Istanbul

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Istanbul - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Babylon Bomonti

    Nisantasi

    Istanbul's top live-music space occupies an entertainment complex in Bomonti that includes a hotel and the Populist brewery, on the other side of the Osmanbey...

    Istanbul's top live-music space occupies an entertainment complex in Bomonti that includes a hotel and the Populist brewery, on the other side of the Osmanbey metro stop from Nişantaşı. It hosts world-famous performers in genres ranging from jazz, indie pop, and rock to world music and electronica, along with pop-up events, alternative theater performances, and film screenings. The 500-person capacity venue has a top sound system and friendly crowds that take their music seriously. In summer, the action moves to Babylon Kilyos, on Istanbul's Black Sea coast, and Babylon Aya Yorgi in the beach town of Çeşme, near İzmir.

    Birahane Sok., Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
    212-334–0100
  • 2. Salon İKSV

    Beyoglu

    This top-notch performance space is housed in the headquarters and cultural center of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), one of the city's...

    This top-notch performance space is housed in the headquarters and cultural center of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), one of the city's most important arts organizations. The concert lineup for this intimate venue features both local and international acts spanning a wide range of genres, including jazz, rock, alternative, and world music.

    Sadi Konuralp Cad. 5, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
    212-334–0841-for ticket info and box office (Mon.–Sat. 10–6)

    Nightlife Details

    Rate Includes: Closed June–mid-Sept.
  • 3. A'ya Lounge

    Sultanahmet

    Sultanahmet doesn't have many noteworthy nightlife spots, but the open-air rooftop lounge at the Four Seasons Sultanahmet is an inviting place to have a drink....

    Sultanahmet doesn't have many noteworthy nightlife spots, but the open-air rooftop lounge at the Four Seasons Sultanahmet is an inviting place to have a drink. Relax in comfortable deck furniture as you take in the spectacular views of the Aya Sofya and Blue Mosque lit up at night. The lounge closes at 11 pm.

    Tevkifhane Sok. 1, Istanbul, Istanbul, 34110, Turkey
    212-402–3000
  • 4. Balkon

    Beyoglu

    A sixth-floor bar and lounge, Balkon has excellent views of the Golden Horn and a laid-back outdoor deck atop the By Murat Crown Hotel. Drink...

    A sixth-floor bar and lounge, Balkon has excellent views of the Golden Horn and a laid-back outdoor deck atop the By Murat Crown Hotel. Drink prices are reasonable compared to those at most other rooftop bars in the area.

    Şehbender Sok. 5, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
    212-293–2052
  • 5. Bebek Bar

    Bosphorus

    With an interior decor that brings to mind an old-school private club and a breezy terrace overlooking the Bosphorus, Bebek Bar attracts a dressed-up crowd....

    With an interior decor that brings to mind an old-school private club and a breezy terrace overlooking the Bosphorus, Bebek Bar attracts a dressed-up crowd. There is a particularly wide selection of liqueurs, Scotch, and other spirits, as well as classic cocktails, making it a perfect spot for a before- or after-dinner drink.

    Cevdet Paşa Cad. 34, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
    212-358–2000

    Nightlife Details

    Rate Includes: Closed in winter
  • 6. Finn Karaköy

    Karaköy

    This trendy spot serves a wide variety of stylish cocktails to an eclectic crowd. There is an accompanying food menu, but the cocktails are the...

    This trendy spot serves a wide variety of stylish cocktails to an eclectic crowd. There is an accompanying food menu, but the cocktails are the true focus here. There is often a DJ on weekends for a lively vibe.

    Necatibey Cad. 8, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
    530-946–0888
  • 7. Geyik

    Beyoglu

    A hip spot in the Cihangir neighborhood, Geyik is known for its well-balanced, expertly prepared cocktails. It can get crowded on weekends, with patrons often...

    A hip spot in the Cihangir neighborhood, Geyik is known for its well-balanced, expertly prepared cocktails. It can get crowded on weekends, with patrons often spilling out onto the sidewalk.

    Akarsu Ykş. Sok. 22, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
    532-773–0013
  • 8. Karga Bar

    Asian Side

    The longest-established and most popular venue on Kadıköy's so-called Barlar Sokağı (Bars Street), Karga takes up several levels of an old wooden house, whose many...

    The longest-established and most popular venue on Kadıköy's so-called Barlar Sokağı (Bars Street), Karga takes up several levels of an old wooden house, whose many small rooms and intimate niches make it the perfect laid-back hangout. There is often live music on weekends in winter and occasional art events. There's no sign out front, so look for a building with a green facade and an emblem of a crow over the doorway (karga means "crow" in Turkish).

    Kadife Sok. 16, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
    216-449–1725
  • 9. Lâl

    Asian Side

    The best thing about this low-key café–bar on Kadıköy's main nightlife street is the large courtyard in the back, where patrons gather around tables and...

    The best thing about this low-key café–bar on Kadıköy's main nightlife street is the large courtyard in the back, where patrons gather around tables and an old, distinctive tree. In cooler months, the rustic interior is a cozy place to chat.

    Kadife Sok. 19, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
    216-346–5625
  • 10. Nardis Jazz Club

    Beyoglu

    One of Istanbul's few dedicated jazz venues, the well-regarded Nardis Jazz Club hosts mainly Turkish musicians, with the occasional big name from abroad. The cozy,...

    One of Istanbul's few dedicated jazz venues, the well-regarded Nardis Jazz Club hosts mainly Turkish musicians, with the occasional big name from abroad. The cozy, intimate space only has room for 110, so reservations are strongly recommended.

