Istanbul at Night – 7 Things to Do After the Sun Goes Down
You’ve spent the entire day exploring Istanbul’s mosques, monuments and palaces. You’ve walked through the remnants of Constantinople and the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires and you have the sore feet to prove it! You’ve returned to your quiet hotel room, had shower, rest and cup of Turkish tea. Now you’re ready to hit the city again! But where to go in Istanbul after dark? Here are a few ideas on stepping out in Istanbul!
If sore feet are a priority, enjoy an evening of food, drink and live music while cruising between Europe and Asia on one of the world’s most magnificent waterways. Put your feet up as you cruise by dramatically lit mosques, palaces and under the city’s soaring bridges. Spy on the night activity in the posh Bosphorus neighborhoods of Bebek and Ulus. The price includes a full dinner, drinks, an exciting floorshow with a Turkish belly dancer and round trip transfer from your hotel. Ask a local agency about availability.
Dinner with a View: Hamdi Restaurant
If you’re in the mood for something local then head for Hamdi. Located just steps away from the Egyptian Spice Market, this popular place serves typical Turkish fare; hot grilled kebabs, small bowls of colorful mezes, crisp green salads and last, but certainly not least, Baklava! (Dubbed Turkish Viagra buy the locals!) But the real star of Hamdi is the view. Sit on the top terrace and take in views of Galata, the Bosphorus and the magnificent mosques of Eminonu.
Just steps away from the Marmara Sea, Balik Sokak (Fish Street) comes alive at dusk with lively restaurants serving fresh fish, meze, raki and lots of beer. Expect live music, impromptu singing and dancing performed by tipsy Turkish men with big mustaches!
Just off the Beyoglu Balik Pazari (Beyoglu Fish market) and Cicek Pasaji, Nevizade Sokak is a narrow street chock full of bars and outdoor restaurants. The restaurants offer meze, meals and musicians at your table; the bars offer stools where you can park, people watch and enjoy a chilled Efes beer. Some of the bars have terraces on the roof, of course every waiter will swear blind that his bar’s terrace is more beautiful than the next guy’s! Most places have a fixed-price menu, so ask for prices in advance.
If you’re a fan of music or dance, then a check out an evening “Turkish Night” dinner show, featuring traditional song, dance and costumes from the four corners of Turkey. Favorites include the fast spinning and stomping of the energetic Black Sea Dancers and the mesmerizing whirling of of the famed whirling dervishes. The evening belongs, however, by the lovely belly-dancing ladies who can show you a move or two! Book early at a local agency for good seats. Again, ask at a local agency about shows as they vary in price and program. Full dinner, drinks and transportation to and from your hotel are included in the price.
Corlulu Ali Pasa Narghile Cafe was built in 1709, and is a well-known atmospheric water-pipe (nargile) place near Beyazit, (just 2 tramway stops from Sultanahmet stop, or a short stroll along the tramline.) This lovely hidden spot is where you can try a waterpipe or just relax and enjoy the exotic aroma of an apricot Narghile while sipping Turkish tea or coffee. Kittens will play at your feet. Old men will play backgammon. A great place to unwind after a trip to the nearby Grand Bazaar. The cafe serves a variety of tea, soft drinks and Turkish coffee.
Sultanahmet Hot Spots
Looking for an after diner drink not too far from your hotel? In Sultanahmet, grab a cocktail, raki, Efes Beer or glass of wine at…
Sah Bar: Hidden away from the main Tramway Street, this bar is rocking the alley in the summer, and warm and intimate by the fireplace in the winter. Cosy decor and great music.
Akbayik Street: There are a few bars that go all night long on this street. Check out “Just Bar”, popular with locals and backpackers. Great outdoor seating.
The North Shield: Located just off the Gulhane tramway station one stop away from Sultanahmet. More expensive than the first two, but a great place to watch a football match.