Turkey may be primarily Muslim, but leave your preconceptions behind – it is not without nightlife. These days, Istanbul hops after dark as much as any other European city. Live music venues, designer bars, gay and lesbian venues…it’s all here and all a short taxi ride from the historic sites. Covers at upscale clubs can hit $30.

Istanbul Nightlife


Excellent acoustics ensure that Babylon lands most of the big-name foreign and Turkish bands (Patti Smith, Mercan Dede) to hit town, except in summer when the club closes and migrates to Cesme.

Seyhbender Sokak 3, 011-90-212-292-7368,
Tags: nightlife | trendy | dancing | cover charge | nightclub


Dancing and drag shows star at this happening gay and lesbian hangout in the heart of Istanbul’s nightlife center. A superb terrace-bar keeps things hopping in this cozy, bi-level space.

Yesilcam Sokak 7, 011-90-538-277-1699,
Tags: nightlife | gay | nightclub

Harbiye Acik Hava Tiyatrosu

During the summer big-name Turkish pop stars like Ajda Pekkan and Tarkan perform in this open air theater, next to the Istanbul Congress Center.

Harbiye, 011-90-212-296-3630
Tags: nightlife

Nardis Jazz Club

Jazz is the music of the moment in Istanbul and the Nardis, in a cozy historic space, is where the crowds head to listen to the best live music while tucking into pasta.

Kuledibi Sokak 14, 011-90-212-244-6327,
Tags: nightlife | trendy | cover charge | jazz


Slightly scruffy live music venue that grabs an eclectic collection of live offerings ranging from jazz to pop.

Siraselviler Caddesi; Aslanyatagi Sokak 7, 011-90-212-249-128,
Tags: nightlife | trendy | dancing | cover charge | nightclub

Ulus 29

This superb, late-night restaurant overlooks the Bosphorus from the hills. After dining on Mandarin duck, hit the adjacent Club 29 for dancing. Both establishments were conceived by local nightlife designer Metin Dadillioglu.

Adbab Saygun Caddesi, 011-90-212-358-2929,
Tags: nightlife | smart splurge | trendy | nightclub

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