Home Travel 15 Best Bars in Istanbul (Where to Grab a Drink)

15 Best Bars in Istanbul (Where to Grab a Drink)


Istanbul’s nightlife is vibrant and varied, and, to coin a cliche, it has something for everyone. When nighttime falls (or daytime, if you fancy it), you’ll find more than enough bars to drop by for a drink or two. The best bars in Istanbul are dotted around the city, making it easy to enjoy your time no matter where you’re staying.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that Istanbul is my favorite city on the planet and I also love a good night out. The two go together very well indeed! There are some fantastic places to drink in Istanbul, and having tried quite a few during my countless visits and long stays, I’m in the best position to share my recommendations.

It’s not all clubs, and it’s not all quiet chill-out bars either. Istanbul is home to a varied mix of different types of bars, from coffee spots to sports bars, cocktail establishments to nightclubs. No matter where you’re staying in Istanbul, you’ll certainly find what you’re looking for, but, it always helps to know the best places to go—that’s where I come in.

Best Bars in Istanbul

You might be surprised by the huge variation in nightlife in Istanbul; I know I was. The sheer number of bars, cocktail spots, nightclubs, and everything else you can think of means it’s sometimes difficult to know the best places to go—after all, quality isn’t found everywhere. But that’s where my experience helps because having spent countless nights sampling Istanbul’s nightlife spots, I’ve got a pretty good idea of where’s good versus where isn’t.

I’ve compiled this list based on quality of service, menu, ambiance, and decor. If you try any spot below, I know you won’t be disappointed.

1. 16 Roof (Best Bar in Istanbul Overall)

Two glasses of cocktail with fresh and frozen strawberry, gin and tonic.

One of the best bars in Istanbul is definitely 16 Roof. Sitting on the top floor of the Swissotel in Beşiktaş, this bar offers amazing Bosphorus views, fantastic music, dancing, and a delicious menu of food and drinks. Yes, it’s upmarket and yes, it’s a little expensive, but it’s more than worth it for a special night with a guaranteed stunning view no matter where you sit.

This is one of the most popular bars in Istanbul, and at around 10 pm, the evening hots up as DJs take over, giving you plenty of opportunity to dance the night away. I really enjoyed the cocktails here; they really were something special and gave that buzz that tells you what you’re sipping on is of great quality. You can also enjoy delicious meals, with a mixture of traditional Turkish fare and international dishes available.

The outdoor rooftop bar is open during the summer months, from May to October, and during the winter all the fun moves indoors, with the same fantastic service.

16 Roof Information

Address: Vişnezade, Acısu Sokaği No:19, 34357 Beşiktaş/İstanbul
Phone: +90 (549) 326 1112
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday, 5 pm – 2 am
Must-Try Items: Sushi tray, Strawberry Crash cocktail, Caipirinha cocktail
Average Cost: $17 per cocktail, $12 per gin, $9 per beer
Website: swissotelthebosphorus.com

2. Corner Irish Pub (Best for Sports)

Alcoholic cocktail apple martini with dry vermouth, syrup, lemon juice, green apple, rosemary, and ice cubes.

One of my favorite places in the whole of Istanbul is the Corner Irish Pub in Taksim. I make sure to visit this bar several times during any trip to the city, and it’s always such a treat. The staff is welcoming, the vibe inside the bar is warm and cozy, and they serve a huge range of international beers, spirits, and amazing cocktails – the food is delicious too.

This is also one of the top craft beer bars in Istanbul with an extensive selection to try.

This bar really comes alive, especially when there is a big soccer match, and on St Patrick’s Day when the bar is decorated and live music plays. I’ve met people from all over the world here, and it’s always so busy. At the weekend, I’d definitely recommend arriving early so you can get a table; this is definitely one of the most fun bars in Istanbul, hands down.

