With a dramatic skyline of historic districts, crowded with minarets, bridges and wide waterways, it was only a matter of time before Istanbul enjoyed a boom in rooftop establishments. Ranging from posh to casual, we’ll help you identify the right spot to sit back and enjoy the views with a glass of something refreshing in hand.
Bar, Restaurant, Mediterranean, European, Turkish, $$$
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Resting high above the bohemian neighborhood of Cihangir is 5.Kat, one of Istanbul’s first rooftop bars, having opened its doors almost 20 years ago. Don’t be put off by the lackluster entrance; head straight to the elevator and up to the fifth floor, you’ll find yourself in a hip garden terrace with imposing views of the Bosphorus and surrounding cityscape. Plants are everywhere and it seems the bustle of Taksim couldn’t be further away.
A long-standing Istanbul favorite, known for excellent service and a truly sophisticated and extensive wine list, Vogue offers modern, understated surroundings, and music at a low volume for those what want to chat. This upscale bar and restaurant, also serving sushi, is located on the top floor of the Beşiktaş Plaza and for the 20+ years has consistently delivered some of best food and most breathtaking views available in all of Istanbul. From its three terraces, one reserved for bar patrons, you can enjoy the lights of Bosphorus Bridge in the distance.
There’s more than one venue going by the name of Leb-i Derya in Istanbul. The one we’re referring to is accessible through the Richmond Hotel on Kumbaracı Street, just off Istiklal. A casual summery atmosphere adorned with a picturesque skyline make this place an excellent setting for a romantic dinner or enjoying one of the bar’s signature creations. Winters see the terrace turn into a heated indoor space, creatively closed off by glass walls taking nothing away from the surrounding views.
Situated at the very top of Mısır Apartments on İstiklal Avenue, 360 Istanbul is arguably the city’s most well-known venue of its kind. From the roof of this upscale edifice, housing reputable art-galleries down below, you can clearly spot Istanbul’s main landmarks stretching from St. Antoine’s Church all the way to Topkapi Palace. On a weekend, you can expect a sophisticated arty crowd keen on dancing to DJ sets, though during the week the vibe is somewhat quieter. Dress code is strictly enforced.
Atop the rooftop of the Nu Pera building, NuTeras was the first venue to attract classy locals towards the Beyoĸlu area. Unlike the many others that followed suit, this lounge bar is still widely appreciated by a hip crowd of the young and trendy. The place serves dinner, fancy nibbles and cocktails in an elegant atmosphere and delivers late night dancing with views of the Golden Horn for a backdrop.