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 boiled it all down for you. Here is a handy guide to nightlife in Beyoğlu based on its different sections.
İstiklal Caddesi: 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.
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. The undying hotspot near the Galatasaray high school is Münferit, where the upscale 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. It has to be said, although the concept of Tektekçi is to warm up for a long night out, the music is so good that many end up spending the majority of their night there. If you like to dance to a mix of upbeat songs – anything from Adele and Lily Allen to the golden oldies like “Let’s Twist Again” - you may have to cancel your post-Tektekçi plans.
Şişhane: 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. Bird takes the lead here as the hotspot that attracts the young and the sexy, followed by Baylo, as well as GoodMoodPera. All these are decent options to give the night a start, but the night really gets going once Şişhane bars are left behind for barhopping in Asmalımescit.
Asmalımescit/Tünel: 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. After the no-tables-and-chairs ban, Tünel’s character did change a bit – some argue for the better, some argue for the worse. Nonetheless, Tünel and Asmalımescit (which is possibly 100 steps away from Tünel) are as lively as ever – even on the coldest of winter nights. 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.
Lokal is the basically what defines nightlife in Tünel. Located right at the square, this multi-storied, multi-genred local favorite 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 live music, head to Ghetto, one of the city's largest concert venues where local and international artists let their hair down. 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.
Şehbender Sokak in Asmalımescit is where Istanbul’s other concert venue Babylon is located. There is a concert or a party going on almost every night of the week here (except during the summer months when the venue is closed and moves to its summer location in Çeşme). Pre-concert meet ups, cigarette breaks throughout the concert, and post-concert gatherings turn this street into a street party. Few steps down is where Küçük Otto, 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 located.
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.
Pera: The only club here that makes Pera a great area for nightlife is Nupera. During winter, Nupera is a combination of three distinctively-conceptualized restaurants (Auf and Base) that transform into nightclubs after midnight.
Cihangir: 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.