A city full of zest, Istanbul has a chockful of surprises even after sundown. In this article, we’ll be zooming into the best of Istanbul nightlife — where a melting pot of tourists and locals mingle like there’s no tomorrow.
Whether you’re a party animal or just looking for a cool place to chill, you can certainly find the perfect nightlife spot in Istanbul. Here’s the ultimate list of bars, clubs, and music halls for you to fully savor Istanbul at night.
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Nightlife in Istanbul: 17 best bars and clubs
1. Sortie Club & Dining
Istanbul is widely known as the only city that sits on both Asia and Europe. If your time in the city is short, why choose between the two glamorous continents? Enjoy a night at Sortie, a nightclub in Istanbul that is located in Kuruçeşme — a prime spot in Bosphorus. This club allows guests to relish in the oriental beauty of Istanbul while having a view of the European side.
Although relatively young, Sortie has attracted many visitors with its stylish open-air rooms overlooking the Bosphorus strait. It has a modern look most young people would enjoy. Aside from its location and aesthetic, Sortie also prides itself on serving sumptuous food and good music. Fancy a night of wine and dine? This spot is definitely for you!
2. Ulus 29
A fine dining restaurant and a trendy club combined, Ulus 29 doesn’t disappoint. Staffed with world-renowned chefs, this Istanbul bar is the perfect spot for foodies who appreciate artisan dishes.
Strategically located, Ulus 29 is perched atop the Ulus hill, providing guests with panoramic views of the Bosphorus. Its interiors are just as spectacular — while adorned with modern fixtures, Ulus 29 still oozes of the classic yet timeless vibes it has had since 1993.
If you’re ready to splurge for an amazing night in Istanbul, head over to Ruby. For partygoers, this nightclub has the most elite crowd and luxurious experiences. You can either chill at the waterside garden, or enjoy your drinks from their gazebo. Either way, you get fantastic views of Bosphorus.
Practically a three-story mansion, Ruby offers more than the regular nightlife. It boasts of award-winning bartenders who serve signature cocktails and delectable snacks.
4. Beer Hall
Every day feels like Oktoberfest in Beer Hall. Without a doubt, this pub is one of the most fun and quirky bars in Istanbul. Its festive and free-spirited aesthetics match the very culture of Beer Hall goers — most locals love unwinding here after work. Aside from typical bar food, Beer Hall also sells traditional Turkish beers and bar food. When in Beer Hall, try out Bomonti and Tuborg!
Contemporary and traditional flawlessly mingles in 360istanbul, a rooftop bar and restaurant acclaimed to be one of the world’s best nightlife areas in Istanbul. Towering atop a 19th-century apartment, 360istanbul gets its name from its panoramic view of Istanbul. The Bosphorus strait, the Hagia Sophia mosque, and the Sea of Marmara are just a few attractions visible from this penthouse.
As for the cuisine, 360istanbul offers fusion food of Turkish and international delicacies. On the weekends, the bar offers live artists for guest to enjoy parties all night.
Founded in 1999, Babylon has been the go-to music hall in Istanbul for ages. It’s become a tradition for this bar to welcome diverse sets of local and international artists to jam with its guests every night. Visit Babylon, and you’ll get a true taste of the Turkish music culture. Live music couldn’t get any better than this!
7. Litera Restaurant
Another spot with a scenic view of the Bosphorus, Litera Restaurant stands out with its elegant glass windows and outdoor garden areas. Since 2003, the resto-bar has been serenading visitors with live jazz music to go with their neo-classical Turkish dishes.
8. Alexandra Cocktail Bar
Romance takes place in Alexandra Cocktail Bar, a historic tavern tucked in the bustling Arnavutköy. Festooned with cosmopolitan decor, this bar welcomes a large number of visitors regularly.
Alexandra Cocktail Bar’s best-selling cocktails, Xanax and Passiflora, are a must-try if you’re on an Istanbul pub crawl. If you’re feeling more adventurous, knock twice on the counter and wait for the bartender to serve you Alexandra’s infamous Knock! Knock! cocktail.
9. Urban Cafe
It’s easy to disregard Taksim nightlife when one gets overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle. But, don’t be fooled — this street actually offers a hidden gem! Urban Cafe, a cozy art bar in Taksim, is a local favorite. It’s a great spot for afternoon coffee, but it’s also as lovely during the evenings.
If you’re looking for a chill spot to enjoy a bottle of beer, head over to this laidback bar. Its reasonable prices make it even more ideal for singles who just want an intimate time with a small group of friends.
Music junkies seeking a zestful night will most likely enjoy MiniMüzikhol. Priding itself as a wild hipster escape, this mini club has been one of the top underground nightclubs in Istanbul for music and dance since 2009.
