Istanbul Nightlife

This Metropolitan city contains of over 15 million inhabitants with a wide range of nationalities. The traditional Turkish culture blends with cultures from the many tourists that enlighten the city. What does this mean for their nightlife culture?

Text and photo by Sandra Deira

Özgür Erdogu (37) is a business owner in Taksim and has seen the many changes the city has been through in the last few years.

According to Erdogu, there are mainly two types of places: European pubs and traditional Mehanne. At the Mehanne Turkish people drink Raki, which is very strong. “People go there for a couple of hours with their friends and drink the Raki together with some soft delicacies.”

Erdogu has seen Istanbul change a lot because of Arab tourists. Recently, Arabian people no longer need a visa to enter Turkey. Therefore, it has become much easier for them to come here. “I don’t like the new Istanbul so much. Taksim changed a lot in the last 5 years. People change their style according to the Arab tourists. Businessmen change their business into a shisha house or kebab house.”

“They are also big fans of Turkish tv shows and generally love coming here to spend their money.”

Taksim is a huge city where you can find anything for any type of person. Young, old, students, rich or poor and tourists. You name it. Although the most common music to hear is some energetic rock-type of music or Balkan music. There are also places to enjoy Heavy metal, Hiphop or gaybars.

Whilst most people will go for a drink, the use of drugs isn’t unfamiliar in this Metropolitan city. “Drug use is the same as in other Metropolitan cities. Sometimes police are trying to control the trafficking of soft drugs like weed. And then people start to use some different things. Such as the chemical Bonzai, which is easy to use but very dangerous. Many people died from this.