Bars in Istanbul

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Just a decade ago, drinking in Istanbul meant downing raki and water at a meyhane or swilling Efes beer at a downscale bar. Now the city is ... Read More

Just a decade ago, drinking in Istanbul meant downing raki and water at a meyhane or swilling Efes beer at a downscale bar. Now the city is home to cocktail bars ranging from sleek (Efendi) to neighborhoody (Geyik), as well as cultish hole-in-the-walls (Alex’s Place), places with friendly regulars (Barba), and even breweries, like the Populist. For live music and dancing, Istanbul’s first nightclub, Babylon, remains a go-to.  

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  • Alex's Place

    Before he opened his hole-in-the-wall bar deep in Istiklal Caddesi (Beyoglu’s boozing district), American Alex Waldman tended bar at a now-defunct... Read More

  • Babylon

    Istanbul's first club—doors opened in 1999—is still going strong, albeit in a new venue: Bomontiada, the bar-restaurant-club complex housed in the... Read More

  • Barba

    Barba is Greek for “uncle,” the honorific by which drinkers in the Ottoman era addressed non-Muslim bar owners—and a traditional name for a contemporary... Read More

  • Efendi

    Blink and you'll miss this bar on a quiet side street in Nisantasi—unless you happen to pass by on a Friday or Saturday night, when the mostly Turkish... Read More

  • Geyik

    Coffee roaster by day and bar by night, Geyik has limited seating that keeps keep it a bit quieter than its neighbors in the hip Cihangir neighborhood.... Read More

  • The Populist

    Brewery-turned-bar the Populist—one of the more notable recent additions to Istanbul's booming craft-beer scene—occupies the former home of Bonomti, one... Read More

  • Unter Karakoy

    Housed in a 1960s corner shop, Unter was a pioneer when it opened on a dark backstreet in Karakoy in 2012. It still draws crowds, especially on the... Read More

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