Corner Irish Pub Information

Address: Asmalı Mescit Meşrutiyet Cd. No:11/A Galatasaray, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
Phone: +90 (212) 244 4820
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday, 12 pm – 4 am
Must-Try Items: Craft beer selection, Apple Martini cocktail, tortilla chips (the dip is amazing)
Average Cost: $11 per cocktail, $6 per beer, $7 for wine
Website: corner-irish-pub.com

3. Craft Beer Lab (Best for Craft Beer Lovers)

Two cold golden beers. Draft beer. Draft ale.

The best place for craft beer in Istanbul is the very handily named Craft Beer Lab. I loved the laid-back vibe at this bar, and there’s a heated outdoor seating area if you prefer to get some fresh air. You’ll find many locals at this bar, which tells you a lot about its quality, but I particularly liked how friendly and welcoming the whole place felt.

If you’re new to the craft beer scene, this is a great place in Istanbul to try. The range on offer is huge, and they have some really interesting flavors that you’ll be unlikely to find anywhere else. There’s a bar snack menu if you get a little peckish during your drinking session, that features huge burgers and amazing nachos.

Craft Beer Lab Information

Address: Sinanpaşa, Şair Nedim Cd. No:4, 34353 Beşiktaş/İstanbul
Phone: +90 (212) 236 9192
Operating Hours: Sunday – Thursday, 12 pm – 1.30 am, Friday & Saturday, 12 pm – 3 am
Must-Try Items: Craft beer selection, nachos, draft Efes beer
Average Cost: $8.50 per cocktail, $4-$7 per beer, $9 for burgers

4. Babylon Lounge (Best for Live Music)

A refreshing Mojito Drink is served at a black table in the bar.

Babylon is one of the best live music bars in Istanbul, and the connected Babylon Lounge is a great place to relax before or after a show. This venue holds 550 people and has hosted some high-quality local and international artists. You’ll need to book tickets for concerts ahead of time, but you can visit the bar without booking.

The atmosphere is vibrant and fun, as everyone is keyed up after a show, and the musical vibe continues into the night. It’s a great place to enjoy a meal, a few cocktails, and let your hair down with a few friends. Considering this is a huge venue, it’s quite reasonably priced too, which is always useful in these expensive times.

Babylon Lounge Information

Address: Merkez, Silahşör Caddesi & Birahane Sokak Tarihi Bomonti Bira Fabrikası No:1, 34384 Şişli/İstanbul
Phone: +90 (212) 334 0190
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday, 12 pm – 2 am
Must-Try Items: Draft beer selection, wine selection, Mojito
Average Cost: $8-$10 per cocktail, $6 per beer, $7 for wine
Website: babylon.com.tr

5. Ney’le Mey’le Meyhane, Nevizade (Best for Raki)

Red Wine being poured in the glass.

Nevizade is an extremely busy street behind Istiklal Caddesi in Taksim. This street is famous for its pubs and its many seafood and raki restaurants, which is one of the best things to try in Istanbul if you want to explore something traditional. Ney’le Mey’le Meyhane is the best fish and raki (balık ve raki) spot on that street and is a great place to try this experience for the first time as it’s very tourist-friendly.

I think this is one of the best bars in Istanbul for couples too, especially when the traditional musicians come around to serenade you. If you’re not the biggest fan of raki, they also have a very extensive wine list, and they sell local beer such as Efes. I recommend ordering a few different meze to try while you’re drinking too – everything here is super tasty.

Ney’le Mey’le Meyhane Information

Address: Hüseyinağa, Nevizade Sk. No:8, 34435 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
Phone: +90 (539) 840 0901
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday, 9 am – 2 am
Must-Try Items: Raki, seafood, meze
Average Cost: $20 per 35cl bottle of raki, $5.50 per beer, $7 for wine
Website: neylemeyle.com

6. The Bank Roof Bar (Best for Views)

Colorful cocktail on the bar table.

For me, The Bank Roof Bar is one of the best bars in Istanbul with a view, and you can see right over to the Asian side. I also enjoyed the signature cocktails, which went down very well with the heated outdoor space and fantastic atmosphere. This is quite an upmarket space, but you’re really paying for the high quality of service and the panorama—neither disappoint.

