Further exploration of the craft beer scene

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I have updated my useful and highly-regarded Istanbul Craft Beer Bar Hitlist with the following entries. It’s a tough job sometimes.

Taproom, Nişantaşi

Milli Reasürans Çarşısı D:12, Nişantaşı

Visiting Taproom, in an arcade off Teşvikiye Cd. in the upmarket Nişantaşı neighbourhood, was a disappointment as I had been hoping for a relatively local outpost of good-quality beer-supping. It’s a small bar, open to the arcade, and without a great deal of atmosphere. They are supposed to have a selection of draft beers brewed by Taps available (this is an offshoot of the Taps Bebek brewhouse), but only had pilsner. As we were sitting with our beers, we noticed kegs of Tuborg being carried behind the bar, so presumably they’re not even selling their own beers anymore. They did have a small selection of bottles of expensive imported craft beers.

Ayı

Moda Caddesi No. 60, Kadıköy

Ayı means ‘bear’, which brings to my mind an image of burly gay men, but I believe this is not the intended effect. Instead, you should think of an ursine- and wood-themed bar, quite trendy, with a decent selection of bottled beers and Weihenstephan on draft. It’s definitely a bar worth checking out if you’re on the Asian side of the city.

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Istanbul Craft Beer Bar Hitlist

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These are the bars in Istanbul that I know of that sell craft beer (or at least beer that isn’t solely big Turkish or international brand lager). There are depressingly few entries so far, so I will gladly add to this list if you let me know of any other candidates.

The Bosphorus Brewing Company

Yildiz Posta Caddesi, Gayrettepe

The BBC feels a bit like an up-market British pub, except that it’s in Gayrettepe. Beers that they brew onsite include a decent IPA (Istanbul Pale Ale, obviously) and a stout (Karbon). You can also eat British-style pub food. I thought that the food was a bit pricey, and the beer isn’t amazingly cheap either at 16TL-18TL, but being able to get a draft IPA is precious.

Taps Bebek

Cevdet Paşa Cd No:119, Bebek

Taps are the oldest microbrewer in Turkey and mostly sell their beer at this restaurant and bar on the waterfront in Bebek – typically four or so options are available. My experience here involved brutally bad EDM music at loud volumes; your mileage may vary.

Taproom, Nişantaşi

Milli Reasürans Çarşısı D:12, Nişantaşı

This remains on the list as this bar is recommended by The Internet and Mr. Google, but on this occasion they are sadly wrong in their convictions. Poor atmosphere and only Tuborg on draft.

United Pub, Beşiktaş

Köyiçi Meydan Sok. No: 10, Beşiktaş

This is a decent bar in the heart of Beşiktaş, offering a good variety of bottled beers and Weihenstephan on draft.

Belfast Irish Pub, Kadıkoy

Dr.Esat Işık Cad.No:28/1 Kadıköy

There is a pretty broad selection of bottled imported craft beer available here, albeit slightly pricey.

Ayı

Moda Caddesi No. 60, Kadıköy

Ayı means ‘bear’, which brings to my mind an image of burly gay men, but I believe this is not the intended effect. Instead, you should think of an ursine- and wood-themed bar, quite trendy, with a decent selection of bottled beers and Weihenstephan on draft. It’s definitely a bar worth checking out if you’re on the Asian side of the city.

Port Shield, Sultanahmet

Ebusuud Caddesi, Sultanahmet (next to the Gulhane tram stop)

This is a pretty dingy British-style pub in the heart of the tourist district. They have a menu offering about 30 imported bottled beers. A Brewdog 5am Saint is 26TL, and a nip of single malt whisky is 40TL – 50TL.

Solera Winery

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solera (1)

Situated on Yeni Çarşı Caddesi, just a few minutes’ walk from the hustle and bustle of Istiklal, this place is a great little find. It’s a small specialist wine bar, with a varied selection of local and international wines available by the glass and by the bottle. It has a relaxed and unpretentious atmosphere, aided by the muted lighting and low-key music. The walls are covered with black and white photos of somewhere that looks like China: I’m not sure why.

We visited on a Wednesday evening so we didn’t voyage too extensively through the wine list. We opted for two Turkish red wines that neither of us had seen before, an Öküzgözü/Boğazkere blend by Sevilen, and a Kalecik Karası by Pamukkale. These are Anatolian varieties of grape that are not found anywhere else outside of Turkey, and produce interesting wines that tend towards the dry and robust. I enjoy them when done well, but they are certainly a different style when compared with a typical UK supermarket bottle. Here, I got black forest fruit and pepper from the Öküzgözü/Boğazkere; the Kalecik Karası didn’t seem to have much nose but did have cherry and strawberry on the palate. Both were pretty reasonable value at 13TL for a glass.

I think I will enjoy returning here to explore the rest of the menu. I did notice that they have a fairly thorough selection of Turasan wines, which to me is a good sign as this has been my favourite brand of Turkish wine so far. Other customers were enjoying nice looking plates of cheese and meat along with their wines: another reason to return.

Location: Yeni Çarşı Caddesi No. 44 (off Istiklal, just down from Galatasaray Lisesi).