Inside a dark and smoky bar in Jaffa, an alcohol-infused feminist revolution is occurring. The beloved bar, Anna Loulou, which is tucked away on a nondescript side street a few blocks from Jaffa’s flea market, has started offering a happy hour for people who are menstruating. 25% off, to be exact, for all drinks, all night long– and all you have to do is tell the bartender you have your period. The name of this long overdue invention? Bloody Hour.
Bloody Hour (“A happy hour for those with the flow”) is the brain child of two longtime regulars at Anna Loulou, Moran Barir and Dana Etgar. Both Jewish Israelis in their early thirties working in the arts, the two women – shockingly! – treat their period as though it’s a normal part of their everyday lives, which means acknowledging its presence around friends, some of whom are bartenders at Anna Loulou.
“If I get my period and I’m in pain, I tell them, ‘I’m in pain, give me something that will help,'” Barir told Jewcy over the phone. “For me personally, red wine is the best medicine for period pain. It relaxes the body.”
For Barir, Bloody Hour’s cheaper prices are more than just a periodic (pun intended) perk. “When you get your period, you need to appear normal, like nothing has changed. At the base of it is the idea that there’s something wrong with having your period, that there’s something wrong with us, which is not true. So we want to normalize talking about it.”
When they had the idea for Bloody Hour (and yes, the title is in English, even in Israel), they brought it to the bar’s owners who responded enthusiastically. Barir said, “Anna Loulou encourages people from the community to use it as a community space.”
Anna Loulou has a reputation for being a special place, a shared space for people of different identities of all kinds: Palestinians and Jews, Mizrachi and Ashkenazi, tourists and locals, and people of different genders, sexual orientations, and ages. “It enables everyone to be together, when other places don’t. It feels mixed in a challenging way and in a beautiful way,” said Barir.
After officially launching at the end of October, Bloody Hour has gotten a lot of attention. Ruben Rais, one of the owners of Anna Loulou, said that they’ve had “overwhelmingly positive reactions. People are curious and excited and interested.” They’re currently planning to host more special events in honor of the happy hour and to bring it to weekends as well (at the moment it’s only available on weeknights).
When I asked Barir how Anna Loulou ensures that customers don’t abuse the 25% discount, she responded, “It’s an honor system, of course.”
Photo of Anna Loulou by Ben Palhov