Istanbul, a city of over 16 million residents, is the cultural and economic capital of Turkey. That should be your first inclination that this city has no shortage in the ‘fun’ department. However, the taxes are incredibly high and alcohol is expensive in this country. But the question is this: Is that really going to stop us from partying like it’s 1975? I hope not!


To have some fun, this list is presented by comparing the bars to their celebrity counterpart. I think it will help you understand the sort of place that you’re about to step into.


Zack Galifianakis, we could see you here

Istanbul has a lot of bars, but not many bar-bars. Once you go to a few of them, you’ll know what I mean. So the best bars in Istanbul are not that easy to run into. Traditional bars have taps, tables, dance floors, low lighting, shouting, young people flirting, old men being creepy, etc – you just don’t find that in many places around Istanbul. This is the exception. Urban is much like Zack Galifianakis. You don’t need to wear anything fancy, there is no pressure to fit in. If you’re in the mood, you can be the center of attention – the music is low enough to talk and to make people laugh and like you. But if you’re not in the mood, you can hover in a corner by yourself; beer in hand, other hand stroking your hair, narrowed eyes observing and secretly criticizing the rest of the world. Zach don’t care. Neither does Urban.



My celebrity man-crush

Fancy, sexy, great view, high class, the envy of a lot of other bars. If you know your celebrities, you should know where I’m going with this by now. That’s right, Ryan Gosling, this is you. (I write it as if he were actually reading this, isn’t that nice?) This is just Ryan’s scene. Sipping on a cocktail talking to beautiful ladies, looking so good that people forget about the amazing view behind him. All while being calm, cool and confident. But when it’s ready to start parting, he throws down like nobody else. That’s how Ulus 29 does it. Nice place for conversation, photos (we all know that we suck at night photos though) and, when the time comes, partying.



The only female celebrity who makes the list

We talked about this place in our top 5 club list as well. It’s also a bar – and it does a good job as a bar – so we have no choice but to bring it to the table again. Lucca is totally Angelina Jolie. Maybe I say that because I met a girl here the other night who was trying to be Angelina (it was Halloween), but it just makes sense. (FYI: I guessed her costume on my first guess. I’m THAT awesome. And no it did not impress her enough to kiss me. So I guess I’m not that awesome.) Luca is elegant, pretty, smoking hot, you get it. The people here are upper class, but they probably donate a lot of their money and time to charities. Angelina likes that.



The boss – and everybody knows it

Located in the urban, hip, welcoming district that is Cihangir, Smyrna is much like its neighborhood: fancy but relaxed, cool but composed. If George Clooney were a bar, he would be this one. Very aesthetically pleasing, great acoustics, laid back but knows it’s the shit. That kind of thing. Smyrna has a collection of antique toys that make for great conversation starters, a long bar that makes for a lot of drinks and a lot of people in their 30’s (come on, that’s totally George’s crowd).



He came, he saw, he left drunk (and maybe happy?)

The theme of this bar is drinking. None of that other trying to look fancy or create socially welcoming environments bullsh*t. This bar exists to get you hammered. With beer. A rare concept in this part of the world. Taps is Sean Penn. Or Sean Penn is Taps. Not sure what the correct wording should be there. Sean isn’t a beat around the bush kind of guy. He says what’s on his mind (drinking), he gets what he wants (drunk) and he doesn’t care about anything else in the process. After that he goes and donates almost all of his time to helping people in Haiti. That deserves a shout out. And a toast!