Istanbul Nightlife: What To Do & Where To Party In Istanbul

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Istanbul Nightlife: What To Do & Where To Party In Istanbul

If you’re heading to Istanbul and you love a good night out, you’re in luck!

Even though Istanbul is a historic city, this doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy varied and extremely vibrant nightlife too. The other great news is that whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it easily.

Want a chilled-out evening with a shisha pipe and a beer? You’re covered. Want a full-on dancing evening with clubbing music and vodka-a-plenty? Again, you’ll find what you’re looking for. Fancy a nice meal and a few cocktails with a vibe? Sorted! Or do you fancy a coffee and a walk along the Bosphorus? More than possible.

This is a city that caters to everyone and everything, and that includes nightlife. No matter what part of the city you’re staying in, you’ll find it. However, there is a different feel about the nightlife in the other areas of Istanbul.


Turkey Travel Blog_Best Places For Nightlife In Istanbul


Best Areas For Nightlife In Istanbul

While it’s impossible to cover every single part of Istanbul, let’s talk about the main areas where you can party and enjoy the nightlife in Istanbul:

  • Kadikoy
  • Uskudar
  • Galata
  • Taksim
  • Sultanahmet
  • Besiktas
  • Bebek/Sariyer

The nightlife in Istanbul, Turkey, is quite different across each area, so a head’s up on what to expect will allow you to choose what you want.

Map Of Where To Party In Istanbul

Kadikoy Nightlife

Istanbul Nig Kadikoy_Haydarpasa railway station

On the Asian side of the city, Kadikoy is often referred to as a cheaper version of Taksim, albeit a little smaller. This part of the city has a student-type vibe, and as such, you’ll find many more reasonably priced bars to spend the evening.

If you’re heading over to Kadikoy for a night out, be mindful that the ferry back to the European side finishes just before midnight; however, the Metro runs 24 hours a day. Alternatively, a taxi will cost you around the 100TL mark if you stay over on the European side, particularly in Taksim or Besiktas.

Go Bar Hopping Off The Beaten Path

As Kadikoy is a residential area, it’s less touristy. This means the bars along the main streets are less crowded and offer a more authentic Istanbul nightlife experience. Sample local snacks and cocktails as you hop from bar to bar in this area of town.

Head to Kadife Street to find several clubs, cafes, and chill-out bars.

Watch A Game

If you want to watch football and drink a beer, you can do that here too, and there are also plenty of Irish bars to enjoy a drink and a beer plate.

Uskudar Nightlife

Where To Party In Istanbul - Uskudar

The other central district on the Asian side is Uskudar, which is a far more traditionally Turkish part of the city; therefore, you’re not going to find much in the way of clubbing action.

Fish Markets, Hip Cafes & Hookah Bars

In Uskudar, you will find several trendy, smaller bars, iconic fish markets & restaurants, and plenty of coffee shops and hookah bars. These options are perfect for those looking for chill nights in Istanbul.

If you head away from the waterfront and towards the center of town, you may find several bars that cater mainly to men only. These are relatively easy to spot as the crowd will be male. That’s not to say women can’t go in; you certainly can, though you’ll probably be looked at rather oddly.

Maiden’s Tower At Sunset

Maiden’s Tower is located just off Uskudar’s shores and can be seen from the whole of the Bosphorus waterfront. Head inside to learn about the history, enjoy a delicious meal, and catch a stunning sunset over the water! This is a very historic spot and is open to the public.

Bosphorus Bridge Views

Head to Zipline Nakkaştepe park along the Bosphorus Strait or to Çamlıca Hill to admire the spectacular Bosphorus Bridge – an iconic 1560-meter-long suspension bridge connecting the European side of Istanbul with the Asian side. The bridge lights up at night, making it a beautiful sight not to miss in Istanbul.

Galata Nightlife

Istanbul Nightlife - Galata Tower Istanbul

Climb The Galata Tower

Galata is situated down a steep hill from Taksim and leads to the iconic Galata Tower. The Galata Tower offers incredible views of Asia, the Bosphorus Strait, and the Golden Horn, and a lift takes visitors most of the way to the top –  it ends at the 7th floor, where two flights of stairs will take you to the observation deck. The lines for the lift are quite long in the daytime, but at night, it’s much easier to get to the top, making this a great spot to check out at night time in Istanbul.

Chill At Coffee Shops & Shisha Bars

In Galata, you’ll find many coffee shops to chill out until late in the evening, and some serve the most delicious cake! There are also many shisha chillout bars here too.