If you’re a fan of cocktails, this place is fantastic; I loved the ‘Disco is Not Dead’ cocktail and the ‘Provence Daydream’. The food is also delicious if you’re after a full meal, and they have snacks such as cheese and fruit platters for something lighter. For me, this is one of the best luxury bars in Istanbul, and while it’s not cheap, you definitely get what you pay for.

The Bank Roof Bar Information

Address: Azapkapı, Bankalar Cd. No:5, 34321 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
Phone: +90 (531) 892 3617
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday, 12 pm – 2 am
Must-Try Items: Disco is Not Dead cocktail, Provence Daydream cocktail, cheese platter
Average Cost: $20 per cocktail, $6 per beer, $15 for wine
Website: thebankhotelistanbul.com

7. Sensus (Best for Wine)

A bottle of white wine with Bunch of Grape

If you’re looking for a high-quality wine bar in Istanbul with a cozy atmosphere, I highly recommend Sensus. This is a great place to sit with a group of friends or a loved one and enjoy sharing a bottle of wine and a cheese plate. I especially liked the fact that the staff leave you alone and don’t constantly ask you if you want another drink; it almost feels like being at home.

The wine list here is vast, and you can purchase either by the glass or by bottle. It feels like you’re in an intimate winery with barrels all around as decoration. For me, this is one of the best bars in Istanbul to chill out and enjoy a delicious glass of wine (or three), without loud music or rowdiness.

Sensus Information

Address: Bereketzade, Kuledibi, Büyük Hendek Cd. No:5, 34420 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
Phone: +90 (212) 245 5657
Operating Hours: Sunday – Thursday, 2 pm – 11.30 pm, Friday & Saturday, 2 pm – 1 am
Must-Try Items: Wine tasting menu, Yanık Ülke Muscat wine, Ma’adra Pinot Noir wine
Average Cost: $8 per glass of wine, $45 per bottle of wine, $30 per person for the wine tasting menu
Website: qr.finedinemenu.com

8. Nardis Jazz Club (Best for Jazz)

Pouring whisky drink into the glass

You’ll find Nardis Jazz Club close to the Galata Tower, and it’s one of the best bars in downtown Istanbul for jazz music and a favorite place of mine to have a few drinks. If you want to catch a show, it’s a good idea to book tickets ahead of time as if you turn up on the day, you may be disappointed.

I’m not the biggest fan of jazz, but I went with friends and really enjoyed it. The staff were politely discreet when serving drinks, so as not to disturb the ambiance or block the view. I thought the prices were really reasonable considering it’s a live music venue and I found the menu to be quite extensive too.

Nardis Jazz Club Information

Address: Bereketzade, Galata Kulesi Sk. No:8, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
Phone: +90 (532) 244 5778
Operating Hours: Monday – Saturday, 8.30 pm – 12.30 pm, closed on Sundays
Must-Try Items: Wine list, whiskey, raki
Average Cost: $8-$10 per cocktail, $5.50 per beer, $7 for wine
Website: nardisjazz.com

9. Finn Karaköy (Best for Trendy Cocktails)

Cosmopolitan drink over black bar.

Many places say they do good cocktails, but a lot don’t use fresh fruit ingredients to give their drinks that zing—this place does. This is one of the classy bars in Istanbul that’s always busy, with people spilling out into the street, enjoying the vibrant atmosphere. Finn is my favorite place for cocktails, and they also have a fantastic food menu, with Turkish and Middle Eastern vibes.

Another plus point is that the staff are really friendly and don’t bother you too much. It’s a very tourist-friendly space which is also a favorite amongst locals. The outdoor seating area is heated, so even when the weather is cold, you can get some fresh air. Indoors is comfortable and cozy, and overall, this is a must-visit for anyone who enjoys a good cocktail or two.

Finn Karaköy Information

Address: Müeyyedzade Mah. Necatibey Cad, Karanlık Fırın Sk. 8/B, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
Phone: +90 (530) 946 0888
Operating Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 12 pm – 2 pm, closed on Mondays
Must-Try Items: Apple Mojito, Cosmopolitan, Long Island Iced Tea
Average Cost: $8-10 per cocktail, $5-8 per beer, $7 for wine
Website: finndukkan.com

10. Moretenders’ Cocktail Crib & Sushi (Best for Unique Drinks)

mixed sushi set on the wood plate.

