Istanbul is a mega metropolis with a notorious nightlife scene. With literally hundreds of nightly options, from happy hours to after hours, deciding on where to enjoy your Efes and Rakı can be overwhelming.
Thanks to the help of local friends, I was able to experience some of the most popular bars and nightclubs while living in Istanbul (as highlighted in the booze-fueled video above).
For those looking for some after-dark entertainment while you’re in town, here are a few of my favorite party spots, broken down by neighborhood, so you can find a vibe that suites you.
If you know of any other good locations that I’ve overlooked, please don’t hesitate to comment below and I will add them to the list.
As mentioned in the video, the epicenter of Istanbul’s nightlife is around Taksim Square and Istiklal Caddesi (street). Off the main drag, you’ll pass through Beyoğlu nightlife and down towards Galata and Karaköy.
The best thing about the area is that there’s a million little side streets and back alleys with bars and restaurants galore.
Check out French Street off of Istiklal Caddesi, where there is a descending row of bars and restaurants tucked away off the busy shopping area.
Also, one of the best nights out in Istanbul is along the Asmalimescit strip of bars.
Taksim/ Beyoğlu Bars: Hayal Kahvesi, Rock N Rolla, Machine Club, Babylon, and Tektekçi (featured).
Rooftop Bars: 360 Istanbul, Balkon, Vida and Mikla Bar at Marmara Pera Hotel.
For a classy (and pricey) night out, head over to the Nişantaşı neighborhood to join the beautiful and wealthy. Neighboring areas include Kuruçeşme and Şişli. If you have the resources, this is a primo area for Istanbul nightlife.
Nişantaşı Bars: Lemon Chello, Hardal, Elio, Airport (Şişli)
Cruise up the rainbow staircase and into the Bohemian neighborhood of Cihangir. Drink some beers in the park or pop into one of the many artsy, low-profile watering hole.
Chiangir Bars: Kat, Journey, Smyrna, MiniMüzikhol, Roxy (Yan), and Kiki (featured).
College students crowd the Bosphorus waterfront and street-side bars to enjoy a little downtime. Pass through the fish market and find an empty seat somewhere to people watch.
Beşiktaş Bars: Yazı Tura Cafe Bar, Beer Point, Frame, and so many more random ones.
Ortakoy is the mecca for mega clubs in Istanbul, and if you’re looking for an epic night out in the city, this is your place.
The best thing about many of these clubs is that they have great views over the Bosphorus, just don’t try entering without women and/or reservations and/or cash handshake.
An Istanbul nightlife guide wouldn’t be any good if I didn’t cross the Bosphorus and visit the Asian side of the city. Here you’ll find the headquarters for young Turks, and like Taksim, it has something for everyone, and the majority of the buzz surrounds the so-called ‘barlar sokak’ (bar street), Kadife Sokak.
From downtown Kadikoy, you can walk over to the Moda coast to watch the sunset and enjoy all the seaside parks that face the famous Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia across the way.
Kadikoy Bars: Carga, Ayı Bar, Shaft, Belfast Irish Pub, Kafa Bar, Arkaoda
Check out more of the best clubs in Istanbul.
Watch, comment & subscribe to the Istanbul Nightlife Guide Video on the T2T YouTube Channel.
If you have any other Istanbul Nightlife suggestions, please leave a comment below!