Istanbul has a fabulous array of nightlife choices. Many venues boast spectacular city and Bosphorus views and it is possible to drink, dine and party all in one location. Outside of Istanbul, Bodrum leads the way for after-dark activities with hip bars and a vibrant summer club scene.
Throughout history Turks have enjoyed a liberal attitude towards drinking and socializing, a fact that was not lost on the inebriated Sultan Mahmut II, who managed to die of alcohol poisoning in 1839. Today there are three main drinks in Turkey:
Raki - the national drink is made from fermented grapes infused with aniseed flavor. Raki is drunk with water and ice, which turn it a milky-white color. Traditionally made with raisins, recent developments have seen the production of premium products such as: fresh grape raki, organic raki and triple distilled raki. The brands to look for are Efe and Tekirdag.
Wine - Turkey is not synonymous with great wine but recent years have seen substantial investment in the wine industry. Of interest to wine aficionados are Turkey's unique grape varietals such as: Bogazkere, Okuzgozu, Nevsah and Narince. The leading winemakers are Doluca, Kavaklidere and Corvus.
Beer - Efes is the leading beer produced in Turkey, it is a refreshing pale lager with tangy malt and hops aroma. Efes also produces other beer varieties such as; Efes Dark, Efes Light, Efes Ice and Efes Extra
Nightlife experiences in Istanbul:
1. Roof-top bars. Thanks to the wealth of outstanding vistas many bars are orientated towards stunning panoramic views. These are mostly contemporary settings popular with Istanbul's fashionable crowd. Bars well worth the view are: 360, Mikla, Nu Teras and Vogue.
2. Bosphorus Nightclubs. The city's premier super-clubs are all set along the gorgeous Bosphorus shoreline in Kurucesme. They are the places to see and be seen, attracting a mix of models, football stars, celebrities and the European club crowd. The undeniable king of the club scene is Reina, which also houses a clutch of popular restaurants. Other clubs well worth a visit are Angelique, Crystal and Sortie.
3. Live music venues. Istanbul has a thriving live music scene and attracts many of the top international acts. The top live venue is Babylon in Beyoglu which regularly hosts DJs and Rock bands. Jazz lovers can enjoy two great venues; Nardis Jazz Club in Beyoglu and the chic Q Jazz Bar in the Les Ottomans Hotel. If you are craving a more rustic experience many of the Turkish tavernas in and around Beyoglu have live traditional music - try Asmali, Galatea or Ya & Re'n.