A Night on the Town
photo by gokcen tunc

After the last call to prayer sings out from the thousands of mosques at sunset, the fifth and final one for the day, Istanbul starts to wake up. Volume knobs are turned up high as traditional Turkish music blasts alongside modern pop in competition to be heard on the streets. Noses are powdered, shoes are polished, as the youth get ready to party in some of the finest clubs in Europe.

There’s no argument that Beyoglu is the main party area in Istanbul. Throw a stone in any direction, and you’re bound to hit a bar. With thousands of restaurants and bars crammed on every side street off the main 2km boulevard known as Istiklal Caddesi, there’s a bar to suit every taste of music, every style of being.

If you’re in a swanky, stylish mood, polish up with heels and fashionable mini dresses to rub noses with Istanbul’s elite at 11/11, New Pera or 360. Dress it down with faded jeans and a pair of sneakers and head bang to local Turkish bands at Hayal Kahvesi or Mojo and talk rock with like minded Turks.

Check out who’s playing at Babylon or Indigo to see if any of the live acts suit your taste or dance and sweat it out to the spins of Dj’s at Ghetto, Minimusichall, or The Hall.

For bar hopping, mingle with the crowds at the party playgrounds of Tunel and Nevizade, two areas of Beyolu where the streets are lined with restaurants and bars; the clatter of plates and cutlery rings out through the chatter of late night diners, mixed in with thumping background beats.

Efes is the local beer and named after the ancient Roman city of Ephesus (Efes in Turkish); it’s unique taste is courtesy to the rice added during the brewing stage, which you may not detect after several half litres.

Cross the Bosphorous to the Asian side and party in two continents in one night; now that’s something to write home about. When the sun rises, the call to prayer rings out across the city once again, calling all weary party goers to bed.

Meet the author


After leaving Australia in 2003, Casey's path landed her in Istanbul for a summer stint only. Once addicted to Istanbul's eccentricity and charm, Casey failed to find reason to leave six years later. An avid traveller of sorts, Casey spent most of her time roaming across Europe and the Middle East looking for adventure and cultural experiences. Now a freelance editor and writer working from Madrid, Casey spends her days finding the words to excite the inner traveller in everyone.