Best Turkish Hookah In Istanbul: 10 Places For Smoking Shisha

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Post author Nicky

Written by our local expert Nicky

Nicky, originally from the UK, is now a local in Turkey. She moved to Marmaris, Türkiye for love 12 years ago and is now your Turkey travel planner.

If you want an authentic experience in Istanbul that means trying hookah for possibly the first time. If it’s not your first time, the good news is that hookah places are ten a penny across the city, and whether you have a firm favorite flavor or you’re still trying to find it, there’s plenty of choice.

My guide will help you to discover the best hookah lounge in Istanbul.

Turkey Travel Blog_Best Turkish Hookah In Istanbul

What is Hookah, Also Known As Shisha In Turkey?

Hookah, also known as shisha or water pipe, is a traditional Middle Eastern smoking device that has gained popularity worldwide. It consists of a water-filled base, a metal or ceramic bowl, a hose, and a mouthpiece. The device is typically made from glass or stainless steel and is beautifully decorated.

The practice of smoking hookah involves placing flavored tobacco, known as shisha, in a bowl and heating it with charcoal. As the tobacco heats up, it produces smoke that is drawn through the water in the base, cooling and filtering it before it is inhaled through the hose and mouthpiece. The water in the base helps to remove impurities and delivers a smooth smoking experience.

The shisha tobacco used in hookah comes in various flavors such as fruity, minty, herbal, and even coffee or chocolate-based options. These flavors add to the pleasurable and aromatic experience of smoking hookah.

Hookah smoking is unlike traditional cigarette smoking. It is more of a social activity, often enjoyed in groups, where friends gather around, relax, and engage in conversation while sharing the smoke. The relaxed and communal nature of hookah smoking is a big part of its appeal.

There are many hookah bars across both sides of Istanbul, offering a variety of shisha flavors, along with snacks and beverages. The great thing about these places is the laid-back, friendly atmosphere and the mixture of locals and tourists.

You don’t have to be a regular smoker to try hookah. In fact, many non-smokers try it to say they’ve experienced a part of traditional Turkish culture while in Istanbul.

Where To Smoke In Istanbul: 10 Best Hookah Lounges

1. Lulu Hookah Lounge

Pürtelaş Hasan Efendi, Mahallesi, Meclis-i Mebusan Cd. No:61, 34427 Fındıklı/Beyoğlu

Taksim has many shisha lounges, but I think Lulu is the best. It has a very modern décor, and there are stunning views over the Bosphorus. However, considering the view, it’s a lounge with lower prices, especially compared to some of the more expensive ones in Besiktas.

It’s a cozy and intimate place with a large coffee and tea menu. Of course, they also serve all manner of different hookah flavors, and the staff is on hand to help you choose. If you’re a beginner, they’ll also show you what to do.

2. Çorlulu Ali Paşa Nargile Cafe

Mollafenari, Yeniçeriler Cd. No:38, 34120 Fatih

If you want a very traditional hookah experience, head to this lounge in Fatih. It’s less trendy and more authentic. They serve tea, coffee, and cake. They also serve small meals, including a range of meze.

Many locals enjoy the sociable atmosphere here, which is a great place to soak up the area’s traditions. The lounge is also set in an old building, so you’ve got great architecture all around you.

3. Serbethane Cafe – Ideal Place To Relax

Sultanahmet Mahallesi Arasta Çarşısı Sokağı No:98, 34122 Fatih

Outdoor seating at a quaint cafe with patterned cushions and Turkish flags, exuding a cozy and traditional ambiance, completes the setting with hookah available in Istanbul.
Photo Credit: Serbethane Cafe

If you’re staying in the Sultanahmet area, you’ll find plenty of hookah cafes, but I think Serbethane Café is the best. This is a comfortable and cute-looking spot where you can sit outside under the heaters and enjoy the weather, no matter the time of year.

They sell food and drinks, so you can have your evening meal there and then sit and relax with some hookah of your choice.

4. Dürbün Cafe

Hobyar, Yalı Köşkü Cd. No:22 Kat:4, 34112 Fatih

Dürbün Cafe is another local-friendly place. In the evenings, it’s packed with locals enjoying each other’s company and having deep conversations. It gets particularly busy on the weekends, so perhaps avoid those times to avoid disappointment.

This café offers a range of light meals and is also an excellent spot for breakfast. Unlike many hookah lounges, it doesn’t serve alcohol, but it does serve great tea and coffee.


Kuruçeşme, Muallim Naci Cd. No:56, 34345 Beşiktaş

If you’re looking for a trendy hookah lounge with a stunning Bosphorus view, it has to be HUQQA. This is a pretty upmarket spot, but it’s very comfortable and has a unique atmosphere no matter when you visit.

You can choose to sit indoors or outdoors, and not only do they have a very large menu of different hookah flavors, but they also serve fantastic food and drinks too. However, if you want to visit at the weekend, it’s best to prebook as it gets jam-packed.

