While Jazz may not be the first genre of music that pops into your head when considering the Istanbul music scene, it certainly has a presence in the musical fabric of the city. While still budding and developing there are many new and established jazz clubs and venues. Here is a list of our five favorites, but feel free to share your own in the comments!
Nardis Jazz Club
Ask any local “Where can I hear jazz?” and their inevitable answer will be Nardis Jazz Club. Located in the Galata Tower area of Beyoglu (Taksim), Nardis simple and cool décor combined with a cutting edge sound system and technology make for an excellent acoustic atmosphere.
The club hosts solo artists as well as ensembles covering all interpretations of jazz including original local compositions. Programs begin weeknights 9:30-12:30 Weekends 10:30-1:30 A limited dinner menu is available. For prime seating reservations are a must. (212) 244-6327 Cover charges will vary. www.nardisjazz.com Nardis on Tripadvisor
Not to be confused with the now defunct Tamirane Santralistanbul, Tamirane is a restaurant/cafe serving satisfying Mediterranean and Turkish fare that transforms into a jazz club every Friday night starting at 9:30.
While they may short on space they are big on young talent as well as established acts. Due to limited space, reservations are recommended. (212) 322-4822 http://www.tamirane.com
Named for it’s New York City counterpart as well as owner, jazz saxophonist Ilhan Ersahin’s record label, Nublu is the hip and trendy jazz venue located under the Gradiva Hotel in Karaköy. Photographs line the walls of this 2 story L shaped club. It caters to a younger crowd typically age 25-35 although everyone should feel welcome.
While the club starts to fill up around 10 o’clock programs begin weds-sun 21:00-3:00 Cover charges will vary. (212) 249-7700 www.nubluistanbul.net
Istanbul Jazz Center “JC’s”
If it is a high-end dining and jazz experience you are looking for JC’s in Ortaköy will satisfy your craving. JC’s dining room opens at 7:00, diners can choose from 3 reasonably priced prix fix menu’s or for the less hungry an a la cart menu is also provided. JC’s boasts a satisfying selection of wine, champagne, liquor and beer with prices to match the atmosphere.
Performances begin 9:30-12:30 JC’s lineup generally consists of well-established musicians who have the privilege of performing in a venue with stellar acoustics. Musicians have access to a Yamaha C7 piano, a handmade bass as well as handmade Maple Premier and Yamaha drumsets. Cover charges will vary. Dinner reservations get priority tables. (212) 327-5050 www.istanbuljazz.com
Authentic and bohemian 60m2 (literally meaning 60 meters squared) is a tiny hole in the wall space located above a pharmacy on a crowded side street in Taksim. 60m2 offers American modern jazz performances mixed with Arabesque or Anatolian riffs to provide a unique Istanbul experience. Programs go late until 3 a.m. with a terrace open in the summer time. Find them on Facebook or call (212) 293- 0809