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Istanbul Nightlife, Fashion, Hipster Districts: Beyoglu, Karakoy. 360 panorama bar, 1924 Rejans restaurant.

hipsters istanbul turkey

Istanbul is one of those fascinating destinations where ancient history and edgy youth cultures co-exist. In a single street, you can walk by the 14th century Galata Tower, and come across a spread of psychedelic graffiti.

Let’s take a stroll through the hipster neighborhoods of Istanbul: Karaköy and Beyoğlu. I’ll take you inside video-art galleries, and the design stores of Çucurcuma. We’ll end our day with cocktails while overlooking a 360 degree view of the Bosphorus.

And since this is my birthday week (August 17!), I’ve put up many new items on my Depop store! Please take a browse. It would make me happy to send you a package of my Goth Kawaii fashion and accessories.

Check out my sales and email me if there’s something you’d like!

cats of istanbul

Istanbul is a city made for walking. At every turn, you’ll find photo-worthy details like flowering tiles, brightly painted walls, mosques… and a cat or two. (I wrote more about the street animals of Istanbul in this post.)

faux fur collar retro coat

For a glimpse of local life, wander through the winding roads of Beyoglu. I enjoyed seeing the family-run markets and colorful homes of this district.

Outfit Details: I’m wearing a coat by Alice’s Pig – here’s a similar jacket with faux fur collar, by Free People. My natural wood sunglasses are Moat House Eyewear. (More fuzzy collar jackets below!)

turkey cat sitting on motorcycle

You’ll come across cats and dogs everywhere in Istanbul. They’re quite well fed and relaxed — this kitty made himself at home, on a motorcycle!

Beyoğlu istanbul neighborhood streets

I recommend wearing good walking shoes, since Beyoğlu’s roads are steep and lack pavements. The area is safe during the day, but my local friends advised me not to go here alone at night.

Istiklal art galleries

On the popular shopping street, Istiklal, you’ll find lots of modern art galleries. At Arter, there was an intriguing collection of video and light projections. Quite a few had creepy motifs: a giant stuffed bear, a floating dress, a bedroom voyeur. 

istanbul modern cool artists exhibits

If you’re afraid of clowns, then you wouldn’t want to come across this gigantic pregnant mime! 

street art, graffiti istanbul

Continue to the Karakoy district. You’ll find stores selling handmade goods, and walls of colorful street art.

hip cool istanbul subcultures

There’s a funky, hippie vibe to a lot of the works. I just love the energy of cities like Istanbul.

Çucurcuma shopping, stores

Be sure to find Çukurcuma, a cool street in the heart of Beyoglu. It’s famous for its antique shops, but I was more interested in browsing the hip design boutiques.

istanbul design shops

I found Totoro pins and bunny dolls in Lunapark. Most of the Cukurcuma retailers are local and independent — a nice contrast to the more commercial shopping areas.

karakoy istanbul fashion boutiques

Nearby, there was a jewelry maker, and a comic books store. We passed by the cutest cafes, and couldn’t resist stopping for a tulip-shaped glass of hot black Turkish tea.

istanbul fruit seafood market

Every district of Istanbul has a distinct character. The fish and fruit vendors waved me into Besiktas market.

ecco intrinsic sneakers, shoes

Pants: I’m wearing these exact Black Milk leggings.

ShoesEcco Intrinsic sneakers — love these kicks!

CoatAlice’s Pigsimilar here. Faux fur, always.

Shades: Moat House Eyewear

1924 rejans restaurant

Istanbul’s hottest restaurants and nightlife are centered around Istiklal St, near Taksim Square.

We had a world-class dinner at 1924 Rejans, a restaurant that hearkens back to the era of Russian emigres in Turkey.

(Address: Asmalı Mescit Mahallesi OIivya Geçidi No:7-A, 34435, Istanbul)

creative istanbul bars, dining

Rejans was once an Istanbul hot-spot for wealthy Russians, who fled the Bolshevik revolution and recreated their urbane lifestyle in Turkey. Bohemians and politicians alike rubbed shoulders in the wood-paneled dining room.

