmet restaurant.

What’s your choice of transportation in Jerusalem and why?

Public. Buses and trains run often and I don’t like the hassle of parking (even though its not that hard, you just gotta know where). I drink a lot, and don’t like to drink and drive. Unfortunately, after midnight there are only cabs available and they can be pricy, but most of J-town is walkable and there are plenty of cabs and a good smart-phone app to use to control costs.

What are the Jerusalem spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?

Obviously the Old City and Yad VaShem; but I would recommend some small museums of local art and history, some neighborhoods for walking around, and food: Pinati for local Humus; The Teimani for the best Felafel; I recommend also a quick visit to City Hall where one can learn about the city’s development and see models of how the future city will look.

What are the Jerusalem spots tourists should run from screaming?

The Arab shuk in the Old City is great to walk through, but don’t spend too much time or money there. It’s a tourist trap. If you must, go deeper in to the more authentic stores. Avoid missionaries and offers for free room and board in return for religious classes.

Tomorrow’s your last day in Jerusalem. How do you spend it?

I’d visit the Zoo, then the model of the ancient city at the Israel Museum. I’d go to an overlook I know in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, then walk or ride through Wadi Joz to the Hebrew U campus on Mt. Scopus where I could watch the Sun set on the whole City with the Jordan Valley and Judean desert to my back.

What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?

I haven’t traveled as much as I’d like, but I love going back to Rome. It’s got history as well as modern convenience and style. Great shopping, great food, but mostly great buildings to sketch and people to watch.