You may have an image in your mind of Istanbul and Turkey in general as being more of a conservative destination not really known for its party culture, while this is generally true, parts of Turkey are more liberal than you might expect and the Istanbul nightlife scene is no exception. While there are so many awesome things to do in Turkey, be sure to add partying to your list.
A bustling city with 15 and a half million people, if someone tells you the nightlife in Istanbul is no good then they haven’t been looking in the right spots. From secret clandestine nightclubs to open air rooftop bars and your classic dive bars – this amazingly diverse city has something for everyone. So grab your favourite drink, best reading chair and get ready for the only Istanbul nightlife guide you’ll ever need.
Best Istanbul Nightlife
Best Areas to Party in Istanbul
In our opinion, the best area to party in Istanbul is in the Beyoğlu district where everything is a little closer and within walking distance. Yes it’s full of tourists, scam artists and the likes, but if you want some great bars and clubs then we recommend checking this area out.
Kadıköy is across the Bosphorus Strait and can easily be reached by the ferry from the Karaköy pier which leaves quite regularly. This area is an up and coming hotspot that is slowly turning into a hipster hideout. WIth interesting dive bars, retro clubs and disco spots – it’s definitely a place you don’t want to miss. It’s cheap than the other areas as there are less tourists and more locals.
Beşiktaş is another great area which is more upscale and fancier than the others – it’s also one of the more expensive areas to party. Lots of cool pubs, cafes and clubs can be found here. It’s also a beautiful neighbourhood, and once you’re here you may not want to go anywhere else.
We don’t recommend staying in the main Fatih district if you plan on partying as this area is mainly full of mosques and religious sacred sites so you won’t find many nightclubs or bars around here. We recommend staying in the previous areas mentioned if you’re looking for the best Istanbul nightlife experience.
Istanbul Nightlife Costs
If you’ve been to Istanbul then you may have noticed that it’s quite cheap depending on where you’re coming from. At the time of writing this in 2022 the Turkish lira to US Dollar is at an all time low – so you’re money will go far, even though they are compensating for the exchange rate with inflation and by other means.
A typical beer at a bar will cost around $2 USD and around $5 at a nightclub. Bottle service will set you back at least $100, but this can be split with friends. Most clubs nightcharge cover, however it’s usually around $10-20.
Best Bars in Istanbul
Corner Irish Pub
If you want a great place to pre-drink with excellent draft beers on tap (they even have 1 liter glasses) then definitely don’t miss this pub right next to İstiklal walking street. With a cool outdoor patio that spills out onto the street, the place usually gets quite busy and can be a great place to meet others before going out and experiencing the Istanbul nightlife.
A trendy bar and beer garden in the heart of Beşiktaş that has become a popular spot in the hip district in recent years. They serve up amazing cocktails, a good craft beer selection, and mouthwatering food all wrapped up in a perfect social and fund atmosphere.
Ayı Pub & Disko
Now lets head over to the hip and trendy Kadıköy district for some cool dive bars, one of which is Ayı Pub & Disko, a great spot if you’re looking for that classic “pub atmosphere” and as a bonus it has a “disco” or club on the top floor.
Harp Irish Pub
Yet another Irish Pub in Istanbul (they love these here), if you’re looking for a place with a great atmosphere to pre-drink before heading out to experience Istanbul nightlife, then be sure check out Harp Irish Pub also in the Kadıköy district. It can get crowded at times but is quite large and has excellent outdoor seating.
While not necessarily a bar, Cheers Hostel is one of our favourite places to pre party and they’ll usually let visitors up to the bar at the top floor if they’re accompanied by a guest. In fact, any Cheers hostel in Istanbul is a great place to not only stay, but also to drink and meet others.
Nardis Jazz Club
Fancying a bit of jazz for your night out in Istanbul? Well, Nardis Jazz Club has you more than covered, located near the Galata tower in an old rustic building that further adds to the ambiance. It is a bit pricey and there is an entry fee, but what do you expect if you’re looking for great jazz music?
Make sure to book a table before arriving or you may have to sit at the bar or even stand, which may not be bad if you’re just stopping for a drink. They’re open until 1:00 am on the weekends so you can stay well into the night.
If you’re looking for a rooftop bar with spectacular views to start off your night then definitely come here. With a delicious award-winning restaurant, 360 degree views of the city below, a relaxing and fun atmosphere and excellent drinks – it’s a place you’ll be reluctant to leave.
It turns into a nightclub after midnight, so stick around if you’re looking to party into the night with epic views.
Best Clubs in Istanbul
This is our favourite ‘nightclub’ in Istanbul, though it also doubles as an awesome pre-drinking bar at the first floor. Conveniently located in the heart of Beyoğlu not far from İstiklal walking street, it’s a popular spot with both locals and foreigners.
The main club is at the very top floor with a DJ spinning a wide variety of music and dance floor where you can mingle with others. Occasionally the bartenders will magically set the bar on fire! You don’t want to miss this place if you’re looking for the best Istanbul nightlife.
Hands down one of the most happening nightlife spots in Istanbul, Babylon which used to be a brewery is now the heart of Istanbul’s music scene with a massive venue and stage with genres ranging from electronic to rock and pop. Located in the ever popular Sisli district, there are also cool bars and restaurants in the area if you’re not looking to go to a busy concert.
If you’re looking for a cool little club in the heart of Taksim that plays EDM, RnB and Reggaeton then check out Beat, one of our favourite clubs to really get a feel for Istanbul nightlife. It’s a little small and can get crowded, but it’s spread out on three floors so it’s definitely enjoyable. What a great way to mingle and meet new people.
Further up the Bosphorus Strait you’ll find the fancy and glamourous Oligark club located right next to the water with spectacular views of the Üsküdar district on the other side. This is one of the premier Istanbul nightlife spots and the sort of place you’d come with several friends and get a table with bottle service, and dance the night away with strangers.
It’s not just a nightlife spot, you can come here during the day to dine at their one-of-a-kind restaurant, watch the sunset and then party long into the night. As you might have imagined, it’s definitely upscale and not cheap.
Taksim Club IQ
A happening late night place located right on the İstiklal walking street which doesn’t get busy until around 1:00 am, it’s not for everyone but it’s a good place to get a bottle with friends, and the drinks are cheap enough for the area.
Escape Club Istanbul
Another great spot if you’re looking for a good Istanbul nightlife experience, Escape Club in Taksim is another great after party spot that gets very crowded after 1:00 am. They have different international DJ’s every night that play a wide variety of music.