Today, the restaurant has been revived as 1924 Rejans. The classic decor and attentive staff instantly bring you back in time.

best cocktail bars istanbul

The mixologist introduced himself, and brought out a pushcart of house-infused vodkas. We started with the classic lemon vodka: I was tempted to taste every flavor.

We ordered a round of classic cocktails, each made in perfect measure.

turkey molecular cocktails, food

Nostalgia isn’t afraid to meet innovation. I watched the bartender make me a smoky Negroni, with molecular cocktail theatrics.

russian restaurant 1924 istanbul

The menu is tribute to classic Russian and Eastern European favorites, with some modern twists. We started with a delightful spread of appetizers including salads and warm salmon blinis, followed by comfort classics like chicken Kiev and beef Wellington.

taksim square top restaurants

A live accordion player filled the room with Slavic song. 1924 is a warm, elegant dining experience that brings you back to Europe’s golden days.

360 istanbul bar club

On another night, we had a very different — but equally memorable — evening at 360 Istanbul. Located on the rooftop of an eight story building, this bar / restaurant / club offers one of the best panorama views of the city. (Address: Tomtom Mh., İstiklal Cad. Mısır Apt.No:163 K:8, 34433 Beyoğlu).

panorama bar, istanbul view

360 Istanbul is completely surrounded by windows, which lets you dine with a spectacular unblocked view. You can also step onto the patio to gaze out at the Bosporus, mosques and historical district.

360 istanbul menu drinks

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, with a large selection of dishes that range from Turkish mezzes to international cuisine. On the weekends, 360Istanbul turns into 360Club, with top DJs and live musical performances.

nigthclub bars istanbul

Don’t miss out on the many clubs and bars in the Taksim area, especially in the summer. At night, these streets are full of energy, and venues are pumped up with partygoers until early morning.

modern art istanbul nisantasi

I leave you with some illuminated art, from a gallery in Besiktas.

Istanbul is inspiring, isn’t it? I hope this guide gives you a sense of the coolest neighborhoods, what to see, and where to eat! Please feel free to share the post with friends who are interested in Istanbul, and perhaps traveling here soon.

depop app tips, making money

And thank you again for the birthday wishes. I’d love it if you took a look at my store I’m selling lots of my Japanese fashion and accessories for low prices.

Just take a browse here, and email me directly if there’s something you would like. I’ll gladly do exact shipping and bundle discounts, and send your package with a personal note, photo, and more. Talk soon!

SHARE & COMMENT

31 Comments

  1. Posted August 16, 2016 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Happy birthday La Carmina!
    See you soon!

  2. Posted August 16, 2016 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    hbd

  3. Posted August 16, 2016 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Happy birthday to you!

  4. Posted August 16, 2016 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    I love Turkiye ***

  5. Posted August 16, 2016 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Thanks again for coming to us.

    • Posted August 16, 2016 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

      I love your city!

  6. Posted August 17, 2016 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    Happy birthday girl

  7. Posted August 17, 2016 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Hail Carmina!!!!!!

  8. Posted August 17, 2016 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Happy happy birthday ❤️

  9. Posted August 18, 2016 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    Love!!!!

  10. Posted August 18, 2016 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! x

  11. Posted August 18, 2016 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    Happy birthday dear

  12. Posted August 18, 2016 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    We hope you have a birthday as wonderful as you are !

  13. Posted August 20, 2016 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    I love Istanbul.

  14. Posted August 20, 2016 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    That bar, whoa the view is amazeeeeeee

    • Posted August 22, 2016 at 1:51 am | Permalink

      Best view in town

  15. Posted August 20, 2016 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    cool as f=== !!

  16. Posted August 22, 2016 at 1:54 am | Permalink

    Rad.

  17. Posted August 22, 2016 at 1:54 am | Permalink

    Is it safe to go to Istanbul? I don’t know if I will go.

    • Posted October 4, 2016 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      As safe as everywhere else these days. I just spent 9 days there and there was NO problem. Just beware of the traffic :-)

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