Let Loose at These Lively Bars in Beyoğlu, Istanbul

Istanbul is a city with many faces and Beyoğlu is its modern centre of entertainment
Istanbul is a city with many faces and Beyoğlu is its modern centre of entertainment | © Artur Bogacki / Alamy Stock Photo
Tedi Doychinova

Istanbul is a city with many faces, and if Sultanahmet is the city’s historic heart, Beyoğlu is its modern centre of entertainment, with some of Turkey’s best restaurants and bars lining the famous Istiklal Avenue. In Beyoğlu, International events, concerts and art exhibitions frequently merge with the bar scene to connect people from all walks of life. Tedi Doychinova, an American who calls Istanbul home, lists her favourite bars in the neighbourhood.

Hitching a ride in Beyoğlu

Gizli Bahçe

Bar, Cocktails

Turkei, Antalya-Stadt, Altstadt, Restaurant Gizli Bahce
© Hackenberg-Photo-Cologne / Alamy Stock Photo

Open from 8pm until 5am, Gizli Bahce, which means ‘secret garden’, is a bar that turns into a full-blown party as the night progresses. Enjoy a few well-priced drinks before the DJ set kicks off, at which point the uninhibited patrons of this venue will begin to dance and continue until the early morning. This is a small space that is usually packed at weekends, so expect some sweat thrown in with the good vibes.

Yuri Gagarin

Bar, Cocktails

Close to Taksim Square, Yuri Gagarin is a good choice for solo travellers, with an unpretentious and relaxed atmosphere where it’s easy to make friends. Come here for the cheap drinks and to mingle with the approachable crowd who spill into the street with drinks in hand as the sun goes down. The street location means you can fully immerse yourself in the city’s electrifying atmosphere, and at weekends (and some weeknights) local DJs play electronic sets to enhance the mood.


Bar, Cocktails

Considered a cult classic, this bar is a five-storey wonderland of unpredictable mash-ups. From a jungle swing set by the bar to smoke machines, neon lights, old-time furniture and a wide selection of board games, it would be easy to forget where you are if it weren’t for a window nook that looks out on the city. The rule here is that everyone is welcome to do their own thing, and let their freak flag fly. Papillion is particularly popular during Pride.

Balkon Restaurant and Bar

Bar, Cafe, Beer

Istanbul is famous for its rooftop bars that offer majestic Bosphorus views, though most places with the view have a VIP price on their drinks to match. Balkon is a well-priced bar that boasts spectacular sunsets over views of the peninsula. It’s also a restaurant, so you could enjoy lunch and a lazy cocktail here en route to Galata Tower. Although they play soft jazz in the afternoon, the tempo is picked up in the evening with electro and funky house music. This is one of the most popular spots during the summer in Istanbul, although a visit in the winter is just as worth it. In true Turkish style, the outdoor terrace offers blankets and heaters so the view can be enjoyed year-round.

Arsen Lüpen Taksim

Bar, Cocktails

Arsen Lüpen is so well known, it is hard to find a young Istanbul resident who hasn’t been here. This dynamic venue has something for all tastes: you could catch an open mic night here on a Tuesday and a comedy show on a Friday. For an exceptional visit, check their Instagram for the week’s lineup and keep an eye out for BalFolk night. The folk music and dance night’s growing popularity among patrons is exciting to watch. One of the best things about Arsen Lüpen is that it’s open until 5am on a Monday, which tells you something about their clientele. Blend in with the party people by ordering a draft Bomonti, one of the best beers Turkey has to offer.

Peyote Istanbul

Bar, Beer

Peyote is a quintessential college bar with a chill vibe, live performances and late hours. Their terrace easily fits 100 people and the downstairs area is an active concert venue that tends to attract indie artists, garage bands and at times, international musicians. For those who love to dance, DJ sets here often go on until 4am. During the summer, Peyote organises dream pop and ambient events on Burgazada, one of the Princes’ Islands. This day festival takes place in a sea-view garden. For travellers interested in organising a private pub crawl, the Beyoğlu location is very near to Gizli Bahçe.


Bar, Cocktails

Ziba is one of the best bars in Istanbul for free live music. Its corner location allows patrons of the bar to spill out into the street, turning it into a massive block party. Fresh talent often get their start playing at Ziba, and DJs have grown their local following by cultivating a weekly set here. During massive celebrations like Pride, the bar takes over the abandoned ruins across the street and musicians turn it into a makeshift stage. Due to its prime location in the middle of Beyoğlu, Ziba is an ideal spot to meet like-minded individuals who crave an after-hours party.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.


Holiday Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article