Whether you’re a fan of sushi or not, the cocktails at this bar are fantastic, and they’re totally unique. This isn’t a place where you’ll find the regular mojito or daiquiri; here, they have their own designed cocktails that are made with fresh ingredients. For that reason, it’s one of the best cocktail bars in Istanbul, and it’s a popular spot every day of the week.

The decor of the bar is also special; it looks a little like an old-fashioned pharmacy with bottles containing different ingredients. The staff are really helpful and will give you a hand if you’re not sure which drink to go for. If you’re not really into cocktails before visiting, this place may change your mind.

Moretenders’ Cocktail Crib & Sushi Information

Address: Asmalı Mescit, Müeyyet Sk. No:5, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
Phone: +90 (555) 889 6955
Operating Hours: Monday – Thursday, 11 am – 2 pm, Friday & Saturday, 11.30 am – 2.30 am, Sundays 3 pm – 2.30 am
Must-Try Items: All Good in The Hood cocktail, sushi, spring rolls
Average Cost: $10 per cocktail, $17-20 per sushi plate
Website: instagram.com/moretenders

11. Ruby (Best for Dancing)

A glass of wine at the wooden table.

If you’re looking for upmarket clubs in Istanbul then this is the place to go—you might even spot a celebrity. During the early part of the evening, Ruby is a fantastic restaurant and bar, but as the night goes on, it transforms into a club that’s open until the early hours. If you do want to eat before you party, I highly recommend the lobster linguine—it melted in my mouth.

The signature cocktails here aren’t cheap, but they’re so amazing that you might not mind that much. They also serve bar snacks to munch on while you’re drinking. For me, this is one of the best bars in Istanbul if you want to have a clubbing experience in a more upmarket setting. You’re sure to be impressed with the stunning Bosphorus view from here too.

Ruby Information

Address: Yıldız, Ortaköy Salhanesi Sk. No:5, 34349 Beşiktaş/İstanbul
Phone: +90 (212) 327 2844
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday, 6.30 pm – 2 am
Must-Try Items: Lobster linguine, Apple Martini, Pinot Noir wine
Average Cost: $14-16 per cocktail, $7 per beer, $13 for wine
Website: rubyistanbul.com

12. Sunset Grill & Bar (Best for Atmosphere)

Selective focus on glasses with gin tonic cocktail bar counter

Ulus Park is home to some very trendy bars in Istanbul, but one of the most popular, and one of my favorites, is the Sunset Grill & Bar. Both a restaurant and bar, this spot also turns into a fashionable area to mingle and dance when night falls, and the views are simply jaw-dropping. During the summer months, you can sit outdoors comfortably, and during the cooler months, the area is heated.

The resident DJ here is especially good, and the music plays until midnight, creating the very best atmosphere for your evening. I liked how stylish yet comfortable this bar felt. It didn’t feel too upmarket, but it felt very plush; you only have to see the mixture of locals, professionals, and tourists arriving to understand that this bar and restaurant is known across the city for the best reasons.

Sunset Grill & Bar Information

Address: Kuruçeşme Mahallesi Ulus Park, Yol Sokağı No:2, 34345 Beşiktaş/İstanbul
Phone: +90 (212) 287 0357
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday, 12 pm – 12 am
Must-Try Items: Sushi plate, gin selection, Porn Star Martini cocktail
Average Cost: $10-12 per cocktail, $7 per beer, $14 for wine
Website: sunsetgrillbar.com

13. Spago (Best for Meeting New People)

Colorful cocktail on top of the bat.

If you’re keen to mingle and meet new people at a bar in Istanbul, I’d highly recommend a visit to Spago. With views over Maçka Park and the Bosphorus beyond, it’s a relaxing and beautiful place to spend a few hours in the evening. However, it’s also located in a place with lots of hotels, international visitors, and local residents alike, so you’re sure to meet a wide range of people here to chat with.

