The 31st Istanbul Film Festival, hosted by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV),is about to begin (only 2 days left). By now, you’ve probably got your tickets or you’re still in the process of picking your films (take a look at our festival piece here for some help on this).
Most festival-goers will want to make a night of their night at the movies. If you’re one of them, take a look at our suggestions for places to go for drinks and party. We highly recommend you get something to eat beforehand though (see our Restaurants Guide for the film festival).
This year, the festival will be held at the following cinemas, museums and cultural centers: Atlas Cinema, AFM Fitaş, Beyoğlu Cinema, Citylife, Rexx Cinema in Kadıköy, the Pera Museum, Salon IKSV, and Akbank Sanat.
Beer and funky house at Balkon: Located right by Küçük Otto, Balkon is a cozy bar with a nice atmosphere to have a chat over a bottle of beer with funky house and the oldies playing in the background. Asmalımescit Mahallesi Şehbender Sokak No.5 K.6, Tünel; P: (0212) 293 20 52
Cocktails at Leb-i Derya: An upscale venue that attracts Istanbulites as well as tourists, Leb-i Derya is a romantic spot that offers fantastic views of the Golden Horn and parts of the Old City. We highly suggest the tiramisu martini for those with a sweet tooth. Kumbaracı Yokuşu No. 57/6, Tünel; P: (0212) 293 49 89
Shots or cocktails at Parantez: Parantez is a tiny bar located on Jurnal Sokak across from Babylon Lounge. It’s a casual spot frequented by locals as well as tourists. If you want a glass of something delicious, go for the Orman Cini, made with rum, fresh green apple juice, and cinnamon. The rim of the glass is lined with cinnamon and it is served with a slice of green apple. You can get it as a cocktail or a shot, depending on how fast you want to get tipsy. Asmalımescit Mahallesi Sofyalı Jurnal Sokak No. 1, Asmalımescit; P: (0212) 245 75 13
Deep house and minimal techno at Küçük Otto: A legendary Istanbul bar flocked by its frequenters and tourists and a local favorite for late night dancing in Asmalımescit, Küçük Otto is a small bar that tends to get quite crowded. Here, we suggest you indulge in a few shots: the Gelincik Shot made with corn poppy sauce, lime, and vodka; Sakız Shot made with mastic, milk, and vodka; and Kiss my Otto, made with cinnamon, orange juice, lime, and vodka.
Shots at Tektekçi: Istanbul’s first shot bar, Tektekçi is one of the most popular venues in Beyoğlu these days. This small bar gets quite crowded, overflowing with fearless dancers who can see the bottom of several shot glasses in less than minutes. Here, you’ll find a wide variety of interesting shot combinations, from the sweet to the sour, to the spicy to the sweet-and-sour. (For a full review of Tektekçi, click here.) Tomtom Mahallesi Akarsu Sokak No.2/1, Beyoğlu; P: (0533) 774 74 60
Beer at North Shield Pub: The North Shield Pub serves as a great spot for those who want a true pub feel. Here, you’ll find a variety of imported beer, such as Leffe and Germany’s Historical Brewery Tavern Schlenkerl’s Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche (a smoky beer that tastes just like bacon). Palazzo Donizetti Hotel Entrance, Asmalı Mescit Mahallesi Meşrutiyet Caddesi No.55, Asmalımescit; P: (0212) 243 15 23
Wine or cocktails at Baylo: Baylo is a great spot in Şişhane for enjoying a glass (or bottle) of wine by the bar, or sipping a delicious green apple martini by the cozy outdoor seating area. Asmalımescit Mahallesi Meşrutiyet Caddesi No.107A, Beyoğlu; P: (0212) 243 60 18
Cocktails at Gozo: A relatively new addition to the area, Gozo is a good option for cocktails. Meşrutiyet Caddesi No.94, Şişhane; P: (0212) 251 53 14
Cocktails at Bird: Bird is one of the most popular places in Şişhane, attracting a steady crowd especially on weekends. If you’re after a good cocktail, we suggest you try the Bird Mojito. If you’re after something hardcore, try the Flatliner shot, made with tequila (reposado), sambuca (Italian liqueur), and 3 drops of Tabasco. Meşrutiyet Caddesi No. 103, Şişhane; P: (0212) 245 70 85
Chill out at Biber: Unwind with a glass of your favorite drink accompanied by chillout and downtempo music at Nişantaşı’s coolest neighborhood bar Biber. Abdi İpekçi Caddesi No. 36, Nişantaşı; P: (0212) 231 41 06
Beer and Turkish rock at Corridor: Located in Nişantaşı’s Milli Reasürans Çarşısı, Corridor’s cozy and laid-back atmosphere attracts a steady stream of frequenters, especially on Tuesday nights for a bottle of beer and the most popular Turkish rock pieces. Milli Reasürans Arcade No.57, Nişantaşı; P: (0212) 343 02 41
Beer at Karga: Karga is an unpretentious bar where the grunge set of the Asian side come out to party. This local favorite offers cheap drinks, loud music, and avant-garde art on the walls. Kadife Sokak No. 16, Kadıköy; P: (0216) 449 17 25
Shots or beer at Arkaoda: A cozy bar frequented by expats, tourists, and Kadıköy locals, Arkaoda is one of the highlights of nightlife on the Asian Side. If you’re up for something strong, try the 3 Maymun shot there. This shot carries a kind of urban legend status. It was created in 1999 by the Arkaoda bartender Deniz Özüer. The ingredients are kept confidential but we know that there’ll be lots of burning in the throat. If you’re ready for what lies ahead, go for it! Kadife Sokak No. 18/A, Kadıköy; P: (0216) 418 02 77