Eat Seafood & Drink Raki

If you love seafood, be sure to head to the Galata bridge and take the steps down towards the water. Here you’ll find some top-quality seafood restaurants where you can enjoy the iconic Turkish pastime of fish and raki! The perfect place to take a late night stroll while enjoying local cuisine! 

Not for the weak; raki is quite strong, so be careful and pace yourself. However, meze, raki, and a plate of fish are considered to be the best way to spend an evening, especially with a view over the Bosphorus to enjoy.

Taksim Nightlife

Best Things To Do In Istanbul - taksim square Red tram in Istiklal street

There is no type of nightlife you won’t find in Taksim. If you want to enjoy yourself, you must head to this part of the city, where you’ll find crowds at 5 am!

Such is the quality of the nightlife in Taksim; you have people visiting the district solely for that reason, locals and international visitors.

If you are thinking of enjoying everything Taksim has to offer, be sure to center yourself in this part of the city when choosing your accommodation to save you from having to grab a taxi back at the end of the night. 

Nightclubs & Bars

Nightclubs pump out baselines until the sun rises, especially on weekends. You can also find several high-class wine bars, cocktails bars, beer establishments, and a fantastic Irish bar where you can catch all the latest sporting action and enjoy a glass of Guinness if that’s your thing!

Explore Istikal Street

The winding streets of the main Istiklal Street are certainly to be explored. You’ll find live music and some fantastic seafood restaurants once more. These tend to be a little cheaper than those you’ll find under the Galata Bridge, probably because you don’t get the waterfront view.

Pera Museum

Art lovers can enjoy the Pera Museum in the Beyoglu district, down the end of Istiklal Street. Five floors of exhibits tell the story of Istanbul through art. This private collection of work can be toured in the daytime and during the evening and nighttime hours (Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am to 7 pm, Friday, 10 am to 10 pm, Sunday, 12 pm to 6 pm).

Eat Late Night Snacks

If you get hungry, you won’t struggle to find a kebab, jacket potato, borek, pizza, or anything else at the end of the evening, even if it is nearing 6 am!

Sultanahmet Nightlife

The Sultanahmet nightlife is pretty low-key, so if you want to enjoy a full-on night out, you’re best advised to get a taxi to nearby Taksim. If you want to enjoy a traditional Turkish meal, be serenaded by musicians, and retire early to bed, Sultanahmet is an excellent choice.

Relax At A Quiet Coffee Shop Or Bar

Several coffee shops and small bars stay open a little later, but you will find that Sultanahmet is very quiet after midnight. That isn’t bad if you want a less full-on type of break, especially if you’ve been busy sightseeing during the day.

Indulge In A Turkish Bath

Turkish Hammam - All you need to know

This is an excellent area of the city to enjoy a nighttime Turkish bath to unwind after a day of sightseeing. Check out Çemberlitaş Hamamı, the oldest Turkish bath in Istanbul, which is found in the area, or discover more of our favorite Istanbul hammams here.

Watch A Whirling Dervish Performance

Nightlife In Istanbul - Whirling Dervish_Turkey

You can watch these captivating ceremonies at many locations throughout Istanbul, but an excellent location can be reached by foot from the Sultanahmet area – the Hocapaşa Culture Center. This iconic ceremony is a spiritual, meditative dance that has been declared a UNESCO Heritage of Humanity and is one of the best things to do in Istanbul at night, even with kids (over 6-7 years). My two boys, aged five and ten, sat quietly and enjoyed it.

Whirling Dervish Istanbul-6

Hodjapasha Dance Theater is located in a converted 15th-century Turkish bath within walking distance of Sirkeci train station is where we chose for our Whirling Dervish experience.

During winter, I saw that performances are held every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday (at 7 pm). Then beginning in March, daily ceremonies will take place.

Though it may look like an art performance of sorts, it is still actually a religious ceremony. I was disappointed they asked us not to take any photos (even without a flash), but I understood why. You also can not talk or leave your seat at all while the Dervishes spin – so make sure the kids go to the restroom (on the lower floor) before the starting time.

Other Places To Catch The Whirling Dervishes

One of the options to catch this mystical experience is Mevlevi Whirling Dervish Halls is the Galata Mevlevi Museum. It is located near Tünel at the end of Istiklal Caddesi on Galipdede Caddesi. Unlike Hocapaşa, which seats over 220, the maximum capacity here is just 150. Also, you can not purchase tickets ahead of time and need to go to the location early in the day (around noon) – be warned they often sell out.

