Column #336 Tel Aviv’s Café Noga
Monday, November 3, 2008
Tel Aviv’s Café Noga
If you’re looking for a game of darts and don’t mind throwing in a joint where a suicide bomber might be sitting at the bar I have a recommendation. The name of the place is Café Noga. Billed as an “old country Irish pub and restaurant,” it’s located in the heart of Israel’s second most populous city of Tel Aviv.
In business for twenty years, Café Noga is the Jewish state’s oldest billiards club, not that there’s anything wrong with that. People who don’t have the skill to compete in a real sport need to have someplace to go and fart around.
The good news is that the place also has three regulation bristle dartboards, all set up perfectly in a well cared for and well lit area next to the bar and across the way from a green felt sea of twenty pool tables. Just to the left of the real boards is a soft-tip machine. This is also for farting around.
It was midday when I arrived in Tel Aviv. My cell phone rang…
“HEY DARTOID! Sorry for the interruption but is this the point where you typically pad your column with a few paragraphs of plagiarized Wikipedia crap about what ever city it is you’re visiting?”
“Who is this?”
“Come on man. You remember. 1975. Miriam and Ariel from Haifa. Semester break.”
“HOLY CRAP! Morrie Markowitz! It’s been thirty years! What ever happened to those pigs? You gotta new joke? ”
“Damn straight. It’s Passover and a rabbi is eating his lunch on a park bench. A blind man sits down next to him, so the rabbi offers him some of his lunch – a piece of matsoh. The blind man takes it, rubs his fingers over it for a moment and says, ‘Who wrote this shit?’”
“Ugh. How ‘bout those porkers? Ever make it back to Haifa?”
“I married Ariel.”
“Oops. Sorry. Mazel tov, I guess. Got any other crap jokes? Maybe one of those Jewish haikus…”
‘Today I am a man.
Tomorrow I will return…
To the seventh grade.”
“Oy – you still suck Markowitz. Good to hear from you but, really, I’ve gotta run. I’m gettin’ ready to write some serious shit about darts here.”
So I checked into my hotel, showered, donned my bulletproof vest, found the Noga at 4 Pinkster Street and for 25 sheckels ordered a He’brew Rejewvenator.
Seriously, I was in frickin’ Israel – how could I resist a beer called Rejewvenator? I switched to Messiah Gold though as the night wore on, since 25 sheckels is the equivalent of 7 bucks.
My wallet needed saved, praise Jeezus!
The Noga isn’t a café, not really. It’s a lazy two-story pool hall, one of just a few in the city. It’s a local joint, not particularly popular with foreigners. Possibly this is because the menu boasts little more than toasted cheese sandwiches and humus salad. The waitresses are nice, although not as attractive as Sarah Palin. They are however, just as qualified to be Vice President.
The dartboards are just beyond the bar.
I set my beer on a table, unpacked my darts and warmed up until approached by one of the regulars.
“Shalom, my friend. My name’s Joel. Want a game?”
“Salam,” I replied. “I am Abdul-Malik Ahmad Al-Jaber. I kick infidel ass. Praise Allah.”
Okay, that last line was a lie.
Joel and I threw for a couple hours, tried all the beers – even split a cheese sandwich. We had a good time. About 10:00 p.m. my cell phone rang again…
“Morrie? PLEASE tell me it’s not you again.”
“Hey, I have one more joke and it’s kind of about darts.
There’s this party and this girl. She scans the guests and spots an attractive man standing alone. She approaches…”
“My name is Carmen,” she says.
“That’s a beautiful name,” he replies, “Is it a family name?”
“No,” she says, “I gave it to myself. It reflects the things I like most – cars and men.”
“What’s your name?” she asks.
He replied: “B. J. Titsendartz.”
From the Field,
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