6. Rembetiko Cafe

Caferağa, Moda Bostanı Sk. No:30/A, 34710 Kadıköy

Located on the Asian side of the city, Rembetiko Café is a cozy and comfortable spot to enjoy some hookah. You can sit indoors or outdoors, but the café isn’t that large, so it’s best to get there early if you want to secure a seat.

The café also sells a range of teas and coffees, including fruit teas, and it makes great cakes.

7. Miran Nargile Café

Alemdar, Biçki Yurdu Sk. no:1 D:101, 34122 Fatih

As you can see, many of the authentic hookah spots are in the Fatih area, and this one is no different. It’s a great idea to sit outside on the old wooden stools alongside the traditional decorated carpets.

The hookah menu is extensive, and you can enjoy tea or coffee while you chat. The staff are very helpful, and if you’ve never tried hookah before, just let them know, and they’ll help you out.

8. Mahzen Cafe & Nargile

Çengelköy, Fıçıcı Sokak No:6, 34680 Üsküdar

A stylish outdoor seating area of a cafe with patterned flooring, comfortable furniture, decorative plants, and hookahs in Istanbul.
Photo Credit: Mahzen Cafe & Nargile

Compared to many other spots in Istanbul, Uskudar has a more authentic way of life, which is why there are plenty of hookah cafes. Mahzen Café & Nargile is one of the best, and it’s a comfortable spot with a Bosphorus view. However, it doesn’t come with the view price tag, which is always useful.

This café offers light bites, tea, coffee, and soft drinks. It also occasionally plays live music. However, the main focus is enjoying the view with some hookah and good friends.

9. Black Shisha

Acıbadem, Şht. Emin Çölen Sokağı No:4, 34718 Kadıköy

Kadikoy is a trendy part of the Asian side of Istanbul, and it’s also a spot where you can find Black Shisha. This is a comfortable yet stylish place to try hookah, yet it doesn’t come with the price tags you’ll find on the European side.

This spot gets very busy during the weekends, so it’s a good idea to get there early or perhaps try mid-week instead.

10. AZURE The Bosphorus – Perfect For Beginners

Pürtelaş Hasan Efendi, Fındıklı, Meclis-i Mebusan Cd. No:47, 34427 Beyoğlu

Hands down, the fanciest and trendiest spot for hookah is AZURE The Bosphorus. Not only does this spot have the most amazing view, but they also have a fantastic menu of delicious Mediterranean meals. You can have dinner and then hookah for dessert!

They also have a great cocktail menu and, of course, a huge range of different hookah flavors to choose from. This is the perfect place for beginners because it gives you somewhere to practice away from the traditional environment where everyone else is quite experienced.

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The History Of Hookah In Turkish Culture, Dating Back To The Ottoman Empire

Nicky smoking a shish on a couch in Istanbul.

The history of hookah, also known as nargile or shisha in Turkey, is steeped in tradition, culture, and community.

The origins of hookah can be traced back to India in the 16th century, but it was the Ottomans who perfected its design and introduced it to the world. The love affair between Turkey and hookah began during the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, who was known for his fondness for this social ritual. As the practice gained popularity among the upper classes, it gradually spread to all segments of Turkish society, becoming a shared ritual that transcended social boundaries.

The heart and soul of the hookah experience lies in the vibrant Turkish coffee houses, known as “kahvehane,” which became the hub of social interactions. Here, people from all walks of life would gather to relax, converse, and enjoy the pleasures of hookah.

Over time, hookah smoking became deeply intertwined with Turkish culture and traditions. It became a symbol of hospitality, friendship, and warm welcomes. These days, hookah is not just a hobby; it is an integral part of Turkish hospitality. Inviting someone to share a hookah is an expression of warmth and genuine regard.

What Are The Best Hookah Flavours To Try?

Nicky smoking a hookah on a couch in Istanbul.

Shisha lounges are renowned for their diverse and exciting range of flavors, catering to a wide variety of tastes and preferences. Here are some of the most popular hookah flavors you might like to try.

  • Double Apple. This classic flavor is a timeless favorite that combines the sweetness of red and green apples. It has fruity, slightly tart notes
  • Mint. Mint flavor is highly sought after, refreshing, and invigorating, especially during warm weather or after a heavy meal. It provides a cool, icy sensation that leaves a crisp and minty taste
  • Watermelon. Known for its juicy and summery taste, watermelon flavor is a hit among hookah enthusiasts. It delivers a sweet and succulent aroma, which is very much in line with the fruit
  • Blueberry. This flavor offers a burst of sweetness and tanginess, capturing the essence of fresh blueberries
  • Peach. With its delightful aroma and sweet, juicy taste, peach provides a mellow and subtly tangy experience
  • Grape. Grape flavor is a timeless classic that remains a top choice for many hookah enthusiasts. It has both sweetness and a hint of tartness
  • Coconut. The coconut flavor is cherished for its creamy and tropical taste. It transports you to sandy beaches and faraway destinations

These are just a few examples of the wide variety of hookah flavors available on the market, with countless others continually being introduced.