Book tickets here


Take In The View At Sultanahmet Park

Where To Party In Istanbul - Istanbul At Night

Once the crowds have left this historic district for the day, one of the best things to do in Istanbul at night is to head to Sultanahmet Park. 

Here you can enjoy the Hurrem Sultan Fountain. This historic water fountain lights up at night, providing a lovely ambiance as you gaze at the illuminated Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. The park features excellent views of both landmarks, and there’s nothing more magical than gazing at them against the Istanbul night sky.

Best of all, this Istanbul nightlife activity is entirely free!

Besiktas Nightlife

Turkey Travel Blog_Best Nightlife In Istanbul_Nusr-Et chain
Photo Credit: Nusr-Et Restaurant

Besiktas is a bustling, hip, and youthful part of the city, and there are countless places here to enjoy a night out.

If you want a cheaper night out, head to one of the many bars in the center of Besiktas. You’ll also find eateries to enjoy until late, and again, taxis around the city from here are pretty cheap and plentiful.

BKM Studios

It’s hard to get tickets, but you can certainly try! If you love theatre and comedy, be sure to head to the BKM studios, where many top Turkish TV shows are filmed.

Luxury Nightclubs In Ortakoy

It’s important to remember that Besiktas is a huge part of town and covers Ortakoy too. As such, you’ll find a hugely varied amount of nightlife, with several clubs down towards the Bosphorus Bridge in Ortakoy. These are pretty high-brow, so expect to queue to get in, and prices will be high as a result.

Splurge On A Fancy Dinner

If a high-brow meal is more your thing, head up to Nistantasi, where you’ll find many restaurants, including a smaller version of the Nusr-Et chain; incidentally, the main outlet is up in Etiler, but trying to get a table is near-on impossible!

Eat At Breakfast Street

After late nights in Istanbul, keep Besiktas in mind. Home to Breakfast Street (Kahvalti Sokak), you will find the most amazing spread of restaurants serving up traditional Turkish breakfast to cure any hangover. Eleven Brothers is a top pick, but check the menus of a few spots to see what looks good.

Bebek/Sariyer Nightlife

Day Trips From Istanbul - Bebek - iStock Bebek District Of Istanbul Beautiful Houses On The Coast Of The Bosphorus Strait

If you want to party with Istanbul’s high society crowd, head to the Bebek and Sariyer areas of Istanbul. The houses and the cars are insane! These are just up the coast, and the seaside setting doesn’t hide the sheer expense of living in this part of the city.

Upper-Class Night Out

To keep in line with the wealth of this area, you’ll find plenty of restaurants, including steakhouses and fish restaurants, with wine bars, cocktail bars, and clubs to try. This isn’t going to be a beer-fuelled, cheap night out, but it’s a good one to try if you want to be Istanbul’s upper class for the night.

Best Istanbul Nightclubs & Bars To Dance The Night Away

If a serious night is what you’re looking for, you’re in luck. Istanbul boasts some of the very best nightclubs around. You might even spot a celebrity or two! 

Here is the pick of the varied bunch. 


One of the most famous nightclubs in the city, Reina, is located close to the Bosphorus Bridge in Ortakoy, and some glitzy A-Listers from the USA have visited here! 


Another Ortakoy favorite, Anjelique, has views over the Bosphorus that cannot be rivaled. Being a nightclub, you can expect fantastic music and great drinks too! 

Found in a three-story seaside mansion in Ortaköy, Angelique restaurant and nightclub is a chill place to spend the night. Eat Asian and Mediterranean cuisine during the evening hours and then stay into the night as the club vibes roll in. Different music plays on every floor until dawn for the dancing crowds.


Turkey Travel Blog_Best Nightlife In Istanbul_Sortie
Photo Credit: Sortie

If you enjoy a chilled-out cocktail vibe with some fancy music thrown in for good measure, Sortie is for you. This is another spot located in Ortakoy, and you can check out some amazing views while you enjoy your night. There are 3 bars and six restaurants on site, and it’s open until 4 am. 


X-Large is the place to be for night owls and party animals! If you enjoy dance and trance, this is for you! Located in Beyoglu, close to Taksim, X-Large is a loud, colorful, and wild night, not closing its doors until 5 am. 


