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Right behind the famous Taksim Square, in the district of Beyoğlu, lies the neighbourhood of Cihangir. This attractive neighbourhood is known for its characteristic narrow streets, parks and squares. Cihangir is a favourite gathering place for local artists, writers and intellectuals. They flock to the many cafés and outdoor patios to discuss their latest projects or talk about life.
Cihangir, which means 'conqueror', is named after the son of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, ruler of the 16th-century Ottoman Empire. Today, Cihangir has become a meeting place for bohemians. The mix of 19th-century homes with colourful stucco façades lends the area a special atmosphere. The eclectic combination of galleries, chic boutiques and vibrant nightlife makes Cihangir a hotspot, reminiscent of New York’s SoHo or Montmartre in Paris.
Susam Café reminds you of the Central Perk coffee shop from the TV series ‘Friends’. This is a popular local bar with lots of regular customers, ranging from hip youths to seasoned foreign newspaper correspondents. The selection of mismatched chairs, sofas and tables make Susam Café feel like a cosy living room where patrons drink coffee, beer, wine and cocktails. Susam’s Egili Mojito ('Aegean Mojito') is famous. Another great draw is the charming terrace.
Susam Sokak 11, Istanbul
Laid-back, artistic and casual, you won’t find a more bohemian bar in Cihangir than Smyrna. The furniture in this former antique shop consists of an old-fashioned, classic hodge-podge of wooden tables, floor lamps and delightfully comfortable chairs. However, most writers, actors, journalists and expats prefer to relax over a drink at the bar. You can also spend a pleasant evening at one of the outside tables on the terrace, under the awning or under the canopies of the sycamore trees.
“Sip a drink while going back in time”
Akarsu Caddesi 29, Istanbul
Another local favourite is White Mill. The door of the modest entrance hides a trendy, modern café with 2 floors and a great courtyard. Although White Mill draws a crowd all day, it really comes alive at night. During happy hour guests sip experimental cocktails, such as a pear martini or grapefruit margarita. Sunday afternoons are also great fun when groups of friends meet here.
Susam Sokak 13, Istanbul