Traditional and modern Turkish pubs

Traditional and modern Turkish pubs

SEVİNÇ AYDIN
Traditional and modern Turkish pubs

Starting with the opening of Münferit in Istanbul’s Galatasaray neighborhood, new generation, or in other words, modern Turkish pubs have emerged and become a part of our lives. But the most jaw-dropping place was opened in Beyoğlu six years ago, named Safi, where you could place your orders for lakerda, hummus and others through an iPad. 

Now it has become the most dominant eating, drinking and entertainment concept in urban life. 

Many prestigious restaurants have started to evolve into modern pubs. A fine dining restaurant, Topaz in Gümüşsuyu is now a modern Turkish pub named Rana. 

Likewise, Zelda Zonk restaurant in Karaköy has been turned into another new generation Turkish pub called Endam. A Vietnamese restaurant at the terrace of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, Saigon, has changed to Firuze. 

New generation pubs have reinterpreted our old-fashioned appetizers, but sometimes have degenerated and overdone them, too. In these modern Turkish pubs, it is possible to find very delicious tastes as well as very poor ones. 

Customers who prefer classic Turkish pubs to modern pubs are usually those who are nostalgic for the “good old days” and have gotten used to going to these traditional pubs over the years. 

From a general overview, Turkish pub frequenters are mostly men and the pubs have a rather stationary atmosphere. Topics, mostly about love, women, politics and sports constitute conversations at tables. From table to table, subjects can change but they are generally all similar to each other. In a classic pub, there is no specific time period; it is fairly broad and has a limitless concept. There isn’t much dancing or extreme entertainment, but many say inspiration to write poems, songs and lyrics come from this kind of atmosphere. 

But in modern Turkish pubs, the visitor profile shifts immediately as a result of this newly-born concept. Luxurious cars, designer clothes, expensive phones, overdone make-ups and sharp perfume smells seize the atmosphere. In these pubs, unlike classic ones, conversations don’t last for long and nonverbal communication happens through eyes. There is no place for poetry or romance. Loud entertaining and rhythmic music takes over the atmosphere all the time. 

Traditional and modern Turkish pubs

What types of dishes are preferred? 

With its plain and usual menus, classic Turkish pubs refuse to include recently appeared dishes in their lists. They have fixed menus in which there is no difference between today’s and tomorrow’s meals. So it is safe to say that there is nothing new under the sun.

In modern Turkish pubs, there are amazing ranges of options in both appetizers and main meals. From American and celery-potato salad to Cretan zucchini and stuffed vine leaves with mussel, a broad array of starters exists. 

Even though not all of the new tastes sound very appealing, they deserve credit for their innovative approaches. As for beverages, wine is more popular among women, but you could still spot women drinking rakı, the aniseed-flavored alcoholic beverage unique to Turkey.

What kind of music is preferred? 

Before people used to soak up the Turkish pub atmosphere in compliance with its calm but sincere ambiance then would go to another place to entertain. But that’s not how it works now. 

New generation Turkish pubs have rapidly emerged as a consequence of people’s demands to eat, drink and get entertained at the same place. Following customer-driven wishes, pubs’ choice of music genres and playlists have changed. 

The shift has happened from music types such as “fasıl,” which lets people develop conversations, to Turkish pop music of the 80s, 90s and 2000s. In classic pubs, melancholic songs with meaningful lyrics rather than rhythmic music were favored. 

Where are old and new Turkish pubs located? 

Along with this changeover, locations of these places have moved, too. Old pubs are often found at the end of nowhere. They are located in places where people would end up after running away from things; in side streets. Some of the classic pubs remained at their old places, while others tried changing their locations without losing their unique identities. 

On the other hand, modern pubs have not only settled to the most beautiful places of a neighborhood, but of the city. They either have the view of the Bosphorus or the Golden Horn Bridge. With their panoramic scenes, most of them offer their customers a view of the sea.

pub, Turkey, traditional, modern