There are so many places to see in this city, it's impossible to do it all in one night. Between the culture, women, bars, restaurants and cafes, we had to pick six of our favorite joints visited over the course of three days. If you're heading to Istanbul, these are the things that without a doubt have to be done during your time in the largest city of Turkey.
3 P.M. Nargile Cafeterias in Tophane
Courtesy of: Flickr
A street strewn with hookah joints and throw pillows can be found minutes away from Istanbul’s harbor in the Tophane district. When a national smoking ban thwarted the historic borough’s main attraction, owners literally took to the streets to preserve the passing of the hookah pipe, eating sweets and sipping on Turkish coffee. The experience can vary from place to place, some Nargile cafeterias (Nargile means hookah in Turkish) are designed to cater to tourists while a cafeteria steps away caters to local men who have been living in Tophane for years.
6 P.M. Karga bar
Courtesy of: KargART
Celebrating its 15thyear this coming October, Karga bar is a friendly fixture in the Istanbul art and bar scene. Located in a beautiful four story building, patrons can enjoy a late afternoon pint in the small courtyard or throughout the first two stories of the establishment. With such a friendly and cozy atmosphere, it’s not unusual for first timers to strike up a conversation with the locals and have them show you around the top stories of the building where workshops, art installations and dance studios are almost always taking place.
9 P.M. Suada Club
Courtesy of: Suada Club
Historically known as “a corner of heaven”, the Suada Club is a fully functional sports club that is found between two continents. Yes, the Suada Club is its own island. With seven restaurants, a pool and home to the most exclusive parties in Istanbul, everyone must dine at least once at this unbelievable location. While all of the restaurants are above-par, we suggest scoring a seat at 360 Istanbul, one of the most famous venues in the city. Giving diners a 360 degree panoramic view of Istanbul while eating some of the most avant-garde dishes you’ll ever have in your life, it will be hard to leave the Suada Club.
11 P.M. 49 Cukurcuma Cafe
Courtesy of: 49 Cukurcuma Cafe
Smack dab in the middle of Istanbul’s Soho is where you can find a little wine bistro called 49 Cukurcuma Cafe. Decorated and furnished by local design company Esik, 49 Cukurcuma Cafe is a great place to grab a seat and order a bottle of Desperate House Wine, a label produced exclusively for the resto by the Yunatci Family wineries of Bozcaada. If you’re hungry after wandering on the infamous Istiklal Street, be sure to order one of their pizzas; they don’t use any frozen or canned food and use an exclusive sauce on each pie.
12 A.M. Kuck Otto
Courtesy of: Kucuk Otto
If you’re thinking of hitting the clubs of Istanbul before midnight, you won’t be welcomed by a crowd. But when the clock strikes twelve, the streets of the city begin to fill with partiers looking for a good time. Whether you’re a student, businessman or artist, one of the best places to go is Kucuk Otto, a nightclub that has been dominating the late night Istanbul scene since 2005. Whether it’s a world famous DJ spinning or a local band bringing down the house, you won't even notice you're partying into the wee hours of the morning.
??? Street Vendors
Courtesy of: Flickr
Istanbul is proud to call one of the most American sandwiches we've seen on our travels, one of their own. Patso, a kind of sandwich consisting of a hot dog topped with french fries and smothered in sauce is found at any time of day in a buffet style along the streets of the city. Dig in, it's perfect after-drinks food.