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Istanbul’s nightlife scene is vibrant and immensely varied taking in everything from glam-quad rooftop bars and dimly-lit, always packed student haunts. Beyoğlu is the top nightlife hub on the European side of the Bosphorus, but across the strait on the Asian shore Kadıköy is also bar-central. To find out where’s hot and what’s on check out The Istanbul Guide (www.theguideistanbul.com) and Time Out Istanbul (www.timeoutistanbul.com).
Bars in Istanbul
Karga is a much-loved stalwart of the nightlife scene with well-priced drinks and local DJs turning up the volume to play house and techno until the wee hours. For a more chilled-out drinking vibe, come early and slouch out in their petite outdoor courtyard on a sunny Istanbul afternoon.Address:
Tel: +90 216 449 1725
It’s an oldie, but a goodie. 5 Kat (in English ‘Floor 5’) is fun, friendly and devoid of style pretentions. The lively young crowd who flock to this bar on (unsurprisingly) the 5th floor, are here for good times with friends and good music rather than to be see-and-be-seen.Address:
If you want a drink with a view, 360 is hands-down the best venue in town. In the evening, come early to score prime terrace seats with sunset panoramas of Istanbul spread out below. Due to those same vistas, this is also a cracking spot for lazy afternoon drinking sessions.Address:
Clubs in Istanbul
This waterfront club-restaurant is Istanbul’s glitziest after-dark address. Come here to rub shoulders with minor celebrities, quaff exorbitantly priced cocktails served by cooler-than-thou bar staff, and most importantly see-and-be-seen by everyone else. The music is excellent; just make sure you’re dressed to kill and have deep pockets.Address:
Tel: +90 212 259 5919
Klein is a kooky and dark subterranean wonderland of wackily over-the-top decoration (cue the gold-painted statues) with its tongue firmly in cheek. The crowd is mostly young, the DJs here dish up some of the best electronica sets in the city and the bar service is on-the-ball.Address:
By far the most hipster clubbing experience you could have in Istanbul; this is where the city’s cool kids head for a late night complete with Pop-Art interiors, and DJs who spin everything from disco funk to deep house. It’s small, so expect a squeeze on the dance floor.Address:
Tel: +90 212 245 1996
Live music in Istanbul
Nardis Jazz Club
Nardis may be small but this is one of the most venerable jazz venues in town. Major jazz artists from across the world all play sets here when they’re in town while the venue also shines a spotlight on local and up-and-coming jazz musicians.Address:
Tel: +90 212 244 6327
For a long time, Turkish folk music was hard to see performed live unless you could handle the atmosphere of slightly seedy, all-male clientele dive-bars. Munzur may be simple but it’s a clean, convivial and unthreatening venue which always has a great line-up of local folk musicians.Address:
Tel: +90 123 456 78 90
One of Istanbul’s most popular nightspots, and for good reason; Babylon’s live music program hosts everything from Latin and international rock, to world music and experimental jazz. On the rare occasions when there is no live music, DJs play decent house, and electronica.Address:
Tel: +90 212 292 7368
Babylon hosts a wide range of international rock, world and latin artists as well as staging adventurous experimental and jazz concerts. On the rare occasions when there is no live music at this popular Istanbul nightspot, local and international DJs and bands play decent house, techno and international sounds.Address:
Tel: (0212) 292 7368.
T”urk”u (sometimes described as ‘Turkish blues’) was for a long time associated with sleazy, all-male clip-joints. This great urban folk music has made a comeback in recent years, and Livane is a great place in Istanbul to encounter it live in convivial, unthreatening surroundings.Address:
Tel: (0216) 414 4096.
Nardis Jazz Club
Jazz plays a disproportionately large part in Istanbul’s nightlife, and this is one of the most venerable jazz venues in town, bringing in artists from all over the world. Nardis Jazz Club features live musicians every night, playing everything from classic to modern, fusion and ethnic jazz, and also serves food. For jazz lovers, there is no better night out in Istanbul.Address:
Tel: (0212) 244 6327.