Spago is a restaurant as well as a bar, and the food here is delicious. However, it’s drinks we’re interested in, and I can tell you that the wine selection and cocktail menus are fantastic. Also, if you’re a gin or whiskey lover, you’ll find a huge selection on offer, and compared to other European destinations, the prices are very reasonable for such a high-quality spot.

Spago Information

Address: Harbiye, Mim Kemal Öke Cd. No:35, 34365 Şişli/İstanbul
Phone: +90 (212) 368 0808
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday, 3 pm – 2 am
Must-Try Items: Gin menu, whiskey selection, handcrafted cocktails
Average Cost: $13 per cocktail, $7 per beer, $14-16 for whiskey
Website: spago.thestregisistanbul.com

14. Monkey Istanbul (Best for Affordable Drinks)

Raspberry martini cocktail on the wooden table.

A lot of the best rooftop bars in Istanbul are fantastic places, but they’re also quite expensive. However, Monkey Istanbul ticks the fantastic box and lowers the price range a little. I enjoyed some fantastic cocktails here for less money than some other comparable bars, without having to compromise on the fantastic views.

This is a very popular bar amongst locals and visitors, and the DJ sets are fantastic for chilling out or dancing. You can sit indoors or outdoors, and the whole vibe is laid-back and stylish. This is one of my go-to places for a weekend night out when I want to let my hair down a little and really enjoy Istanbul’s vibrant nightlife scene.

Monkey Istanbul Information

Address: Evliya Çelebi, Nejat Eczacıbaşı Binası, Şişhane Sk., 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
Phone: +90 (532) 605 8156
Operating Hours: Sunday – Thursday, 5 pm – 2.30 am, Friday & Saturday, 5 pm – 3.30 am
Must-Try Items: Gin cocktails, whiskey menu, Raspberry Martini cocktail
Average Cost: $9 per cocktail, $6 per beer, $7 for wine
Website: monkeyistanbul.business.site

15. Peat & Sherry Whisky Bar (Best for Whiskey)

Scotch single malt and blended whisky tasting on distillery in Scotland

There are a few whiskey bars in Istanbul, but this is considered one of the best. Located in Kadiköy, the atmosphere here is vibrant and calm, yet it’s a great place for mingling and spending an evening with friends. Even if you’re not a huge whiskey fan, the tasting menus here might just sway you.

This is also a great spot for sherry, so again, it’s a good spot to try something new. The sheer range of different drinks here is quite mind-blowing, and the staff are on hand to give you some ideas on what you might like depending on your tastes. Overall, I really liked the vibe here, and it’s somewhere I’ve been back to a few times since.

Peat & Sherry Whisky Bar Information

Address: Caddebostan, Bağdat Cad. No:338, 34728 Kadıköy/İstanbul
Phone: +90 (530) 071 1015
Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday, 3 pm – 1 am
Must-Try Items: American Dream tasting kit, Blended Malt Trio tasting kit, Teeling Stout
Average Cost: $23-28 per whiskey tasting kit, $9-12 per glass of whiskey
Website: peatandsherry.co

Best Drink Tours in Istanbul

A Night Bar with a lot of wine in glasses at the bar corner.

The best bars in Istanbul are located all over the city, and this is a huge place. For that reason, taking a nightlife tour is a great way to explore some fantastic places to stop for a drink or two, (or more). I’ve taken a few bar crawl tours in Istanbul, and I met some great people, many of whom I’m still in contact with today.

Let’s look at some of the best tours and see if any grab your attention:

Istanbul Party Pub Crawl with Party Bus

I went on this pub crawl a few years ago, and it was a fantastic night. I met people from around the world, some of whom I’m still in touch with today. You’ll board a party bus, and will visit three rooftop clubs around the city; from there, you’ll play drinking games and sample local raki. The tour takes seven hours so remember to pace yourself! Click here for more information.

Istanbul Wineries Tour With a Private Sommelier

For something a little more sedate, a winery tour with a private sommelier is a great choice. You’ll visit three separate wineries around the city, and you’ll get to try different local wines as you go. The tour takes 3.5 hours, so it’s a great way to get a taste of Istanbul’s wine scene and decide where you want to explore further. Click here for booking details.

