PERA PALACE: PATISSERIE DE PERA
Not exactly a bar, but at the Patisserie de Pera, which opened last October, you’ll get plenty of Turkey’s most common drink – tea – along with delicate cakes, macarons and chocolates. The best bit? It’s designed by Anouska Hempel, and is a fabulous mix of bling and girly. It’s on the ground floor, so the best views are of the other guests in the mirrors all around.
SUMAHAN ON THE WATER: TAPASUMA
The best thing about Tapasuma isn’t that it’s a nice restaurant (Turkish tapas to go with your drinks), or that it’s waterfront, with tables plum on the bank of the Bosphorus. No, the best thing about Tapasuma is that to get there, you’ll take the free house shuttle from the European side of Istanbul to Cengelkoy, on the Asian side. It’s about a 15-20 minute journey, and it doubles as a semi-private Bosphorus tour. Best value ever.
GRADIVA HOTEL: ZELDA ZONK
If you read TripAdvisor reviews of Gradiva, you’ll notice a running theme: complaints about noise from the rooftop bar until the early hours. Zelda Zonk is its name, and partying till dawn (and beyond) is its game – and of course, if you’re at the party, you don’t care about the noise. A restaurant and bar which sweeps away the tables and turns into a dancefloor once the night is no longer young, it’s in the centre of trendy Karakoy, and has spectacular views of Sultanahmet, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn (Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque are all within your sights).
SEVEN HILLS HOTEL: ROOFTOP RESTAURANT
In the heart of Sultanahmet – between Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, but a block downhill – the Seven Hills Hotel stands out from its neighbours thanks to its unusual height – it’s three stories higher than the Four Seasons, right next door, and has plonked a bar and restaurant on the roof. It’s touristy, of course, but the payoff for that is the unforgettable experience of sitting in the sky, surrounded by world heritage sites.
MARMARA PERA: MIKLA
The young and beautiful hit up rooftop restaurant Mikla at the Marmara Pera for its locally sourced, ‘New Anatolian’ cuisine, swish design and astonishing views from its Beyoglu eyrie, sweeping from the Bosphorus over to Sultanahmet. There’s an indoor and an outdoor part; both are sceney, so dress accordingly.
[Photos: Seven Hills: Everyday Voyager. Main pic: Julia Buckley for HotelChatter. All others: the hotels]