If you ever found yourself exclaiming, with a slight hint of terror, how crowded the city of Istanbul is, be sure that the nightlife is not spared in that regard. However, for some reason, whether because of the alcohol that makes people want to come closer, or the loud music that naturally pushes bodies together, crowds are an agreeable part of the nighttime contour of the city. The one place where this statement has become a concrete occurrence is Kiki.
After a certain hour, when dinner time and after dinner drinks have come to a close, a natural progression toward Kiki is felt; the bar which is always filled to maximum capacity, or, one wonders, over-capacity. The journey to Kiki begins with a quick walk down Sıraselviler Caddesi where parked cars usually take over the sidewalk and the human-meets-machine traffic comes together in a dance of headlights and stop-and-go. The notable red awning on top of the door denotes the destination, and while the initial hallway is usually empty, the crowd appears a few seconds later, squeezed into a space of disco ball lights bouncing off walls, with hands holding beer bottles and shaking dancing heads bopping about to the rhythm of the DJ created beat. Don’t be surprised to hear a tune by Flight of the Conchords or a bass-driven-techno interlude that lasts for half an hour. And that is because Kiki is not your usual bar, as evidenced by the over population of very precise mustaches, thick rimmed black Ray Ban glasses, and a sea of plaid button down shirts. It’s the kind of dance party you would have in your house, except that you would never want to clean up afterward.
Moving on through the room, past the interior bar, and after having rubbed past a few strangers on the way, the door opens to the terrace where the cigarette smoking crowd underneath the hanging lightbulbs in the tree branches above converse and blow smoke upward and out. Here you can sometimes find former Turkish rock stars or commercial actors socializing, looking nothing like you thought they would. But that’s just how it goes at Kiki, because for all of the claustrophobia and hair-whips in your face, it is the informality that brings people back. Whoever is standing next to you at the second bar at the back of the terrace area will inevitably begin to talk to you and then continue to introduce you to another person, until you know the names of almost everyone around you. Jokes are shared as if the Kiki crowd have been your best friends for years, while another row of strawberry margaritas make their way through the crowd and hopefully into your hand, because you really have to drink a little to enjoy this. Siraselviler Caddesi No:42; P: (0212) 243 53 73