Istanbul’s nightlife varies from neighborhood to neighborhood, and the offers something for everyone. From acoustic music in underground taverns to European-style bistro bars to chilled-out rooftop pubs to sleek VIP clubs, there is no dearth of options. The scene is becoming ever more international, drink prices by and large are affordable, and with the exception of just a few VIP-style establishments, most places are open entry and happily lacking in long entry lines, overpriced cover, or stand-offish bouncers.
Neighborhoods to Check Out
Istanbul is gaining a reputation as one of Europe’s hottest cities for nightlife, and this über-cool holiday destination offers a number of established favorites as well as a constant crop of new, edgy additions to the scene. The Ortaköy, Beyoğlu, and Eminönü districts are particularly worth checking out, as many great places are concentrated there. Overall these areas feature reasonable prices, a wide range of options close together, and plenty of easy transportation including night buses and reasonably priced taxis get you back home safely and easily after enjoying a night on the town.
A Few Highlights of Istanbul by Night
On the shores of the Bosphorus in the bustling market district of Ortaköy is Anjelique, a three-story house with a great view and a great selection of cuisine. On the top floor is a trendy club with a dynamic atmosphere and international club music.
Another of Istanbul’s hottest clubs is Reina, also located in Ortaköy. More than just a bar, it hosts several restaurants and bars that can accommodate over 2000 people. It’s packed with celebrities and internationals, and its many different establishments offer different vibes, but on the whole the place doesn’t look kindly on casual attire, so suit up.
360 in Beyoğlu is worth a visit, but just in case everyone else got there first, have a backup plan, because it’s not easy to get into after midnight. If you manage it, you won’t regret it - the view of the city is amazing and while the cover charge is steep, the music is great and the crowd is choice.
Along and around the Istiklal Caddesi in Beyoğlu are numerous hotspots, some just for tourists and others consistently popular with in-the-know locals. One club that attracts a diverse crowd of electronic music fans is Indigo. If any variety of techno, trance, progressive house, tech-house, trance disco, nu disco, indie, and electro-rock is your thing, make sure to check it out - it’s a haven for both international djs and live acts. The drinks are not cheap, but it might be justified in the name of the amazing music.
Speaking of great music - the live performance space Babylon has established itself over the last decade as the venue for live music in a number of genres including jazz, reggae, world, electro, Latin, Turkish vibe, indie pop, and rock. Drinks are served, food is not, and the concerts are often sold out, so book a ticket early or stop by in the early evening to see if there’s last-minute availability.
A Unique Locale on the Water
One of the hottest clubs in town is not quite in it - but rather just offshore. On an island in the Bosphorus just off the European shore in Kuruçeşme, which was constructed in 1872 by the head architect of the Ottoman palace, sits a three-story mansion that now houses glamorous events at its pool, nightclub, and six varied restaurants. Suada is a hot ticket and a night to remember.
That’s barely the tip of the iceberg - come see for yourself why Istanbul is one of the most exciting scenes in Europe!