Istanbul Bear Guide

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Gay, bear, hairy and Turk !


 

Turkish bears form a remarkable community in Istanbul's gay life, although there are not so many bear-exclusive gay venues. Istanbul's bears are interacting with each other in several bars, clubs and via internet. There has been several very successful international bear parties in Istanbul in the last years, supported by international bear community. Turkish bears are easy going people and have less problems with the society which can traditionally absorb straight-acting males more easily. Bears from all around the world are invited to discover Istanbul's exotic bear life. Although the Turkish counterpart of the word bear (ayi) has been used to define rude and rowdy people (sometimes in a humorous way) bearness as a style has already been a part of the Turkish culture, even before it became a trend in international gay life. Turkish bears are very natural and also have advantages ethnically. 
 


 

Bear Bars and Clubs in Istanbul
As mentioned briefly above, there are not so many bear-exclusive gay venues in Istanbul. But the available ones will be more than enough for people on holiday. Here is a list of bear & bear-friendly bars and clubs in Istanbul.

 

Tekyon (23:00-05:00)
Address: Siraselviler Caddesi (street) No: 63/1 Taksim/Beyoglu. Istanbul.

Tekyon had a considerable bear scene several years ago. It later became one of the most popular gay clubs of Istanbul, and the bears became less visible. You can still see some bears in the club, especially on busy Saturday nights. They even offer a bear go-go show sometimes and the manager and some of the bar-tenders are senior people in bear life of the city. It has moved to a new and much bigger place on Siraselviler street in May 2009 and has become the talk of the town. The waiters are very feminine and friendly in this night club, probably to entertain their loyal clients. Male belly dancer, go-go boys and simple drag shows performed by the bar staff can be fun to see, usually on Tuesday nights after 01:00 am. It is very crowded on Saturdays, including it's big garden on the back yard, good for people who need a smoking break. It is easy to get to the club, as the street (Siraselviler) is starting from Taksim square. If you walk

from Taksim Square for a few minutes, you will see its sign-board on the left-hand side. Tekyon is very flexible with cover charges and cloakroom rituals compared to other gay clubs in Taksim; which may be one

Video

SUBWOOFER in ISTANBUL @ BEARPHORUS 2009

of the reasons it got more and more popular in the course of time.


Durak Pub (20:00-02:00)

Address: Muratpasa Sokak , No 9, Yusufpasa, Aksaray, Istanbul Google Map
Opened as Pasam Birahanesi, re-named as Durak (bus stop), the venue is the meeting place of naturally-born-bears. It has a totally local and exotic atmosphere, including traditional live Turkish music performance available almost everyday. The venue has a completely different atmosphere than all other gay bars and clubs located in Taksim. First of all beer is much cheaper, which is something an average bear would expect. It starts early in the evening and gets busy before midnight. It is overwhelmingly frequented by local bears, mature and straight acting gay men with a few exceptions as could be anywhere. It is not a dancing venue and the clients are served at the tables. It attracts rather middle class people, but there may be people from all social classes. Most people would know each other here, but any new-comer will be welcomed, if you've got that bear feeling. Feel at home, because there are no rituals. If you are coming from Sultanahmet take the tramcar to Aksaray direction and get off at the next station right after Aksaray, which is Yusufpasa. The smaller street (Muratpasa) is right next to the tramcar station, facing the overpass bridge used by pedestrians.  It will be on your left on that street. If you are coming from Taksim direction take an Aksaray dolmus (a kind of shared-taxi) which goes up to Yusufpasa. Dolmus cabs to Aksaray depart from the small street right next to flower shops at Taksim square and are cheap. Aksaray district is only about 5 km away from Taksim and it has rather a vulgar night life. So, if you stay after midnight you are recommended not to walk around too much, and take a taxi quickly.

PS: Despite it's dirty night life Aksaray is also a conservative district and for that reason Durak bar is usually closed during Ramadan period for about 30 days every year.