A Few Things About Hookah Etiquette

A neon hookah lounge sign on a brick wall in Istanbul.

If you go to a hookah lounge, you’ll have your own hookah for you and your group. However, it’s possible that you’ll be invited to one of these places with a local, or maybe you simply haven’t done it before, and you’re not sure of the dos and don’ts.

While there aren’t any solid rules to hookah, here are a few pointers.

  • Respect the host. If you are attending a hookah gathering at someone’s home or a hookah lounge, it’s important to respect the host’s rules and preferences. Ask about the specific etiquette they follow and be mindful of their guidance
  • Cleanliness. Always keep the hookah area clean and tidy. Avoid placing ash or charcoal on the floor or table, and use the provided ashtray. This helps maintain a hygienic environment for everyone to enjoy
  • Puff, don’t inhale. Hookah smoking is about enjoying the flavors and the social atmosphere. Take slow, gentle puffs without fully inhaling the smoke into your lungs. It’s not a competition; take your time to savor the experience
  • Sharing is caring. Hookah smoking is a communal activity, so be mindful of others and share the hookah equally. Pass the hose or mouthpiece to the person on your left, allowing everyone to have a turn. However, everyone will have a ‘mouth shield’ to maintain hygiene
  • Communicate with courtesy. If you need to step away or pass on your turn, communicate politely and respectfully. Use phrases like “May I have a pass?” or “I need a break, please” to ensure clear and considerate communication
  • Exhaling with care. When exhaling, be mindful of the direction of your breath. Avoid blowing smoke directly into someone’s face or toward any non-smokers nearby. Exhale away from people and towards a well-ventilated area
  • Be mindful of non-smokers. Not everyone enjoys hookah smoke, so it’s important to be considerate of non-smokers. If you’re smoking in a public space or at a friend’s place, ensure there is ample ventilation and that non-smokers are comfortable with the smoke
  • Avoid double dipping. Double-dipping, where you take a puff and immediately take another one without passing the hose, is generally frowned upon. Pass the hose in turn to give everyone a fair chance to enjoy the hookah

Hookah Istanbul Frequently Asked Questions


What is a hookah lounge?

A hookah lounge is a social establishment where people can relax and enjoy smoking flavored tobacco, known as shisha, through a water pipe or hookah. It’s a popular activity in Istanbul and many other countries.

Why should I visit a hookah lounge in İstanbul?

Istanbul is known for its vibrant hookah culture, offering a unique and memorable experience. The city boasts a wide variety of hookah lounges that cater to different atmospheres, tastes, and preferences. From traditional to modern, each lounge offers its own charm and ambiance, making it a must-try experience while in Istanbul.

How can I find the best hookah lounges in Istanbul?

To find the best hookah lounges in Istanbul, you can explore online directories, review websites, or ask locals for recommendations. Additionally, this blog provides a curated list of Istanbul’s best hookah lounges, ensuring you have an excellent starting point for your adventure.

What factors should I consider when choosing a hookah lounge?

Factors to consider include the ambiance/atmosphere, quality of service, variety of shisha flavors, lounge cleanliness, pricing, location, and customer reviews. Each person may have different preferences, so it’s important to find a hookah lounge that aligns with your personal tastes.

Can I visit hookah bars if I’ve never smoked before?

Yes, hookah lounges are welcoming to both experienced smokers and beginners. The staff is friendly and helpful, willing to guide you through the process if you’re new to hookah smoking. Just let them know, and they will assist you accordingly.

Are there any age restrictions for visiting hookah lounges in Istanbul?

In Turkey, the legal smoking age is 18, so most hookah lounges enforce this restriction as well. You will generally be required to show valid identification proving your age before entering the premises. It’s important to respect the law and the policies of each establishment.

Can I order food and drinks at hookah lounges?

Yes, many hookah bars in Istanbul offer a variety of food and drink options to complement your hookah experience. From traditional Turkish coffee and tea to delicious snacks, desserts, and even full meals, you’ll find what you’re looking for.

Do I need to make a reservation at hookah lounges in Istanbul?

While most hookah bars in Istanbul accept walk-ins, it’s generally recommended to make a reservation, especially during peak hours or if you have a specific lounge in mind. This ensures you’ll have a guaranteed spot and avoids potential disappointment if the lounge is full.

Is it customary to tip the staff at hookah lounges in Istanbul?

Tipping in Istanbul is not mandatory but commonly practiced. If you receive good service and have an enjoyable experience, it’s appreciated to leave a small tip as a token of appreciation.

Final Word On The Best Places For Hookah In Istanbul

Istanbul boasts a vibrant and diverse hookah culture, with numerous lounges that are sure to cater to every taste and preference. From the traditional and authentic ambiance to the modern and chic venues, each Shisha lounge in İstanbul has something unique to offer.

Whether you are a seasoned hookah enthusiast or just curious to explore this time-honored tradition, you will not be disappointed.

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