You might not appreciate it off hand but Istanbul has a nightclub and cafe culture as developed as any of those in the rest of Europe. Being one of the oldest cities in the world and located as it is on one of history’s most pivotal points in terms of trade, education and culture Istanbul has a thousands of years of experience of people coming together.
This fact is borne out by the size of the city and the variety in cultural hubs that you will see as you hop from nightspot to nightspot. I booked a great central spot with this site, so didn’t have far too trek back on those late nights out partying!
Despite the fact that Turkey is by tradition a Muslim nation the government is secular and what with all the European influences bars, restaurants, clubs and pubs all exist within the city, although nightclubs predominate on the Western side of the Bosphorus. However, beer, wine, raki and other spirits are all perfectly legal in licensed premises all over the city.
This being the case Istanbul has a night scene just like any other major European conurbation, there are venues that appeal to those who want to see a show, dance, party, watch bands, spot celebrities or whatever else it is you choose to do with your evenings while on vacation.
If you want to play by the sea then the Ortakoy area is where you should be headed, where the three floors of the Anjelique await, There’s a nightclub on the top floor while the other floors are dedicated to Angelique’s restaurant and cocktail bar. People head here for the atmosphere and the music.
Alternatively there is Blackk, they describe themselves “With our elegant decoration and world-class music, Blackk is a unique night club in Ortaköy, Istanbul offering a magnificent view of the Bosphorus. On the upper floor, you can find a resto-lounge where you can enjoy the view of the Bosphorus as you dine or have a drink at the bar.
Then there is Suada, not actually on the coast but on a small island just off it. 165 metres from the European shoreline the nightclub and 6 restaurant s are just one part of a complex owned by Glatasaray Sports Club and is famous for its glamorous soirées frequented by internationally famous celebrities and sportspersons as well as its first class food.
Alternatively you might like to stay within the city’s precincts, for the best city centre nightlife you need to head over to Beyoglu. It’s here that you’ll find spots such as Al Jamal, a venue that defines what it is to be Istanbul, there is middle eastern cuisine, belly dancing, a harem interior with western music, food, drinks and live entertainment.
Then there is Babylon, a venue which exists for live bands to play in a small, intimate space, musicians and musical styles from all over the world including Latin, Jazz, Electo, Reggae and even Turkish can all be found here. Entrance is free, however, there is ticketed admission for concerts.
Confusingly there are four Buddha bars in Istanbul, The Buddha Rock Bar, Big Buddha and Little Buddha as well as The Buddha Bar. The Buddha Rock Bar caters mainly for students, it’s cheap and comfortable and a good place to start a night out. Big and little Buddha play a range of music from Latin and Blues to Techno and Jungle. The Buddha Bar plays alternative rock from the 90’s and 00’s.
If you want to sample some fabulous local cuisine while listening to Pop and Jazz performed by locals too then Hayal Kahvesi is a cafe bar you’ll want to check out.
That’s just a few of the best known nightclubs in Istanbul, local guidebooks or staff at your hotel will be able to give you a good idea of the best clubs and bars local to where you’re staying.
[Photo via live.villapashahotel.com]