    Kuledibi Sok. 14, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
    212-244–6327

    Nightlife Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and all of Aug.
  • 11. Ruby

    Bosphorus

    Overlooking the Ortaköy waterfront, Ruby offers a classy atmosphere and more intimate feel than the larger nightclubs farther up the Bosphorus. Dinner is served to...

    Overlooking the Ortaköy waterfront, Ruby offers a classy atmosphere and more intimate feel than the larger nightclubs farther up the Bosphorus. Dinner is served to a well-heeled crowd before the venue turns into a dance club.

    Muallim Naci Cad., Salhane Sok. 5, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
    212-327–2844
  • 12. Şahika

    Beyoglu

    On a narrow street lined with basic beer joints and meyhanes serving mostly identical food menus, Şahika offers something more unusual. The lively, multistory venue...

    On a narrow street lined with basic beer joints and meyhanes serving mostly identical food menus, Şahika offers something more unusual. The lively, multistory venue has a different concept and ambience on each level, ranging from a pub atmosphere on the street level to casual lounge areas on the middle floors to a clublike vibe on the terrace, which also has excellent views of the Golden Horn.

    Nevizade Sok. 5, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
    212-249–6196
  • 13. Solera Winery

    Beyoglu

    This intimate, dimly lit wine bar near Galatasaray Square has a long, mostly Turkish wine list and a knowledgeable staff to guide you through it....

    This intimate, dimly lit wine bar near Galatasaray Square has a long, mostly Turkish wine list and a knowledgeable staff to guide you through it.

    Yeni Çarşı Cad. 44, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
    212-252–2719
  • 14. The W Lounge

    Besiktas

    The stylish yet comfortable lounge/bar in the W Hotel has plush divans, low tables, and signature cocktails, drawing a sophisticated, trendy crowd. There is always...

    The stylish yet comfortable lounge/bar in the W Hotel has plush divans, low tables, and signature cocktails, drawing a sophisticated, trendy crowd. There is always a DJ on the decks, and the lounge frequently hosts after-parties for fashion-, music-, and design-related events.

    Süleyman Seba Cad. 22, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
    212-381–2121
  • 15. Ghetto

    Beyoglu | Live Music

    With an excellent sound system and attractively furnished premises on two levels, Ghetto brings in a diverse lineup of Turkish and international...

    With an excellent sound system and attractively furnished premises on two levels, Ghetto brings in a diverse lineup of Turkish and international musical acts performing a varierty of genres. The club is closed Sundays.

    Kamer Hatun Cad. 10, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
    212-251–7501
  • 16. Leb-i Derya

    Beyoglu

    The reward for finding this sixth-floor rooftop restaurant and bar—in an apartment building with only a small sign out front—is a magnificent view overlooking the...

    The reward for finding this sixth-floor rooftop restaurant and bar—in an apartment building with only a small sign out front—is a magnificent view overlooking the Bosphorus and the Old City. The small venue is popular with an almost-too-hip crowd of locals and expats who come for the cocktails and the views, so you may have to wait for a table or stand by the bar if you show up without reservations.

    Kumbaracı Yokuşu 57/6, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
    212-293–4989
  • 17. NuTeras

    Beyoglu

    The rooftop of a historic building (known as NuPera) with wonderful views of the Golden Horn is home to one of Istanbul's trendiest nightclubs. There's...

    The rooftop of a historic building (known as NuPera) with wonderful views of the Golden Horn is home to one of Istanbul's trendiest nightclubs. There's a chic bar and small dance floor, with sleek decor and a fashionable crowd to match the striking location. NuTeras is entirely open-air, so it's only open from late spring through early fall.

    Meşrutiyet Cad. 67, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
    212-245–6070

    Nightlife Details

    Rate Includes: Closed mid-Oct.—mid May
  • 18. 5. Kat

    Beyoglu

    A rather pricey restaurant that turns into a trendy lounge/bar later in the evening, 5. Kat is on the fifth floor of an unassuming building...

    A rather pricey restaurant that turns into a trendy lounge/bar later in the evening, 5. Kat is on the fifth floor of an unassuming building in the quiet Cihangir neighborhood and offers wonderful views of the Bosphorus—along with great cocktails. With its wooden furniture and potted plants, the upper-level terrace (open only in warm months) makes you feel like you're passing the time on somebody's roof deck.

    Soğancı Sok. 3, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
    212-293–3774
  • 19. Araf

    Beyoglu

    Located on one of Istanbul's busiest nightlife strips, Araf is usually packed to the gills with a young, energetic, and unpretentious crowd that likes to...

    Located on one of Istanbul's busiest nightlife strips, Araf is usually packed to the gills with a young, energetic, and unpretentious crowd that likes to dance their hearts out to funky beats. Sunday through Thursday nights generally feature live bands playing Turkish folk, Balkan/Gypsy, or reggae/ska music, while on weekends a DJ spins music from around the world. There's no cover charge.

    Balo Sok. 32, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
    212-244–8301
  • 20. Colonie

    Karaköy

    This industrial-chic bar-restaurant near the Tophane end of Karaköy serves up unique cocktails to a hip young crowd. If you’re hungry, there are plenty of...

    This industrial-chic bar-restaurant near the Tophane end of Karaköy serves up unique cocktails to a hip young crowd. If you’re hungry, there are plenty of interesting noshes on the menu, which features pan-Asian flavors. DJs often keep the place lively well after the kitchen closes.

    Kemankeş Cad. 87/A, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
    212-243–2103

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