At first sight nightlife in Turkey might look like its equivalent in any other country in the world. However, beyond the bars, night clubs, restaurants and discos there’s a lot more variety awaiting the visitor as this short review shows.
Night life in Istanbul Turkey is always fascinating, and there will never be a dull moment anywhere in the city. Some of the places within the city where you can get the best night clubs in Istanbul Turkey are; Bosphorus, Beyoglu, Ortakoy, and Levent. Istanbul is the liveliest city in Turkey, the night clubs in the city offer every kind of music, foods, drinks and varieties you can ever think of. Some of the best rated night clubs in Istanbul are: Angelique, Blackk, Reina, Sortie, SuAda, Al Jamal, Babylon, Jolly joker Balans, Living Indigo, 360, and Wan-na.
Most of the gay bars and clubs in Istanbul are busy after midnight. They open their doors by 22:00-23:00 o'clock.
Of course, the music is loud in all of these after-midnight clubs; playing a mixture of Turkish pop, western pop, techno and underground music in turns. There are no dark rooms in any of them for action, but usually kissing, hugging etc. is well tolerated.
Friday & Saturday nights are the busiest nights everywhere. Tuesday and Wednesday nights would be busier in comparison to the other mid-week nights, but this also depends on special events organized in each venue. Mondays would be the least busy night of the week when some trendy gay-clubs would be closed completely. The gay bars and clubs would also be busier in winter than summer season. Local people living in Istanbul go on summer holidays to resorts in Southern Turkey.
Most gay bars/clubs in Istanbul require entrance fee on Saturday nights and sometimes on Friday nights, but you can get one "local drink" with your ticket. Actually, the gay bars are not very cheap in Istanbul. So, do not think that they are overcharging you because you are a tourist. The price of one drink ranges approximately between 5-8 Euros for local drinks, 10-15 Euros for "imported drinks" (such as Whiskey, Malibu, Safari, cocktails etc.)
The bars would accept Euros or Dollars for payment but they apply lower currency rates. Do not take this personal again, because they do the same to Turkish clients as well, if they try. Some venues would accept payments with credit cards, but not all. So, have some Turkish liras on you when you go out, to make it easier.
Typically, there are several security guys waiting at the door of each gay bar/club. They look like mafia types, but do not be scared. They are there to stop some unsolicited visitors, definitely not gay tourists. You will be well respected in any gay venue, not only because you have money but because -if not all- majority of the Turkish people have a kind of appreciation for western people/culture. Security guys (often called body-guards) also take care of the cloakrooms and would insist you to leave your bags, jackets and coats in winter season, for which you will have to pay usually when you leave. Of course, they will give you a number for the cloakroom.
You will see the almost all gay bars and clubs are located in Taksim/Beyoglu. Do not get confused with Taksim and Beyoglu districts, when you see the venue addresses. The official municipality is called Beyoglu (historical Pera district) Taksim is just the central neighborhood of Beyoglu, at the northern end of the town and Istiklal Caddesi (very famous pedestrian avenue). The area starting from Taksim Square all the way down to the Golden Horn (narrow estuary/bay locally named Halic "read=Hullich") on the southern-end are all within Beyoglu municipality borders. That is, if the address contains Taksim, the place should be closer to the north of Beyoglu.
Useful tips for finding the addresses:
Cad. = Caddesi (read: Jad-de-see) = Main street/avenue
Sok. = Sokak= Side street or small lane/alley.
Ilkyaz Apt. = Ilkyaz Apartment, name of the building, if there is one.
Kat: 3 = On the 3rd Floor
No:23/4 = Here 23 Refers to the number of the building on that street. It follows as 2,4,6... , on one side, 1,3,5... on the other side of the street. 4 refers to the number of the flat/apartment/floor
Gay Night Clubs in Istanbul.
Tekyon Club (22:30-05:00)
Address: Siraselviler Caddesi (street) No: 63/1 Taksim/Beyoglu. Istanbul.
Already very popular gay club of Istanbul has moved to a new and much bigger place on Siraselviler on May 26th 2009 and has become the talk of the town where everybody is rushing to see. The prices are average The venue is very big for the capacity of gay nightlife in Istanbul and consequently it is getting less crowded especially during the week-in days but it is almost always very very busy on Friday and Saturday nights, including its big back-garden which is a chance for smokers.
