Kadıköy is one of the main central districts on the Asian side of Istanbul. It’s a more liberal and progressive haven in a city that has become more conservative, and has lots of bars and interesting places to explore. I went there the other day for a haircut, and spent some time walking around and exploring some of the record shops there. If you’re in Istanbul for a week, I would definitely recommend spending a day walking around, or an evening going to bars and some of the nice meyhanes to eat meze and drink rakı until you are full and tipsy.
If you’re coming from the European side, you can get the ferry from Karaköy or Beşiktaş, where they go every 15 minutes. You can also get the metro, which will require a change of line or two, but the ferry is nicer.
Leaving the ferry, if you walk directly ahead into Muvakkıthane Cd, you will come to an intersection with a walled Armenian church called Surp Takavor.
From here, we went north towards Hallek Berber where I had an appointment for a haircut. I don’t really like getting my hair cut as it’s so expensive in London and seem to take a long time, but my hair was long and messy, so I thought I would let one of Istanbul’s hipster barbers try making me look presentable. The average barber in Istanbul would probably charge 20 TL, but I thought I’d go a bit more upmarket to 70 TL as it was still much cheaper than in London. As you can see, I came out looking quiff-tastic.
After that, we decided to explore some of the record shops in the area. Vinyl in Turkish is ‘plak’, so look out for plak shops, or search for the word on Google – there’s lots in a small area.
There’s also some nice street art in the area, honouring famous Turkish musicians like Müslüm Gürses and Selda Bağcan.
I will have to return to the places to eat and drink in Kadıköy at a later date, as there are a ton of bars and restaurants to check out. The neighbourhood seems to be even more lively than before as the nightlife of the central Taksim area on the European side has been in decline over the past few years. If you are only spending a handful of days in the city and want to get out of the touristy areas of the European side, a day wandering around Kadıköy is definitely well spent.