Drawn to perfection: Welcome to Israel's first 2D cafe

The Sketch Café in Haifa, created using 1,000 black marker pens, feels like a drawing or comic book that you can walk into


It’s a paradise for selfie fanatics, with customers jostling for the best spots to take photos as they sip lattes.

The Sketch Café in Haifa, which opened last summer, feels like a drawing or comic book that you can walk into. Thick black lines resembling doodles or a cartoon strip stand out on the pure white background, with the array of monochrome providing a canvas for the colourful food.

This is Israel’s first and only “two-dimensional café”, and the only clue that you’re still in the Holy Land is the sound of spoken Hebrew.

It took its three owners — Shuki Moas, Adam Bason and Micha Brikman — two architects and three artists 18 months to complete.

“The first 2D café was in South Korea, and when Micha went travelling he was amazed at the concept and that’s how the idea came about,” says Moas.

The entire café , from the floors to tables, to serviette holders and even the air-conditioning unit, was drawn by hand by 1,000 black marker pens — with not a single print or splash of colour on any surface (apart from the mandatory red fire extinguisher, which the owners say bugs them).

The design of downstairs, where the food is ordered and gelato served, is based on a typical Italian street — even the street cobbles are hand- sketched. “It’s the Italian story, to connect to the food. We make gelato every day in our kitchen, as well as pasta, salads, and the Roman-style square pizzas you get in Italy. It’s not fast food, it’s quality Italian food and coffee, all made fresh.”

The café is milky and though they use only kosher ingredients, they are open on Shabbat.

As the restaurant is situated at the entrance to the Sammy Ofer Stadium, where Maccabi Haifa FC play, match days can be hectic.

The upstairs is the real wow factor. “We decided to go wild upstairs. Israelis love to fly and we love duty free, so we recreated an airport lounge complete with genuine re-upholstered El Al plane chairs.”

Customers can enjoy a cappuccino as if they are on a flight in a comic book — it’s all very surreal. Moas says every single detail was thought out to give the customer a particular experience. Even the restrooms are hand drawn.

Architect Tamir Elchayani designed the whole space so that the customer feels as if they are in a storybook.

He tells the JC: “At first everything was designed digitally and then artist Boris Gelberg hand-drew it. The majority was Boris because you need to have the same unified hand. The level of artistry here is tremendous.

“Drawing everything you see with markers is so much work, we did run out of pens at one point! It was the most intense project I have ever done.”

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