Best Jazz and Blues Music in Istanbul
Best Places to Listen to Jazz and Blues in Istanbul
Contrary to popular belief, jazz music has a history of more than a century in Istanbul. We don’t know who introduced jazz music to Istanbul, but we know that Levantines and White Russian immigrants in Istanbul had interest in jazz. Moreover, some jazz music groups giving concerts in Beyoglu are mentioned in the novels that narrate the Armistice of Mudanya era (Post-World War I)
Jazz, undoubtedly, wasn’t born in Istanbul. However, there are few cities reflecting the nature of jazz music like Istanbul does. Therefore, the joy of listening to jazz music in Istanbul is hard to taste elsewhere. Indeed, there are many places that play jazz music in Istanbul. You can find the Best Places to Listen to Jazz and Blues in Istanbul in this guide I’ve prepared for you.
Nardis Jazz Club – Galata/Beyoglu
Local and foreign jazz artists perform at Nardis, which is one of the most popular places for live performances. You can watch some cool singers and bands like Ece Goksuz Quarted, Hacettepe Jazz Band, Loss Amigos de Herman, and Burak Bedikyan Trio at Nardis Jazz Club. Unlike many other places, new groups and orchestras are given priority at Nardis Jazz Club.
You should note that live performances, singers and the bands are not the only thing that makes Nardis Jazz Club attractive. We can easily say that Nardis Jazz Club has a rich drink menu as well. On the other hand, in opposition to many other places, the level of sound is not too high to disturb the audience and the acoustics of the place is arranged in a way to distribute the sound equally to every corner of the place clearly.
This is a must-visit place if you wish to spend good time while listening to jazz music.
Best Jazz Club in Istanbul Galata (Beyoglu-Istanbul)
49 Cukurcuma – Cihangir/Beyoglu
49 Cukurcuma stands out with its concept and different style and it’s easily one of the best places to listen to jazz music, if not a great live music performance. In fact, you can feel it by reading its sign at the entrance “Pizza, Coffee, Jazz”. It’s also one of the rare places where you can be far from the noisy and busy life in Beyoglu.
In addition to a peaceful and calm atmosphere, 49 Cukurcuma offers delicious dishes to its customers. The pizza menu of the place is really rich and you can find different types of pizza here that you can’t find anywhere else.
If you are looking for a place where you can rest and enjoy delicious food, 49 Cukurcuma is your best bet.
Best Jazz Bar in Cihangir (Beyoglu-Istanbul)
Babylon Bomonti – Bomonti/Sisli
Babylon Bomonti, which used to be located at Asmalimescit in Beyoglu, is one of the places that come to mind when it comes to a live performance. Babylon was opened in 1999 and it’s been in service in the same place since then. Babylon was listed among the World’s Best 100 Jazz Clubs in 2002 and 2004 by a world-famous jazz magazine Downbeat.
Famous jazz singers and groups such as Ilhan Ersahin, Aydin Esen, David Murrey Quarted, and Patricia Barber performs at Babylon Bomonti that has 400 audience capacity. Moreover, compared to many other places, its sound system is designed in a way not to disturb its audience.
In short, Babylon is one of the established places in Istanbul where you can listen to great live performances. And Babylon began to serve its guests at Bomonti neighborhood in Sisli recently.
Best Venue for Listening to Jazz Music in Istanbul
Kaset Mittanni – Besiktas
Kaset Mitanni was opened in Besiktas and it was named as Mitanni Jazz. It is one of the rare places you can choose for its good music performances, drink or food menu. Sarp Maden performs at Mitanni regularly and live jazz music is performed at least once a week at Mitanni Jazz.
Apart from the music, Mitanni draws attention with its drink and food menu. It can be said Mitanni turns into a very quiet and peaceful place on the days when there is no concert. Therefore, it becomes an ideal place if you want to escape from the chaotic and noisy Istanbul life and read your book in a relaxing and quiet atmosphere while listening to calming jazz songs. Therefore, Kaset Mitanni is a place you should definitely visit.
Best Places to Listen to Jazz and Blues in Istanbul
Mekan Kalamis Jazz Room – Kalamis/Kadikoy
Mekaz Kalamis Jazz Room, managed by a famous jazz musician Vedat Sarkman, is one of the best places for live performances on the Asian side. Live music is performed at Jazz Room almost every day and the music program starts at 22:00 generally.
Unlike many live performance places, Jazz Room manages to offer a calm atmosphere and you can spend peaceful moments at this place when there is no concert.
If you happen to visit Kalamis in a popular Asian side neighborhood Kadikoy, you should definitely visit Jazz Room. At Jazz Room, you can find different drinks and dishes from the world kitchen that you can’t find elsewhere easily. Moreover, the price range of its menu is moderate.
Best Places to Listen to Jazz and Blues in Istanbul Asian Side
The Badau – Kadikoy
The Badau is one of the places that contribute a lot to Yeldegirmeni’s (Neighborhood in Kadikoy) character as it boasts a really different and an extraordinary concept. Indeed, Turkish culture is reflected both in the menu and concept of this place.
The Badau is managed by a jazz musician Eren Noyan and it houses some of the most authentic jazz artists such as Cagri Seretel and Senove Ulker.
You can find delicacies from the Mediterranean and traditional Ottoman kitchen in its rich menu. And as I mentioned earlier, its concept is really different and interesting. Therefore, you will find yourself in a unique atmosphere the moment you step inside the place.
Additionally, The Badau can still be called a quiet place despite live performances.
Best Club to Listen to Jazz Music in Kadikoy
Elite World Hotel’s Jazz Company – Taksim/Beyoglu
Jazz Company, located in the center of the city, is regarded as one of the decent places in Istanbul. Apart from jazz music, you can listen to blues and Latin music at Jazz Company.
Jazz Company is a place that focuses on live jazz performance. Therefore, local and foreign jazz groups take the stage every week.
If you want to listen to good jazz musicians at a good and quiet place, you can visit Jazz Company after 22:00.
Best Places to Listen to Jazz and Blues in Istanbul Taksim
Divine Brasserie & Jazz Club – Nisantasi/Sisli
Divine Brasserie & Jazz Club is located in Nisantasi and it is one of the rare places that serves both as a restaurant and café. Moreover, live jazz music is performed on specific days of the week at Divine Brasserie & Jazz Club and it offers a cool atmosphere despite being a small place.
Despite being at Topagaci Square in Nisantasi, which is one of the most popular places in Istanbul, Divine is still an affordable place. Moreover, we can easily say that Divine has a rich food menu which consists mostly of beef and chicken dishes. In addition to its rich food menu, Divine has a rich wine menu too.
If you want to enjoy your meal and import wine while listening to jazz music, this place is just perfect for you.
Most Popular Jazz Clubs in Istanbul
Kumsaati Blues Club – Asmalimescit/Beyoglu
Kumsaati Blues Club, located at Asmalimescit, is known for its blues and rock and roll performances. We can say that Kumsaati Blues Club is one of the first places that reflects blues bar concept thoroughly in Turkey.
Local blues groups perform at Kumsaati, which is a great place appealing to jazz and blues lovers with its playlists and live performances. If you still haven’t visited this place before, you will regret not doing so when you go to Kumsaati Blues Club. Apart from its live performances and music, the place offers a quite rich drink menu which has a moderate price range.
Don’t miss this place if you happen to go to Asmalimescit (Located nearby Istiklal Street, Beyoglu)
Best Club for Blues Music in Istanbul
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Best Places to Listen to Jazz and Blues in Istanbul by Serhat Engul