A several new activities based in and around the windmill make this location–with its sweeping views of the Old City and surrounding hills–one of the best places to visit, especially for couples looking for a fun day out or a romantic evening walk. Sommeliers from Jerusalem Wineries have now found a home inside the base of the windmill. Stop by here any weekday between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., or any Friday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. to sample wines and chat with professionals from the winery. You can even purchase a bottle to take home. After sampling wine, you can join a guided tour to learn how the windmill works, and to get to the bottom of the local debate about whether or not it ever actually ground flour. Built in the late 1800s by French philanthropist Moses Montefiore to provide income for the poor residents of the first neighborhood outside the city walls, the windmill did indeed grind the wheat of surrounding farmers into flour. But after 18 years of operation it stopped working. Then local stories began to spring up about how it never worked, about how it was not even built to work. Even Israel’s most famous 20th century poet Yehuda Amichai once wrote about how
the windmill never ground flour. It ground holy air.
After an extensive renovation project funded by the Jerusalem Foundation, which involved flying in windmill experts from Europe, the windmill is again operational. Visitors to the windmill can now also participate in an escape-room style game that takes place in and around the windmill. The game is suitable for couples as well as larger groups. But even with the windmill blades once again turning and new activities here, one of the best things to do is simply stroll around the colorful gardens here and take in the panoramic views in this urban oasis, whether its on an ordinary evening or for a marriage proposal.
Located on Shlomo HaMelech Street, just up the hill from the Mamilla Mall and along the border that used to divide the city between Israel and Jordan from 1949 through 1967, Red and White welcomes visitors with wine, cheese, jazz music and conversation. The high ceilings, tall windows and candles on each table add to the sense of welcoming space. Although all are welcome, Jam especially likes to serve couples.
I love taking care of couples, setting them up with some nice wine and food, then letting them have the space for a conversation together,” Jam says.
It makes me really happy, creating a space for them to have a nice experience together.” Jam is also the only person working behind the bar and waiting on tables in this little place. He selects all the wines himself, mainly from wineries around Israel. They can be purchased by the bottle or in various amounts from his Italian-made wine dispensing machine. He serves artisan cheeses from a farm in the Golan Heights, and prepares all the food himself. The menu includes lasagna made from sheep’s cheese, fresh tomatoes and mushroom sauce; cheese sampler plates; and fresh kalamata olives. If you order coffee, it will be from beans roasted by Jam.
I’m old-school like that,
he says. Red & White opens each evening at 6 p.m., and stays open until the last person leaves, he says. “One day it may be at 11, or it could be until 2 a.m.,” Jam says, adding that it’s a good idea for patrons to make a reservation. On a recent March evening, he spoke of plans to set up more tables on the sidewalk as the evenings get warmer, and how he plans to stay open during Passover.
But I will just have wine during Passover,
he says, explaining that he will close his kosher kitchen during the holiday, when Jews refrain from eating any leavened grains. “I like to keep it simple.” Besides, with so many Jerusalem restaurants open during the holiday, the copious amounts of food served at the long Seder meal, and the elaborate feasts served to guests in the city’s hotels, a quiet night of simply sipping wine will be a perfect outing, he says.
No matter how many people come, it’s important for me to be open,
Jam says.” If I just provide a space for one couple, or one person, that’s enough.” Red & White is located at 8 Shlomo HaMelech Street. The phone number is 02-645-1212, or it can be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Red-White-Wine-Bar-Store