Sunday, 6 January 2013

New Year's Eve in Istanbul

With over 120 years of history behind it, the Tarihi Cumhuriyet Meyhanesi , Istanbul's oldest tavern has celebrated quite a few New Year's Eve's in its time, nevertheless, the live Ottoman music, the great food and the non stop raki and wine ensured a night to remember for me.

Tucked away in a tiny street off İstiklal Avenue Istanbul's famous pedestrian thoroughfare in the Pera district, Cumhuriyet offers everything you would expect from an historic Raki Tavern, and by the number of locals packing out the place, it was clear to me i was in for an authemtic Turkish experience.

A hot and cold meze was followed by a choice of meat or fish for a main course with copious amounts of raki and wine inbetween. All this for 120 TL.

It was quite something to be in the middle of a throng of people all singing along with the band who were knocking out seemingly popular Turksh numbers, each one as incomprehensible as the one before. This was clearly a band who knew exactly what their audience wanted, weaving between the tables in a collective celebration of life together on the banks of the Bospherous.

At 2am we bid a sad farewell to our hosts and joined the rest of humanity strolling along Istiklal Avenue towards Taksim Square.