The 5 Best Clubs in Istanbul
What’s backpacking without a debaucherous behaviour now and then eh? With that in mind, after getting your teeth sunk into the cultural side of Turkey with their 10 Unesco World Heritage Sites, and their hot air balloons in Cappadocia. It’s time to cut loose and Istanbul is the city to do it. Enjoy the 5 best clubs in Istanbul!
The one you are looking for if you need cheap booze and crazy music. The music is predominantly house, there are special shows-attractions like hanging upside down girls, dancing girls on the tables and numerous DJs spinning tunes. You don’t need to come with a girl, with is a huge plus for us lonely backpackers!
A small cubbyhole down a side street in Tünel, hidden behind a heavy curtain, Off Pera was – until recently – often completely empty, despite being within stumbling distance of the city’s best restaurants and drinking holes. In recent months, however, it has become a bit of an open secret as one of the best clubs in Istanbul. Though it has retained all of its charm. With little floor space, the dance floor rapidly absorbs the club. If you can fight your way into the bar, dance the night away to Turkish and European pop under an extraordinary ceiling of flashing LEDs, presided over by DJs in a bunk bed-like booth halfway up the wall.
Asmalimescit Mahallesi, Gönül Sokak 14A, Beyoğlu, +90 212 249 2697
Indigo is the home of Istanbul’s electro scene. Large, and crowded at weekends, it sits right in the middle of Beyoğlu – the city’s clubbing district. With big-name international and local DJs spinning techno, house, electro and disco, it packs a crowd who come primarily to dance. The owners have gradually spread their way through the neighbourhood – down the road is their bar, Indigo Pub, and their newest venture, multipurpose space Indigo Lounge; no wonder they boast that you can spend an entire day hanging out in Indigo venues.
Istiklal Caddesi, Akarsu Sokak 1-2-4-5, Beyoğlu, +90 212 244 8567
With its live in-house Gypsy band, cheap beer on tap, and location – just off the perpetually buzzing Nevizade Sokak – it’s little wonder that Araf is a student favourite. It’s perched at the top of a dilapidated Beyoğlu building. It takes numerous flights of stairs to reach the bar. Its large windows look out over the run-down mansion houses of Tarlabaşi. Expect throngs of local and international students dancing to authentic Gypsy sounds. While the DJs play reggae, funk, soul and rock’n’roll. Thursday night has dependable music. Celebrated Roma clarinettist Selim Sesler plays on Tuesdays. Avoid the madness of the weekend, when the DJ plays more generic tracks and the club swells to two floors.
Hüseyinağa Mahallesi, Balo Sokak 32, Beyoğlu, +90 212 244 8301
Walking into 11.11 feels like entering a Day-Glo polyhedron. An array of colours flow across geometric back-lit panels on the walls and ceiling. And after a few hours you might not know which is which. Open Fridays and Saturdays, local DJs are joined by visiting acts roughly once a fortnight (the bigger-name DJs entail a ticket). The soundtrack is emphatically house. Ambient house in the lounge and deep house in the club. Like so many of the city’s indoor venues, 11.11 closes for the summer. But when it’s open, expect to find it packed.
Meşrutiyet Caddesi 69, Beyoğlu 34330, +90 212 244 8834
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