It was once popular venue especially for local bears, but attracts a completely mixed crowd now. The waiters are very feminine and friendly in this bar, probably to entertain their loyal clients. Male belly dancer and simple drag shows performed by the bar staff can be fun to see, usually on Tuesday nights after 01:00 am, and there are various show on weekend nights including a go-go show (sometimes even a bear version of it). Tekyon is very flexible with cover charges and cloakroom rituals compared to other gay clubs in Taksim
X-Large Fashion Club 23:00-05:00
Address: AOS Sitesi, G:52.Sok. No:12/1 Maslak, Istanbul,
Open on Friday and Saturday nights. It was first opened near Taksim area in May 2009, X LARGE has become very popular weekend club where you can find the atmosphere of the big European gay clubs. It has moved to a new venue in May 2013, farther from Taksim and gay nightlife, but can be accessed easily by metro from Taksim square (metro station: Ataturk Oto Sanayi). Admission fee is required and higher than most other gay clubs in Istanbul but it is worth well for most people who want to be in a place offering very professional shows & great music in an upper scale environment.
Visitor comments about this venue
"went to X Large Club on Saturday night. nice crowd. the show was amazing, especially the hot hot male dancers on stage. worth the cover charge" (Posted by Eric from Paris June 24 2013)
"I went to X large twice in the week, it was empty on Wednesday night till almost 2 a.m when I left, on Saturday night when I went there I paid a hefty entrance of 30 lira, but the place was filled with straight people, I could not see any gay people around, I don't know why this club is even considered gay. there were drag shows on stage but that was all to it. I tried Tekyon on Friday night & it had all the local gay guys." (Posted by Solence from India on 07/02/2013)
"I think Club XL with his extraordinary architecture ( that was an old cinema), and Other Side with his spectacular Taksim view terrace are advisable best two Gay and Lesbian Bars in Istanbul. Tekyon is also biggest and most famous bar. After the others bars mostly gay people often prefer to go Tekyon about 3am" (Posted by Juan from Italy on 20/07/2013)
"I paid a visit to this place on Aug.15 and it was nice. The mix of people there are very nice and real gay. They mostly go there to enjoy dancing and the shows the dancers put on. On the other hand, a very important point was the level of noise of the music, it was very ok and unlike other clubs where they are ear deafening, though it was exhilirating. The only thing i had against the place was the quality of drinks. It was not up to the western standard, drinks were of cheap quality. But the overall impression was fine and i recommend this place." (Posted by Rimez from USA on 28/05/2013)
Zuppe Club (22:00 - 05:00)
Address: Istiklal Cad. Zambak Sokak No:2 Kat:5 Taksim, Istanbul
It was first opened as Club OtherSide, and then named Penthouse. It has changed its name once again in late 2012, but almost everything else is the same. It is a popular after-midnight & weekend club especially busy on Friday and Saturday nights. It is located on 5th floor and has a terrace, which is an advantage for the club because smoking is forbidden in bars and clubs in Turkey since mid 2009. On various nights, you can see Go Go boy, Drag Queen, Rakkas (male belly dancer) shows. The shows are good and very professional but the prices are also over average (local drinks are around 17 Lira). Entrance fee is required on Friday and Saturday nights. New venue of the club has hosted live music performances of several nation-wide famous pop singers of Turkey.
Love Club - 23:30 - 05:00 (Friday-Saturday)
Address: Cumhuriyet Caddesi no: 349 Harbiye Istanbul. Google Map
This night club is located in Harbiye district, on the main avenue about 15-20 minutes walking distance to Taksim Square. It is better to take a texi after midnight. An honest taxi ride should cost round 5 lira (2-3 Euros). It is open on Friday and Saturday nights. Saturday is the most busy night and there are some good shows usually. They are rigid about the admission fee on Saturday nights. The tickets are around 10-15 Euro but you will get 1 drink with it, which is a typical price and practice in similar clubs. If it is the first time you are going there it is hard to notice the venue at first sight. The entrance is on a very narrow street, down the steps from the main avenue. It is just round the corner of a linens shop called English Home, which is easier to notice with a big obtrusive sign-board. If you take taxi from Taksim tell the driver that you will get off at "Askeri Muze" /Military museum in Harbiye. The club is across the main street with respect to Askeri Muze building.
