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Food & Drink

How to truly experience Istanbul's culinary scene

The happiest of hours

Who can resist a good deal? Elif Yirmibeşoğlu rounds up some of the best happy hour offers at top locales around the city


June, 2012

by: Elif Yirmibeşoğlu

5. Kat


A symbolic Cihangir venue for nearly two decades, 5. Kat celebrates the summer on its terrace – which has one of Istanbul’s indisputably best views – with happy hour offerings from 17.00 to 19.30, Monday through Friday.


Specials 20 percent discount on champagne menu featuring well known bottles, sangria by the glass and cocktails made with fresh fruit, like the mojito with lime and plenty of mint.


Prices Mumm Cordon Rouge (champagne menu) 360 TL, mojito 20 TL, mojito with seasonal fruits 24 TL.


Soğancı Sokak 7, Cihangir (0212) 293 37 74/www.5.kat.com. Sunday-Thursday 10.30-01.30; Friday, Saturday 10.30-03.00.





Summer just wouldn’t be complete without A’pera’s garden and cocktails, our favourites being Serum, African Sun and A’pera lemonade. Try them during happy hour each day between 18.00 and 20.00.


Specials Buy one cocktail and get the second half-off. Try a domestic drink and the second one’s on the house.


Prices A’pera margarita 20 TL, Serum 25 TL.


Nergis Sokak 8/1, Asmalımescit, Beyoğlu (0212) 244 45 08/www.aperaistanbul.com (Turkish-language website). Daily 09.00-02.00.



Bowl Room


Located on the fifth floor of the Cinemaximum (Fitaş) building in Beyoğlu, Bowl Room is great for pre-happy hour bowling as well as post-happy hour dining. Stop by between 16.00 and 19.00, Monday through Thursday, to grab a beer and some snacks and hit the lanes. Don’t forget that Bowl Room also hosts Ladies Night on Wednesdays, when all women bowl for free.


Specials 50 discount on food and drinks.


Prices Imported wine 15 TL, beer 10 TL, grilled salmon 25 TL, hamburgers 20 TL.


İstiklal Caddesi, Cinemaximum (Fitaş) Building 12, fifth floor, Beyoğlu (0212) 249 05 05/www.bowlroom.com.tr (Turkish-language website). Sunday-Tuesday, Thursday 10.00-00.00; Wednesday 10.00-02.00; Friday, Saturday 10.00-04.00.



Cafe Zone



For those living or working in Nişantaşı, Cafe Zone offers happy hour each day from 16.00 to 19.00.


Specials 15 percent discount on drinks; hot and cold starters and fresh seasonal fruits on the house.


Prices Glass of wine 13 TL, mojito 20 TL.


Kuyumcu İrfan Sokak 11, Nişantaşı (0212) 296 65 90. Monday-Saturday 11.00-02.00.



Den Cafe


For the past three years, Den has been hosting aperitivo hour each Thursday between 18.00 and 21.00, when you only pay for drinks while you enjoy an open buffet of treats.


Specials Executive Chef Umut Eyioğlu serves up tasty offerings like steak wrap, salmon wrap, herbed cheese balls, veggie and tomato bruschetta, crispy chicken Caesar, tartlets with sundried tomatoes and roasted eggplant, mozzarella sticks, mini pizzas, pickled plum and okra, olives and popcorn.


Prices Thyme ginger martini 25 TL, passion fruit margarita 25 TL.


Mim Kemal Öke Caddesi 1/D, Nişantaşı (0212) 224 24 70. Daily 08.00-00.30.


Emporio Armani Ristorante


Emporio Armani Ristorante hosts aperitivo hour Monday through Friday from 17.30 to 19.30. Stay for dinner and try the traditional Italian flavours as well as homemade recipes by Turkish and Italian chefs. Make an effort to grab a spot on the terrace.


Specials Pick an aperitivo cocktail and get Italian salami, cheese and canapés on the house.


İstinyePark, İstinye (0212) 354 61 40. Daily 10.00-00.00.





Known for its tapas, Gozo now entices with happy hour Monday through Saturday from 15.00 to 19.00. Try the caramelised onions and goat cheese on toast or the bread topped with mushrooms in a cognac and garlic sauce for a light snack – or go for a full meal and try the salmon with pineapple or chicken with Madras sauce.


Specials 20 percent discount on all food and drinks (cannot be combined with lunch menu or other offers).


Prices Chicken with Madras sauce 12 TL, sangria 15 TL.


Meşrutiyet Caddesi 94 A, Şişhane (0212)251 53 14/www.gozo.com.tr (Turkish-language website). Monday-Thursday 11.00-23.00; Friday, Saturday 11.00-02.00.





Famous for its cocktails, Hardal offers two chances to try different items from its menu.


Specials On Mondays and Tuesdays, grab a bottle of wine, then Tweet ‘@ilovehardal’ for a free cheese plate. On Wednesdays – ‘Green Apple Day’ – try the vodka, martini and mojitos with a 20 percent discount.


Prices Martini 24 TL, mojito 29 TL.


Minare Sokak 12, Tepebaşı/Beyoğlu (0212) 243 83 60/www.hardal.com.tr. Monday-Thursday 10.00-00.00; Friday, Saturday 10.00-03.00.





Harem beckons you to experience happy hour in its green garden in the back streets of Levent, Monday through Saturday, between 18.00 and 22.00.


Specials 10 percent discount on all food and drinks.


Prices Crispy chicken 9.50 TL, snack plate 15 TL, lemonade 5 TL.


