The first thing to know about my exerience visiting bars in Taksim, is that I am not a night-time person any more. I like to wake up early and go to bed early. My partying days are well and truly behind me. However when visiting one of the greatest cities of the world i.e. Istanbul – I decided to try the night-life. The bustling Istiklal Avenue is one area staying busy until the early hours of the morning so that is where I headed, along with two female friends.
Another friend warned me to stay away from any establishment called a Pavyon. This is where scantily dressed women take all your money by charging over the odds for a beer and plate of peanuts, while wiggling their bottom in your face. They quite possibly offer extra services as well!
Warning – the normal bars in Taksim are very good and I was out of action for the whole of the next day, so do not go partying if you plan on sight seeing the day after!
Two Bars in Taksim
1: Sefahathane Bar– Atlas Pasaj
As soon as I walked into this bohemian bar, I instantly felt like it was my type of place. Located inside Atlas Pasaji, which is just off Istiklal Avenue, it was the perfect place to start the evening. Drinks were reasonably priced and the ambience is easy going. It was perfect for friends, couples or singles. The owner is Selim and with his staff, they did a wonderful job of making us feel welcome. Apparently, when the early hours of the morning arrive, it gets very crowded proving its popularity.
Even though, everything about this trendy bar was perfect, what really made my visit special was the choice of music. Foreign music from the 80’s and 90’s made me remember my teenage years when I could party non-stop. If only I had a time machine!
2 – Taksim Crab Bar – Istiklal Avenue
The name of this bar surprised me. Crab bar makes me think of Aegean cuisine, Mediterranean nights on the beach or sexual diseases! Getting over my giggles about the name, it is certainly not a bar to relax on summer nights. It consists of four floors that are jammed pack from wall to wall.
If you can get over the lack of personal space, the live Turkish band is definitely worth hearing. Apparently, the singer sounds better, the drunker he gets! He was certainly knocking them back on that night and along with his band produced catchy tunes accompanied by a great voice. He seems to have quite a following. I did not spot any other foreigners in the bar but felt totally at ease. There are no frills but the atmosphere was enough to make a great night.
What else did I notice about Taksim nightlife?
Around all the coastal resorts of Turkey, if you go into the bars at night-time, females are bound to get hassle. Some nightclubs are your typical cattle market with leering men, gathering around females as if they are a piece of meat on the supermarket shelf. You would think that in Istanbul, the hassle would be ten times worse but while in the bars I mentioned above, I felt very comfortable both as a foreigner and as a female. The only hassle we received was from a waiter in a restaurant under Galata Bridge during the day time!