11. Bosphorus Brewing Company
What makes Bosphorus Brewing Company (BBC) stand out is the fact that it is both a brewery and a pub. Where Istanbul isn’t much known for local beers, BBC awes drinkers with their artisan drinks. Because of this, both locals and foreigners love visiting the pub.
Giving off a British bar vibe, BBC specializes in Pale Ale and bitter beer. They also serve sausages, cheese platters, fish and chips, and other typical British bar food with a Turkish twist.
12. Karga Bar
A quaint hub in Kadıköy, Karga Bar is easy to miss. Only those in the know tend to visit this pub, as its only signage is a teeny lit crow above its front door. Its interiors are mostly rustic and avant-garde, ornated with wooden knicknacks and dim light fixtures.
Plain as it may seem, Karga Bar is still one of the most fascinating pubs in Istanbul. Best visited during the winter, the bar offers a cozy fireplace where guests can enjoy their drinks. Every night, different musicians play in Karga Bar’s concert stage, too.
Arkaoda has long been a go-to indie bar for a variety of intimate events. From film screenings to themed markets, this club celebrates independent artists and organizations and regularly welcomes the most diverse groups of guests.
14. Zeplin Pub & Delicatessen
A quintessential pub crawl in Istanbul must include a visit to Zeplin, a popular bar at the heart of Moda Street. It’s nothing fancy — just a good old gastropub with a great selection of food and beverages. Do expect a crowd in Zeplin during the weekends, because many locals love hanging out here for the classic pub food. Just a tip: When in Zeplin, try out their shepherd’s pie, juicy burger and local beer!
15. The Populist
In 1890, The Populist was known as the Bomonti Beer Factory. Since then the brewery grew so much. By 2016, the brewery officially opened its doors as a bar for guests to enjoy the local craft beer. With this, although it is fairly young as a pub, The Populist boasts of its nostalgic ambiance as it preserved the old brewery’s amazing brick architecture.
16. Ayı Pub & Disko
From imported drinks to local beers, Ayı Pub & Disko has a wide selection for everyone. In fact, this bar is well-known for its 18-page drink menu! So if you’re keen on exploring different beverages and dancing to the beat of talented DJs, then Ayı is the place to be.
Note: As it now has four different locations in Istanbul, you might want to visit its original location at Moda.
17. Viktor Levi
A vintage wine house in Kadıköy, Viktor Levi is located in a historical mansion in Moda. They offer a wide selection of rich red, white, or rosé wines. They also render palatable dishes — including meze plates, pasta, steaks — to go with their wine. Make sure to drop by their classical garden when you’re in the area!
Tip: Before ordering a glass, you can ask the waiter to let you taste some of their best-sellers.
Best nightlife areas in Istanbul
Both the Asian and the European sides of Istanbul have a lot to offer. Nightlife spreads across the glitzy city, so you can enjoy Istanbul bars and clubs wherever you are. But if you want to go on a pub crawl, there are some notable neighborhoods in Istanbul that you can check out.
If you’re hanging out on the Asian side of Istanbul, we highly recommend exploring Kadıköy-Moda. During recent years, many new pubs have sprouted in this area. Further along the Bosphorus strait, you’ll find even more teeming nightlife spots, as you might’ve noticed in the bars we mentioned earlier.
More bars and clubs sprawl across the other side of the Bosphorus. Beyoğlu is one of the hottest nightlife areas in Istanbul, where some of the most quintessential pubs in the city find their home. Definitely don’t miss Taksim and Galata — neighboring tourist districts that are mostly known for the bustling İstiklal Street. (Side note: When in Beyoğlu, watch out for other cozier neighborhoods with under-the-radar pubs.)
Tips for enjoying the Istanbul nightlife
- You can enjoy the nightlife in Istanbul at any time of the year. But, do note that the best bars and clubs in Istanbul varies depending on the season. Typically, locals flock to open-air or rooftop bars during the summer. In the winter, underground bars are the liveliest.
- If you’re planning to make the most of the nightlife in Istanbul, pick an accommodation in the city center. Make sure the place is easily accessible and safe whatever time of the night.
- Jumpstart your exciting night with a Bosphorus dinner cruise. This activity allows you to witness the majestic Istanbul sunset — a lovely prelude to a vibrant Turkish night.
Other things to do in Istanbul at night
Apart from hitting the bars and clubs, here are other things to do at Istanbul at night:
- Relax in a Hammam
- Ride the Bosphorus dinner cruise
- Try out Turkish shisha
- Watch a Whirling Dervish show
- Visit mosques and museums
- Visit the Bosphorus bridge
- Go on an Istanbul night tour
- Visit the Galata Tower
Before you go, read about the best shopping spots and beaches in Istanbul and find out all that Turkey is known and famous for.