Aytar Caddesi, Başa Sokak 7/1B, Levent (0212) 279 69 09/www.haremcafe.com (Turkish-language website). Monday-Saturday 09.00-22.00.



KafePi Ortaköy Bistro

The newest of the KafePi branches opening up all over the city is the Ortaköy Bistro, located right in the heart of the touristic area.


Specials A special combo menu is offered from 17.00 to 19.00 on Mondays; complimentary snacks and discounts on summer cocktails from 17.00 to 19.00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays; pub quiz nights on Wednesdays.


Osmanzade Sokak 16, Ortaköy (0212) 259 43 81/www.kafepi.com (Turkish-language website). Daily 09.00-04.00.




Kiki offers happy hour on Mondays and Wednesdays between 19.00 and 21.00 as well as aperitivo hours during the same time slot on Tuesdays and Thursdays.


Specials All drinks are 50 percent off during happy hour. For aperitivo hour, you pick your drinks and Kiki provides the snacks – just let the waiter know what you’d like from the open-buffet offerings.


Prices Beer 12 TL, mojito 25 TL.


Sıraselviler Caddesi 42, Cihangir (0212) 243 53 73. Monday, Tuesday 17.00-02.00; Wednesday-Saturday 17.00-04.00.





The ever-popular Lucca is home to Bebek’s best happy hour starting at 17.00 each day. Some of the favourites are Satsuma vodka, Brazilian Cooler and Pear & Ginger, though this summer’s hits are sure to be the Wild Olive Green Martini and Apple Royal. Try any one of their 15 small plates to accompany your dinner – the haddock tempura taco, mini beef slider and Buffalo Burrato, as well as the sushi, come highly recommended.


Prices Fresh Satsuma vodka 26 TL, Wild Green Olive Martini 30 TL, mini beef slider 18 TL.


Cevdet Paşa Caddesi 51/B, Bebek (0212) 257 12 55/www.luccastyle.com. Monday 12.00-02.00; Tuesday-Sunday 10.00-02.00.



Mia Mensa

At Mia Mensa, Saturday afternoons from 16.00 to 18.30 take on the name ‘Soulful House Happy Hours’, courtesy of the soulful house music played during that time. Stay after to enjoy the Bosphorus view with a menu of Italian flavours as well as monthly-changing Mediterranean and world fare. Let’s also remind you that the venue offers brunch accompanied by Latin jazz melodies between 11.00 and 14.00 on Sundays.


Prices Mojito 35 TL, standard cocktails 30 TL.


Muallim Naci Caddesi 64/C, Kuruçeşme (0212) 263 42 14/www.miamensa.com. Daily 12.00-02.00.



The North Shield


One of the first places that come to mind when we say ‘British pub’, The North Shield has earned a place in our hearts with its malt whisky and British beer varieties. Visit between 18.00 and 20.00, Monday through Thursday, to enjoy discounts on drinks – and if you’re in the mood for a light snack, try the potatoes, börek (filo pastries) and sausages.


Specials 20 percent discount on all alcoholic drinks.


Prices Beer 10 TL, whisky 19 TL.


Asmalımescit Sokak 55, Beyoğlu (0212) 243 15 23/www.thenorthshield.com (Turkish-language website). Sunday-Thursday 12.00-01.00; Friday, Saturday 12.00-02.00.





Visit Picante Monday through Thursday between 16.30 and 19.00 to get acquainted with their happy hour Tex-Mex offerings. We recommend the chicken fingers, avocado dip and chips, jalapeño poppers and meat taco for beer-drinkers or the chicken or meat quesadilla for those seeking a small snack. Crowds can enjoy the lime margarita by the pitcher and El Paso bomber. No reservations required, but we still recommend you make some just in case.


Specials 20 percent discount on all food and drinks. Picante also offers a happy hour menu during the same time with already-discounted prices (cannot be combined with other offers or lunch menus).


Prices Happy hour beer and chicken fingers 15 TL, lime margarita by the pitcher (for five) and El Paso bomber 100 TL.


General Yazgan Sokak 8/B, Tünel, Beyoğlu (0212) 252 47 53. Monday-Thursday 11.00-23.00; Friday, Saturday 11.00-02.00.



Sugar & Spice


İstiklal’s oldest gay-friendly venue Sugar Cafe has taken on a brand new identity as a bistro/bar named Sugar & Spice. It retains the same soul regulars love, only in a larger, renovated space.


Specials Sugar & Spice takes a different approach to happy hour. You won’t find specials on specific drinks on specific days; instead, all drinks come with discounts all day long during the week and until 22.00 on weekends – that includes Absolut vodka hazelnut shots, Olmeca tequila shots, Bailey’s Comet Shots, rakı, wine and flavourful cocktails.


İstiklal Caddesi, Saka Salim Sokak 3/A, Beyoğlu (0212) 245 00 96. Sunday-Thursday 10.00-01.00; Friday, Saturday 10.00-02.00.



TAG Cafe & Bistro

For a respite from the crowd and noise on İstiklal, visit TAG Cafe & Bistro between 17.00 and 19.00, Sunday through Thursday, for happy hour – while you’re there, don’t forget to sample their menu.


Specials 20 percent discount (cannot be combined with other offers).


Prices Shenghen Visa 24 TL, Cuban Mojito 20 TL.


İstiklal Caddesi, Postacılar Sokak 1/A (next to ARTER Art Gallery), Beyoğlu (0212) 243 68 62/www.tagbistro.com. Monday 12.00-22.00; Tuesday-Thursday, Sunday 12.00-02.00; Friday, Saturday 12.00-04.00.


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