Istanbul Nightlife Guide
Istanbul's trendiest nightlife districts on the European and Asian side. Bars, clubs, restaurants and general tips for a vibrant night in Istanbul's scene.
What you need to know:
Istanbul is a true cosmopolitan city and can easily match - perhaps even surpass - metropolises such as New York City, London or Paris. This is probably best seen in the excessive nightlife.
There are wide-ranging and attractive options for every budget: from cozy and affordable pubs, to sophisticated scene bars, to expensive nightclubs. Most locations are open every day of the year. But there are some open-air clubs on the Bosphorus banks, which are open only in the summer months.
Live music plays an important role for the locals. No matter if modern, western music or traditional oriental, important is that it animates to sing along or to dance. The many live clubs, stages and taverns (Meyhane) are particularly suitable for this purpose. Some locations combine live music, food and celebration, and invite you to party until the early hours of the morning.
The oriental dance (belly dance) has a long tradition in Turkey and is definitely part of the program. Experience the energetic hip swings on a Bosphorus dinner cruise with a Turkish night show.
Alcohol: Due to many inquiries, we would like to mention that there is of course beer, wine and "Raki", the national alcoholic drink of Turkey, in the nightlife of Istanbul.
The prices are at European level. When it comes to food, it depends on the location.
Beyoglu Nightlife Guide
It is said that anyone who has not experienced the colorful party scene in Beyoğlu has never really celebrated. The nightlife here is very active, dynamic and, above all, captivating.
The heart of the district is the party mile Taksim. Hundreds of cafes, bars, clubs, restaurants and taverns are lined up close together on the famous shopping street Istiklal Caddesi alone, which is around three kilometers long.
There are also some gay clubs in the parallel street Tarlabaşı. When it comes to parties and music, you can find everything your heart desires in Beyoğlu.
Kadıköy Nightlife Guide
Kadıköy district is located on the Asian side of Istanbul and is very popular with young people. It is the counterpart to the hip Beyoğlu district. The heart of Asia beats in Kadıköy.
A relatively large number of students and intellectuals live here, which is why there is an extensive nightlife of its own. The offer ranges from underground clubs to trendy pubs with an alternative-chic crowd, bars, restaurants and expensive cafes.
You are more likely to find residents who want to party in their neighborhood. Overall, however, there is a colorful mix of young people. In Kadıköy, too, people go with the flow and wander from one location to the next. Most of the bars in Kadıköy close after 1am.
Bosphorus Nightlife Guide
The Bosphorus shore is THE nightlife hotspot of Istanbul during the summer season. Not only do exclusive clubs open their roof terraces with a breathtaking panorama, the long coast is also lined with trendy and luxurious discos, most of which have a view of the shimmering Bosphorus Bridge.
The nightlife is more homogeneous than in the other districts. Istanbul's elite and celebrities also come here.
Along the Bosphorus you have the privilege of enjoying your cocktail with a view of Istanbul’s skyline while dancing under the stars. But be careful: the better the view, the higher the prices.
Beware of Tourist Traps!
As in any city, there are scams and attempts at fraud in Istanbul, too. Fortunately, in most cases the tricks of the fraudsters are obvious to the traveler.
Our overview is intended to help you avoid tourist traps during a night out in Istanbul.
1. „I'll invite you to a beer."
For this tourist trap you will usually be approached by a friendly and good English-speaking, young man in the area around Taksim Square - especially if you are traveling alone.
As usual in small talk, topics such as origin, work, etc. are discussed. After a short time, the tourist is invited to a beer in a popular bar.
There the accomplices, mostly women, join in and have a drink. The nasty surprise is that the bill, which is hundreds of Turkish Lira, is completely passed on to the traveler. A trip to the nearest ATM is guaranteed.
2. „Chef's suggestion“
Always have a menu shown with prices for drinks and dishes or ask explicitly before ordering.
In some fish restaurants under Galata Bridge, for example, it can happen that free drinks are offered.
Without being asked, two glasses of wine, bread and water are placed on the table. The fish is also served larger than ordered.
All drinks including free drinks and dishes are now shown on the bill. The bill should be checked for accuracy.
3. „The taxi drivers“
Insist on using the taxameter! The use of the taxameter is now mandatory in Turkey.
Otherwise, the drivers often like to negotiate particularly low prices. The trick some drivers do is speaking supposedly poor English.
At the end of the ride, the agreed amount turns out to be a misunderstanding. Be careful when paying afterwards.
It is best to hold onto the banknote until you have received the change. If you feel cheated, you should definitely write down the number of the taxi and the driver's license number and report it to the tourist police station opposite the Basilica Cistern.
4. „From location to location“
It is better not to go on spontaneous trips that require a taxi to get to the next club.
If you still decide to do so, contact the nearest taxi office directly.
Under certain circumstances it can happen that you unintentionally end up in a strip club, especially in remote areas like Aksaray.
Remember that in St. Pauli you also have to pay for the bottle of vodka or whiskey that you buy your companion - at an expensive price.
If you prefer to be in the club quickly, you can count on a shockingly expensive bill.
Experiences in the night
A pub crawl gives you an initial overview of the hottest pubs, bars and clubs at the moment.
In addition to the trendy venues, there are also some extraordinary ones, such as a bar where visitors dance in the street, or a kind of of living-room-nightclub on the seventh floor of a building on the famous Istiklal Caddesi in trendy Beyoğlu.
Another classic in Istanbul's nightlife are Bosphorus dinner cruises and "Turkish Nights" with food, music and belly dancing.