Istanbul nightlife: Where to get your drink on

Istanbul nightlife: Where to get your drink on

Turkey's largest city has a scene as vibrant as any in Europe, Asia or North America. Here's how to find the best of it

Istanbul nightlife has earned a reputation as a scene where revelers, whatever their entertainment poison, are spoiled for choice.

Super-clubs beside the Bosphorus, back street jazz bars, a live music venue that has played host to the likes of Patti Smith, Marianne Faithful and Stereolab –- Istanbul has them all and more.

Nardis Jazz Club

NardisWith a capacity of 120, fabulous acoustics and a location in trendy Galata, Nardis is the real jazz deal.

Named after a track by the king of cool, Miles Davis, Nardis is where Istanbul jazz fans hang.

Run by Turkish jazz guitarist Önder Focan and his wife, the venue, with its exposed brick walls and dim lighting, welcomes mainly local musicians onto its small stage six nights a week (it’s closed Sundays), with an international artist making an appearance around once a month.

Nardis Jazz, 14 Kuledibi Sokak, Galata; +90 212 244 6327

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AnjeliqueOpen since 2001, Anjelique is an Istanbul nightlife favorite among local celebs.

Angelique takes its tunes seriously.

It's attracted big name DJs, such as Boy George, David Morales and Timo Maas, and has produced six LP "Sounds of Anjelique" volumes.

If you're looking for a full night out, we recommend making a dinner reservation at the restaurant in the same building -- a three-story mansion on the Bosphorus in Ortakoy -- before making your way up to the top floor of the building for cocktails in Anjelique’s mirrored club.

Anjelique,5 Salhane Sokak, Ortakoy; +90 212 327 2844


SuadaThose in search of the full Suada experience reserve a table in the restaurant before hitting the club for drinks.

Reached by ferry or private yacht, Suada, with its Olympic-sized swimming pool, is a sun worshipper’s hot spot during the long summer days.

At night it really comes to life. Located on an island in the middle of the Bosphorus, Suada’s club is housed in a glass dome and is one of the most interesting places to party in the city.

Suada Club, Galatasaray Adasi, Kurucesme Park, Besiktas; +90 212 263 7300

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BabylonBabylon seats 300. There's room for 100 more if it’s a standing affair.

A purpose-built performance space and live music venue, Babylon’s events lineup is always packed with eclectic musical acts, ranging from jazz and reggae to rock, indie and electronica.

The "Babylon Unplugged" LP is testament to the caliber of musicians the club attracts, featuring artists such as James Walsh, Ed Harcourt and Nouvelle Vague.

Former visiting artists include Patti Smith and Stereolab. Entrance is free, but you have to buy tickets to concerts.

Babylon3 Şehbender Sokak, Beyoglu; +90 212 292 7368


360Call this 360 degrees of beautiful Istanbul views.

If you’re looking for a wild dose of Istanbul nightlife in the center of town, 360 is the place –- especially on weekends, when you definitely won’t see your bed until the early hours.

On top of the famous Misir Apartment building on the city's main shopping thoroughfare, Istiklal Avenue, 360 charges an entrance fee and there’s often competition for space.

But with acts including Felix Da Housecat and Martin Solveig making appearances, you’re usually guaranteed a good time.

Entering through a door at street level and ascending in the cramped lift, first-time guests rarely expect the panoramic views, endless cocktails and DJs that await when they reach 360.

360, Floor 8, Mısır Apartment, 163 Istiklal Caddesi, Beyoglu; +90 212 251 1042

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Mention Istanbul and clubbing and anybody who hasn’t been living in a cupboard for the past decade will tell you to visit Reina, which has its own restaurant, as well.

The king of the stretch along the Bosphorus between Ortakoy and Kuruçeme (dubbed the Golden Mile), Reina attracts Istanbul's moneyed set, with many arriving by yacht.

If you’re lucky you might bump into Kylie Minogue, Bon Jovi or U2 –- all former visitors.

Reina, 44 Muallim Naci Caddesi, Ortakoy; +90 212 259 5919

Jolly Joker Istanbul

Jolly Joker IstanbulIf you want to find out how locals like to rock, JJB should be your first port of call.

If swanky clubs aren’t your bag, you can avoid the perfumed posers at this boisterous indie, rock and folk venue.

A bastion of the local music scene, Jolly Joker Istanbul hosts mainly local groups with only the odd international visiting act.

It’s closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but all other nights there's a guaranteed party.

Jolly Joker Istanbul, 22 Balo Sokak, Beyoglu; +90 212 251 7762


SortieReina’s main competition on the Golden Mile, Sortie is popular with glamorous girls and international playboys.

Overlooking the Bosphorus and open until four in the morning, Sortie is another club that comes into its own during the summer months.

The party doesn’t kick into gear until post-midnight, so some prefer to enjoy dinner in Sortie’s restaurant before hitting the dance floor.

Sortie, 54 Muallim Naci Street, Kurucesme; +90 212 327 8585

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