Every city has an Irish bar (or several), and this one isn't at all bad, and for those who can't get into the swing of the disintegrating chaos of Istanbul, this is a good bolt-hole.
It is based in an Irish Cultural Centre,just off Istikalal Street (Tram Street, leading from Taksim Square) has a lively basement club called U2 and two other bars (the Lemon Tree and the Sports Bar).
It was pretty lively when Ireland beat South Africa in 2005, (or was it 2004?) friendly staff, who are generously vague about the dollar price of Guinness, and decent Irish pub food. Watch out when leaving, a friend was mugged in the rather seedy street outside, and on another night there was a serious knives and bottles gang fight on the next corner.
Istiklal Cad. Hüseyinaga Mah,
Balo Sok. No.26 Beyöglu
tel : 224 20 13
Sultan's Inn: an inexpensive but lovely hostel with a nice terrace, showers and air-conditioning. I was very impressed with the price - I shared a room with a friend for around £12 per night each.
Chemberlitash Hamam: a spacious Turkish bath - the changing room, if I recall, is a corridor, but the actual hamam is large and one can spread out and lie on the marble slab in peace. In the smaller baths, there is no room on the central marble slab and you have to sit around, sweating and waiting for your turn for massage instead of lying down and relaxing.
Sultan's Inn (beware, there are many inns with Sultan in the name - so make sure you get this one): Mustafa Pasa Sokak No. 50, Kucukayasofya, Sultanahmet, 34700
Çemberlitas Hamami, Vezirhan Cad. 8 (off Divanyolu at the Column of Constantine; tel. 0212/522-7974; $25 bath, massage, and kese [a scrubbing using an abrasive mitt], including tip; $10 bath only; daily 6am-midnight with separate sections
The bar at the top of Ceylan International Hotel is wonderful for sipping classy cocktails while watching the Bosphorus. It’s especially great at night when, because the hotel is high enough to avoid the city’s lights, the only lights that pierce the darkness of the sea are those of the ferries and the floodlights of the mosques and palaces. Drinks are not cheap by Turkish standards but then neither is the view.
The hotel is towards Harbiye from Taksim Square
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