Istanbul is famous for its buzzing nightlife that starts as early as 9pm with a bottle of a hangover-inducing spirit and lasts all the way to the işkembe çorbası (tripe soup) that is savored with the sun’s first rays. That being said, the amount of options that Istanbul offers may sometimes feel overwhelming. So we've boiled it all down for you: here is a handy nightlife guide for Beyoğlu, covering the different areas of the neighborhood.
This long pedestrian road is always filled with people – from all walks of life, all tastes of music, and all sorts of passports. And the bars that line this street offer an equally diverse mix. There are also the side streets that branch out of the main Beyoğlu vessel, doubling the amount of options available.
Arsen Lüpen is on the backstreets of Taksim, cheap drinks aren’t necessarily hard to find. But finding them in a bar that doesn’t stray in to the seedy, the grotty, the soulless or the downright unpleasant is another story. ArsenLüpen has the best of both worlds; with a hospitable environment, live music and a spacious terrace, they have the basics nailed.
One of the most popular places on Istiklal is Kasette, where a house music induced dance party takes place every night of the week, with crowds spilling into the dead end street. Located in one of Istiklal's other side streets is The Hall Istanbul a multi-purpose space open day and night for music, films, art and design and set in a 140 year old former church.
One of our personal favorites (because it's one of the only places that plays good hip hop and R&B from Thursday-Saturday nights) is Mama Shelter, the chic boutique hotel with a more than lively bar and terrace (in the summer only). Topless is an outdoor bar that hosts DJs and events and can also be booked for private events.
The vibe at Papillon is what you would find in your cool friend’s lounge, with its intimate atmosphere,comfortable sofas, and glitter ball. Ease yourself a spot on the couch and slouch away the long hours after work or school. Peyote is best known for its music scene, but the cheap beer is a definite plus. Whether you are on the terrace, in front of the live band or dancing to the DJ, the atmosphere is always lively and the place is always full, just as you wallet will be, with its reasonable prices. If you're after something more upscale, the undying hotspot near the Galatasaray high school is Münferit, where the young hipster crowd takes over the entire outside area with great music and cocktails available inside.
Many 20-30 year-old Istanbulites meet up in TomTom Sokak, which can be best described as an open mall only with bars instead of shops. Possibly the most popular venue here is Tektekçi, a shot bar that is the ideal place to, well, get wasted by drinking really tasty shots. Right across, Indigo is one of the main hubs of electronic music in the city, with different DJs from all over the globe taking the stage and warming up the crowded mass of people that spill out onto the baclony where the cigarette smoke and suggestive staring go on until the am hours.
The other legendary concert venue, Salon IKSV, which brings together different performance styles under one roof, is situated in Şişhane, where a number of chic bars that last until around 2am are located.
Everybody knows Tünel – it’s where the nostalgic tram stops at the end of İstiklal Caddesi and it’s where the world’s second oldest underground railway is located. Summer or winter, this square always serves as a meeting point. If you're looking to have a beer and maybe something to snack on before the night really gets going, head to KafePi, where the offerings are accompanied by a pretty solid mix of music.
Although Balkon has an indoor seating as well, the rooftop is the place to be. The colored Christmas lights are perhaps the only added touch to the otherwise understated decoration of the open space - yet it alone is enough to transform a bland roof to a twinkling rooftop. Boasting an amazing view on all four sides, Balkon is one of those bars where no table is inferior to the other.
Pera Publico is a multi-storied, multi-genred bar that provides answers to many crucial nightlife questions: where to mingle with the locals and where to dance all night long. You’ll find different music on different floors, from pop to house. But the best time to really enjoy this place is during summer when the entrance is filled with groups of people drinking and mingling, and passersby, who are unable to help themselves, joining in.
If you're looking for some great electronic music, head to Kloster, one of the city's largest venues where local and international DJs make you dance until the wee hours of the morning. Apart from the main club, there is also an additional party space and a smoking terrace. Keep up with our Agenda to see all upcoming performances.
Few steps down is where Küçük, another legendary Istanbul bar, is located. Regardless of the weather, crowds flock to this tiny bar, with the party bustling both indoors and outdoors by the street. Many people just pass through there even if they don’t intend on going to Otto simply because the street is always filled with someone they know that they haven’t seen in a while.
Many Otto-goers also stop by Parantez at some point in the night for shots, an end-of-the-night beer, or just to hang out. This similarly tiny bar is located on Jurnal Sokak (parallel to Şehbender) where Babylon Lounge is used to be located. Babylon has now moved to the Bomonti beer factory in Şişli.
Another very popular bar that probably marks the transition from Asmalımescit to Pera is Off Pera. This tiny bar is filled with locals and the occasional traveler who enjoys a mix of Turkish pop, Turkish rock, and popular dance songs.
Karaköy is slowly but steadily consolidating its position as analternative go to area for hip nightlife far away from the crowds that roam İstiklal Caddesi every night. Unter and Gaspar, two upscale restobars in the neighborhood, are drawing a young urban crowd that comes for dinner and stays for the DJ performances on weekend nights.
Cihangir is where most people go for late-night partying. There are two very popular places in Cihangir. One of them is Kiki, which gets going around 2am, and the other one is MiniMüzikhol, which is at its peak at 4am when the crowds in Asmalımescit flock to Cihangir. Both places tend to get very crowded with Istanbul’s hipsters. If you’re after minimal techno, house, funk, and disco, and don’t mind being squished, then do give these places a try.
Nublu, the popular jazz club and live venue, moved from its original location in Karaköy to Cihangir. They are rightfully famous for their great ambience and eclectic program - unfortunately, the venue has recently closed and is seeking a new location in the city.