Istanbul is an incredibly vibrant place bursting with culture, breath-taking natural beauty, and incredible architecture. If you're looking into what's there to do in Istanbul, you're in luck! But what about Istanbul's nightlife? How's Istanbul's nightlife?
You are in luck! Istanbul is known for its incredible nightlife with a bar, pub, or club to suit everyone's taste. Istanbul is a vast city, and you can't leave Turkey's capital without having sipped on a swanky drink overlooking the Bosphorus and taking in the skyline.
However, Istanbul is massive. Over 15 million in population and more than 2.6 times the size of New York City huge. It's easy to get lost in the crowds, both literally and metaphorically speaking. That's why we recommend travelers to pick where they're staying in Istanbul strategically to avoid commute time and potential traffic. If you've gotten all that sorted out, let's get to the fun part: exploring the nightlife of Istanbul.
Here is my list of the city's most extraordinary and unique bars and pubs without further ado. Make sure to consider these places in your itinerary of nightlife to explore in Istanbul while you're there!
Top bars/pubs to visit in Istanbul
This is one of the hippest bars at the moment, with a collection of wacky cocktails that you can't miss. You can't leave the city without having sipped on a cocktail watching the sunset from this spectacular spot. Monkey Istanbul attracts a young crowd, so you will feel right at home.
Mikla Rooftop Bar
Mikla at the Marmara Pera Hotel is unique because it has pretty much everything you can ask for to have an incredible night out. Rooftop bar, restaurant, and even a rooftop pool. Head to Mikla's for a cocktail with a stylish vibe. If you want a bite to eat and are ready to splurge, head over to the restaurant section.
This restaurant has been rated as one of the top restaurants in the world in 2019.
At the top of the Swissotel, The Bosphorus Istanbul, this multi-level terrace really comes to life with live acts and DJs on the weekends. You can dine at the lower levels of the deck or move to the top-level lounge with standing tables and a bar in the center. This is the perfect spot for dinners and lounge cocktails any day of the week.
You'll find this gem in one of Beyoğlu's most vibrant spots. A little intimate bar with a laid-back atmosphere. In the summer months, the crowd spills out into the street, making this a spot where it's easy to meet people in the buzzing crowd.
A hangout for the hip traveler, Finn Karaköy is known for its unique cocktail menu that helps you decide your drink of choice based on your mood with hashtags. So, if you are #feelingdangerous, you should try out the "Witches Brew" cocktail.
This bar is nestled in a district known for its many antique shops, so it is bound to ooze classic chandeliers and vintage furniture. Enjoy traditional, classic cocktails in this speakeasy-inspired cocktail bar.
Alexandra Cocktail Bar
Another rooftop bar with views to blow your mind. Alexandra Cocktail Bar has a distinctly Latin American vibe. It is popular amongst locals if you want to strike up a conversation with a handsome stranger. If you are looking for a change of scenery, just head down to the lower levels of the same building for a completely different vibe.
The large multi-story bar gives you plenty of options to enjoy your cocktails. It's located in the upscale neighborhood of Arnavutköy in a renovated old building that makes you feel extra sophisticated sipping on your drink.
Entering Halet-i Ruhiye will make you feel like you just stepped into a completely different world. The decor is reminiscent of the past during the Ottoman era. It's a small bar, so beware it can get crowded quickly. Try to get there early to soak up the atmosphere and the interior. Try one of their sour drinks - it's their specialty.
A small and intimate but very well-known bar often frequented by celebrities. It's even received an award for being one of the Best New Bars in the city. The place fills up quickly, so consider making a reservation.
FLEKK, a popular cocktail bar, is known for its vibrant, syrup-free cocktails. It's a real neighborhood bar, so during the warmer months, you'll find people chatting away and drinking outside.
Moretenders Cocktail Crib
A vibrant, speak-easy style bar with live music and another excellent haunt for cocktail-lovers in the heart of Galata. Gin-drinkers are incredibly spoiled for choice here as they offer a wide variety of gin-based cocktails.
Craft Beer Lab
If you are a beer lover, this is the perfect spot for you. The extensive beer menu has something for everyone's taste. But if beer isn't your thing, you can also enjoy cocktails or any other non-alcoholic option in the sunny beer garden.
The top tips for an unforgettable night in Istanbul
When to go:
The time of year dictates the nightlife a bit. In the summer, you'll find open-air festivals and bustling parties on the Bosphorus and open rooftops in the city.
In the winter, the big terraces close, and nightlife moves indoors to clubs and bars in the heart of the city. If this is a deal-breaker for you: plan your trip with the season in mind.
Where to stay:
Istanbul is a massive city, and the nightlife and the main touristy sights are not exactly next to each other.
You might want to consider staying close to the more vibrant neighborhoods at night, such as Taksim, to spare you the hassle of traveling across the city of Istanbul in the wee hours of the morning.
If you're looking for an affordable accommodation option, why not check out Istanbul's top Hostels?
How to get the most out of the nightlife in a limited time
If you don't want to waste time making any decisions but just show up for a good time, I'd recommend some of Istanbul's Pub Crawls. A pub crawl is always a good decision. Check out the two options here and also here.
More Frequently Asked Questions:
How expensive is alcohol in Istanbul?
In the past three years, prices in Istanbul have gone up a lot, so it might not be as cheap as you expect. However, you won't be paying the same as partying in some Western European capitals. Alcohol prices especially are more on par with that of Eastern Europe.
Is it safe to go out as a female to Istanbul's Pub Crawl?
Going out in Istanbul, pub crawl or not, is no different from many other big cities. You should always take some basic safety precautions. People in Istanbul are pretty accustomed to tourists and solo female travelers. However, if you wander far away from the central going-out areas, you might experience unwanted attention. A general tip is to always buddy up if possible, drink responsibly, and know your way home.
Plan for a night out in Istanbul with Pilot.
Istanbul is a stunning city to visit, and you're guaranteed to have tons of fun while you're there. You'll need a good travel plan to keep you on track and ensure you hit all the attractions you want to visit. Sounds like a job perfect for Pilot!