Turkey is a Mediterranean country with a lively culture of eating, drinking, and entertainment, with nightlife and eating-out possibilities to suit every preference. During the summer months, al fresco dining is the norm, particularly along the coastal areas and along the Bosphorus in Istanbul.
Turkish nightlife has traditionally centred around meyhanes, similar to taverns, where an assortment of mezes (small plates or appetizers), often followed by a meal of fish, is consumed with rounds of raki, the aniseed-flavoured national spirit. Still extremely popular with all ages, the meyhane is a social affair, where dining and drinking is often accompanied by live music played on traditional instruments.
A great way to explore Turkey’s culture is through its music. The big cities attract both well-known and up-and-coming musicians, DJs and performers from around the world and music festivals are now a popular feature of the summer months, ranging from hard rock and classical to electronic and jazz. Traditional music is also still popular in Turkey, ranging from Anatolian folk music to Turkish-style classical music to lively, Balkan-influenced “fasil” music, and experiencing it live is the most enjoyable way to hear it.
The drinking scene is as diverse as the music scene, with options ranging from low-key bars to trendy clubs featuring local as well as international DJs. In the summer, especially in the coastal areas, many of these venues are water-side and open-air, allowing revellers to party under the stars.
Istanbul is one of the world’s hottest city-break destinations, in part due to its nightlife. Many of the hip new hangouts, chic restaurants and rooftop bars are all a stones-throw from the energetic Istiklal Caddesi in Taksim and nearby Tunel, as well as many dotted along the Bosphorus; enjoy sophisticated cocktail-sipping in trendy bars to clubbing all night to global beats. In the summer, Istanbul also revels in water-side fun, with plenty of open-air entertainment against the stunning backdrop of the Istanbul skyline.