Cub Ekoo ( 23:00-05:00)
Address: Tarlabasi Bulvari (avenue), No 32 Beyoglu, Istanbul.
Do not miss this place if you want to see something more local, a relaxed atmosphere with less attitudes. Mix ages and various types of gay men, queers, rent-boys, few transvestites, and bears are regular attendants. Rent-boys are easy to notice and it is recommended to be selective with the guys you meet as anywhere. Music is a mixture of Western dance hits and Turkish pop music selections. Ekoo bar has moved to a more central location in March 2011, very close to Taksim square. It is now across from the flower shops at Taksim square on Tarlabasi avenue, just a few meter below senior Prive club (now also called No Name) or next to Carlton Hotel. Click here for location map
Club 17 - 23:00-05:00
Address: Istiklal Caddesi, Zambak Sokak No:17, Istanbul
Meeting point of mainly cheap young hustlers & amateur escort boys and some gay men who would be interested in them. There are also several drag queens and transvestites in the place most of the time. They play loud techno & underground music from their lousy music system but it is a busy place usually full of these hustlers. Beware of the boys you pick up from here. As long as you are aware of these facts, it may be fun to go there to observe the underground gay-culture of the city for some people.
Club Cheeky - 24:00-06:00
Address: Kucuk Bayram Sokak No:1/A Beyoglu / Istanbul.
This is a small morning-club open on Fridays and Saturdays and not busy before 03:00 am, intending to catering people after other clubs closes down. Although there are no shows, they also ask for an entrance fee (apprx 15 Euro) and are very arrogant about it. You can see a mixture of gays, rent-boys and even transvestites. It is located on a back-street (Bayram Sokak), which was notorious with transgender prostitution before, and it is recommended to be careful with pick-pockets in the vicinity late after midnight. Its small darkroom is the main reason of its popularity, although it is not as liberal as its western counterparts. Dark rooms are not very common in gay clubs in Istanbul, because these kind of venues are regarded as public venues and are subject to police and municipality controls now and then.
Some of the famous Turkish Gay bars located in Istanbul.
GAY CAFE BAR:
Adress: İstiklal Caddesi, Yeşilçam Sokak No: 25...
Opening hours 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. It is good for single and looking gays. You can
Dance in this bar. Every Wednesday special gradshow. Nice terrace. On weekends, animation and dance shows also offered.
Adress: Sıraselviler Caddesi, Soğancı Sokak, No:7/1, Cihangir - Beyoğlu.
Saturday is the busiiest day of this bar. Goto for real love not for partner for hire.
Adress: İstiklal Caddesi Saka Salim Çıkmazı NO:1/1 Beyoğlu-İstanbul.
Dance shows, drag-queen shows. Openning hours 23 to 4 in the morning
Adress: İstiklal Caddesi, Balo Sokak No: 20 Beyoglu...
It is open only on Fridays and Saturdays. This club is a high lesbian crowd . On the weekends, it is open from 23 to 4 a.m.
Adress: Tarlabaşı Bulvarı, No: 28/A Taksim.
On of the Istanbul's oldest gay-bar is Prive. English and Turkish pop music here. Weekdays are very busy in this club.
Adress: Lamartine Caddesi 11/4 Beyoğlu.
It is very active after midnight.
Adress: İstiklal Caddesi, Sadri Alışık Sokak, No:26, Beyoglu.
Quite noisy and crowded place. Mainly amateur men for hire could be found.
Adress: İstiklal Caddesi, Zambak Sokak No:17...
Nearby the French consulate. Kind of cheap bar.
Adress: Tarlabaşı Bulvarı No: 248 Beyoglu.
Entrance from the street can be seen.
Adress: Meşrutiyet Cad. No:54/1 Tepebaşı, Beyoğlu...
The middle class club for tourists.
Adress: Adnan Menderes BulvarI, Horhor Caddesi, Aksaray.
Gay bar nearby Aksaray Metro Station. Everyday opne untiil 2 a.m.
Adress: İstiklal Cad. Sadri Alışık Sokak. NO:40 Beyoğlu...
May be the world's most unique gay bar. Watch your wallet.