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

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

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. 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…

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