Seriously glitzy and just a little expensive, Supperclub is another of Ortakoy’s best spots for a fancy night out. Experience art, entertainment, food, drinks, DJs, and VJ’s all from the comfort of oversized white beach beds. Drinks and live music performances are set to accompany the menu’s vibe, and the club’s walls serve as a platform for local artwork. The menu is fixed and is secret each night, served artistically. 

Suada Club

This is a must-experience Istanbul nightlife spot! With a pool that spans Europe and Asia, party late into the night while swimming and enjoying views of the Bosphorus Bridge. 


Turkey Travel Blog_Best Nightlife In Istanbul_360
Photo Credit: 360 Istanbul

There are plenty of places to party the night away in Beyoglu, and this is another must-visit spot. The club gets its name from the view you can check out right over the famous Golden Horn, and it’s open until the sun comes up. The rooftop bar view is so spectacular that it is rated one of the best rooftop restaurants in the world!

Check out dancing, live music, singers, and all manner of other types of entertainment on offer. 


We’re talking views, drinks, music, and vibes here, with another top club. This time, we’re in Besiktas, and this club covers three floors with different types of food and music on each. 


Located in the heart of Taksim on the famous Istiklal Street, Beat is a happening club loved by locals and tourists alike. Open from 11 pm until 5.30 am, there are three floors of dancing and different music dedicated to each floor; there’s bound to be a jam that clicks with your mood. 

Best Istanbul Restaurants & Meyhane (Turkish Taverns)

If food and drinks are more on your nightlife radar, skip the dance venues and head to these restaurants and taverns for some seriously delicious bites and tasty beverages.

Ulus 29

With views of the Asian side of the Bosphorus Strait, this restaurant in the Ulus foothills offers fine dining, excellent bar & lounge service, and great music. 

Duble Meze Bar

For something more upscale, grab some Turkish tapas and raki at the Duble Meze Bar while gazing at incredible views of the old city. The bar is known for fancy drinks and is open into the wee hours for those who want to indulge. 

Bosphorus Dinner Cruise

Best Things To Do In Istanbul - Ortakoy mosque and Bosphorus bridge

For those looking for a luxurious night out, book yourself a Bosphorus Dinner Cruise, where you can eat multiple courses throughout the evening on different continents. Cruises last 2-4 hours and can include entertainment like belly dancing or musical performances.

Tip: If your budget doesn’t allow for a cruise, eat dinner in Europe, take a cab across the 1.5km Bosphorus Bridge, and have dessert in Asia!


Turkish taverns, known as Mayhane, are found all around the city. These casual eateries are great places to gather with a group of friends and enjoy folk music alongside beer, wine, and raki while munching on vegetable and seafood appetizers. Demetı, Feraye, Asmalı Cavit, Karaköy Lokantası, and Sofyalı 9 are all great options for experiencing a local Istanbul meyhane.

Pub Crawl

If tracking down all of the best drinks in the city seems overwhelming, join the Istanbul pub crawl. Local guides will show you the best nightlife in Istanbul, Turkey, as they take you to some of the coolest nightlife spots, rooftop parties, and trendy bars.

Even though this is undoubtedly a tourist activity, the destinations are typically only frequented by Istanbul locals, so you can be assured you are eating a drinking authentically.

Street Food & Night Food Tour

What to eat in Turkey - Delicious Turkish islak hamburger or wet burger
Islak Burger

Partying isn’t the only thing on offer in Istanbul at night – the street food is phenomenal! Find a stall serving up some popular Turkish street fare:

  • Döner: Seasoned meat kebob, sliced thin and often served in a pita, similar to the Greek gyro
  • Midye Dolma: Mussels stuffed with herbed and spiced rice, pine nuts, and occasionally currants
  • Islak Hamburger: Slider-sized burgers made of a meat patty (usually beef) on a soft white bun that’s doused with a garlicky, Italian tomato-based sauce
  • Kokorec: A sandwich of grilled lamb intestines seasoned with oregano, salt, cumin, and sometimes chili flakes
  • Cig Kofte: Raw spicy meatballs that are cured in the process of mixing in the spices
  • Lahmacun: Minced meat, minced vegetables, and herbs baked on a thin piece of dough, also known as Turkish pizza
  • Baklava: A sweet pastry dessert of film layers filled with nuts or pistachio

If you prefer to sample all the delicious street food with a guide, taking a nighttime food tour is a great option. Why not spend 5 hours eating your way through Istanbul at night!?

There isn’t anything nightlife-related that Istanbul won’t give you, and you need to decide where to go. That in itself could be a problem, due to the sheer choice on offer!

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