Istanbul nightlife is varied, fast changing, seasonal and fun fun fun!
In the summer nightlife moves outdoors and towards the water. Large waterside bars and clubs open all along the bosphorous and restaurants and bars open their gardens, terraces, even move locations. The popular summer locations are Ortakoy, Kurucesme, Arnavutkoy along the Bosphorous, and Asmalimescit area off Istiklal Street.
In winter the same clubs, bars and restaurants move indoors and into their winter locations. Top areas for nightlife are along Istiklal street and Nisantasi.
On the Asian side Baghdat Street and Moda/Kadikoy areas have wonderful cafes, restaurants and bars but few late night bars and clubs, which is true for all of Asian side. there are few exceptions but for late night clubbing you have to be in the European side.
Typical times for Activities:
Sitting leisurely in cafes all around town : 2 – 7
Early evening drinks popular in most European countries is not very popular in Istanbul. People usually go back home to get ready. Some bars especially hotel bars may get busy but this is usually expat businesspeople.
Dinner : 8.30 – 11.30
Bar and Cocktails 11 – 2
Clubs : 2 – morning
Early morning eats : 3 – 6
There are many places in Istanbul that operate as first as a restaurant, then as a bar when they clear the tables and the as a club when the music gets really loud. Which is a good thing as you can stay in the same location and avoid queues to enter later at night.
Dresscode for top Clubs (such as Reina, Sortie, 360)
Dresscode for Istanbul’s top clubs is similar, winter and summer. Unfortunately you need to look the part of you want entry to these clubs, especially late at night.
Women dress up. Revealing dresses, short skirts, skimpy tops all acceptable, even expected. Top labels, expensive bags, strappy high heeled sandals, jewellery, you can really go over the top. In the summer colourful dresses are seen as well as black dresses. A minimum would be nice jeans, a sparkly dressy top and high heels. You will not see a woman wearing trainers or flat shoes. You’d be surprised how many girls have their hair done, at least blow-dried and there is lots and lots of make up.
Men usually wear jeans, black cotton trousers and a smart long sleeved shirt. There are some younger men with smart designer t-shirts. During the week there will be men in suits but only if they are coming after work, suit and ties are not needed and not seen on weekends unless coming from a wedding. Oder men wear tailored trousers, a crisp white shirt or polo shirt and sports jacket. Lots of linen is acceptable, similar to Italy. Very smart trainers are sometimes acceptable if you are a trendy youth but you may be refused entry.