If you’re looking to try nargile, or the Turkish water pipe (also called hookah and sheesha), then Tophane Park is the place for you! Located near the Bosphorus, the park hosts a number of great cafes where you can partake in the old Ottoman tradition of smoking sweet smelling tobacco, complemented with Turkish tea and sweets, and perhaps a game of backgammon. Most of the cafes are open round the clock, and provide soft cushions, mellow lighting, and the soft gurgling background sounds of the nargile.
A short walk from the flat. Continue on from here to the neighborhood of Kadikoy with its many bars and restaurants. Great people watching and delicious food. Only about 10-15 min walk from the flat.
History and good food. Must see galata tower
If you feel the urge to make like the locals and smoke some hookah (water pipe with flavored tobacco), the absolute best part of town to do so is called Tophane. This is the name of the tramway stop you can get off at as well. From the tram, turn left when facing the gas station and walk 50 meters (you´ll pass a large mosque) and take a right when you see lights and restaurants. This strip of restaurants and hookah bars is almost always packed with tons of outdoor couches and tables. Because it is so close to several mosques they don´t serve alcohol but that´s ok. Grab a sweet apple tea or the cay tea (3TL) and pick a flavoured tobacco, then head out to the bars near Taksim square afterwards.
Even if you don't smoke, it's worth trying the hookah at least once. Turkish hookah bars enjoy a laid back vibe, with Turks puffing away and the sound of bubbling filling the air. The smell is fragrant as most hookah tobacco is flavored. I prefer coffee but I've tried peach, grape and strawberry. Tophane is more of a neighborhood than a particular bar. Located along the Bosphorus between Karakoy and Kabatas, the Tophane hookah bars are more outdoor affairs with low couches, bean bag chairs and coffee tables. Personally I prefer a place on Divan Yolu between Sultanahmet and Beyazit Square. Set in the courtyard of an 18th century school, you can smoke, have tea or coffee.