Istanbul 7-Hour Pub Crawl

This 7-hour bar crawl takes you around three of the best bars in the city, and you’ll also receive complimentary raki to try as you go. The tour is centered around Taksim, so you’ll be right in the heart of Istanbul’s loudest and most vibrant nightlife spots. It’s a walking tour, so make sure you wear comfortable shoes. Click here to book.

Famous Istanbul Pub Crawl Nightlife Experience

This tour is one of the most popular in Istanbul, and it’s been operating for years. That should tell you a lot about how much fun it is. As with most pub crawl tours, you’ll meet in Taksim and will work your way around five different venues, with four free shots to help you get into the party spirit. Click here for more information.

Istanbul Private Wine Tasting Tour

I loved this private wine-tasting tour, which took me to three different wineries. Istanbul’s wineries are all hidden gems in their own right, and I discovered some different varieties that I really liked. You’ll learn how the wine is made, and how to pair it with meals, and you’ll have plenty of samples to try. You’ll also have the option to purchase your favorite bottle at the end of the trip. Click here to book.

Istanbul Bars: FAQs

Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions about the best bars in Istanbul, Turkey:

What are the best bars in Istanbul?

There are fantastic bars all over Istanbul, so you’ll find somewhere to drink no matter where you’re staying. However, the best bars are in the Beyoğlu, Kadiköy, and Beşiktaş districts.

Do you tip in Istanbul?

There isn’t a rule that says you have to tip in Istanbul, but if you enjoy the service then a tip will be greatly appreciated. A good example is 10% of the bill amount. However, do check that a service charge hasn’t been applied to your bill already.

Does Istanbul have good craft beer?

The craft beer scene in Istanbul has grown substantially over the last few years, and there are several dedicated bars for craft beer now, including Populist and Craft Beer Lab.

How much is an average beer in Istanbul?

Prices vary depending on the neighborhood and bar, but generally speaking, a local beer (Efes) is between 80-120 lira, and imported beers, such as Carlsberg and Budweiser, are around 100-150 lira.

Does Istanbul have good nightlife?

Istanbul has fantastic nightlife, and it’s extremely varied. You’ll find sedate spots, crazy clubs, and everything in between. Taksim is a nightlife hub, and this is where you’ll find bars and clubs that stay open the latest.

What’s the best wine bar in Istanbul?

Istanbul is home to some fantastic wine bars, especially in the Galata and Beşiktaş areas. Sensus is a fantastic wine bar, with a huge wine list to choose from.

Which part of Istanbul is best for nightlife?

Taksim is the main nightlife hub in Istanbul, but you’ll find nightlife all over the city. Sultanahmet’s nightlife is a little more sedate and tends to end around midnight as it’s mostly home to restaurants and small cafes. However, Kadiköy and Beşiktaş also offer fantastic nightlife options.

What is the most exclusive bar in Istanbul?

The bars that sit on the edge of the Bosphorus are some of the most exclusive and upmarket in the city. Ruby is located in Ortaköy and is considered one of the most sophisticated spots in the city, along with the bars in Ulus Park in Beşiktaş. These places offer amazing views and top-quality service.

Is there a bar street in Istanbul?

There isn’t a formal bar street but the closest thing is Taksim, which is packed with bars, cafes, clubs, and pubs until very late in the evening, sometimes until the early hours of the morning.

In Conclusion

While Istanbul offers some of the best sightseeing spots in the world, it really comes alive when the sun goes down. If you’re in Taksim, you’ll be partying until the sun rises again, but equally, if you’re seeking something more sedate, you won’t struggle to find a perfect fit either. The best bars in Istanbul offer something for everyone, and it’s simply a case of working out what you’d like to do that evening.

I like a chilled-out kind of bar, but one that has a great atmosphere—the Corner Irish Pub is one of my regular haunts, but I like to try new places whenever I visit. The good news is that now you know exactly where to head for your first fun-filled evening in Istanbul.


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