"This bar is a very unusual place. Mostly older guys or younger guys who like older, masculine guys. The traditional music is nice. It made me so upset that the waiter gave me a portion of peanuts with the beer and charged me for that afterwards about 6 or 7 TL without telling me before! Usually, you get this kind of snack for free in Turkey when you order a beverage." (Posted by Ben from Austria January 6th, 2012)"

"This place is a bit out of the way from the other gay venues round Taksim square area but pretty easy to get to with a tram station (Yusufpasa) at the end of the street. If you can suss out the dolmus taxis you can get back to Taksim Square for about 3 lira or a taxi for about 12/13 lira dependant on the traffic. What you get is a traditional looking bar and at the weekends full of "men" as opposed to the Beygolu venues that are more popular with younger guys. No techno music played but what I would describe as Turkish standards sung live by very good singers/M.C. Very friendly and welcoming waiter staff and whilst the language was a problem for us speaking no Turkish the guys who spoke English were very welcoming (hello O ) the beer is much cheaper too, bonus!. Well worth the effort to go before finishing off your night out in the more traditional gay venues over the Golden Horn. " (Posted by Gibson from UK on June 14th, 2011)


Club Cheeky  -  24:00-06:00
Address: Kucuk Bayram Sokak No:1/A Beyoglu / Istanbul.
Cheely is not intended for bear people and it is a total mixture, but being the only morning gay club (busy after some 3 a.m) you can see many bear and mature gay guys in this club.  The entrance fee is over average (apprx 15 Euro) and are very strict about it.  You can see a mixture of gays, some bears and even few rent-boys and transvestites. It is located on a back-street (Bayram Sokak). Its small darkroom is the main reason of its popularity, although it is not as liberal as its western counterparts. Dark rooms are not very common in gay clubs in Istanbul, because bars and clubs are regarded as public venues and are subject to police and municipality controls now and then.

 

IstanBear Club (23:00-05:00) Closed Down in 2011

Address: Tarlabasi Bulvari No: 32 Beyoglu , Istanbul

Club Istanbear which was opened at the basement floor of Ekoo Club in September 2011, was closed down afetr only 6-7 months.
 

Bearphorus - Closed Down in Late 2010.

Bearphorus was the senior western style bear club located in Taksim. It was the only bear exclusive venue in Istanbul, in real meaning.  The managers were among the people who organized many international bear activities and local bear parties.

Naturally, there may be bears in any other gay bars in Istanbul. Click Here  for full list of gay bars and clubs.
 

Click here to send your feedback about any of these places and this page
 


Recommended Bear-Friendly Istanbul Hotels.

MIS APARTS TAKSIM - BOOK DIRECTLY
Taksim hotels are usually more expensive, and this is the best option for bear people who want to be close to gay venues and not want to spent too much for accommodation. The concept is private rooms in centrally located apartments. Free transfer, free WIFI internet and PC usage are additional advantages.
 
Direct Reservation
>>

EKLEKTIK  - BOOK DIRECTLY FOR SPECIAL DISCOUNT for Istanbulgay.Com
Gay owned and very gay-friendly accommodation which will meet almost all expectations of gay visitors. Eklektik has only 8 deluxe rooms and it is very popular, so book in advance and as early as possible. 

Direct Reservation >>

 


Bear Friendly Baths in Istanbul
 

In fact, hamams (Turkish baths) are the most popular venues among bears and mature gay men living in Istanbul. Unfortunately most of the action places including blue-movie cinemas and hamams have been closed down one after the other since 2007. Some of these places had been meeting places of Istanbullu gay men for decades. It seems that, according to the current politics in the country you can be gay, as long as you do not have sex. After the senior ones were  closed down, people discovered new places naturally, such as following venues.

Chesme (10:00-20:00)
Address: Persembe Pazari street, Yeni Camii Cesme Sokak, Karakoy, Beyoglu, Istanbul. See Google Map
It is located on a small back-street (Yeni Cesme or Yeni Camii Cesme) hard to locate, somewhere below Galata Tower; or above Galata Bridge to the left. It may be easier to reach from Persembe Pazari street. Karakoy quarter is on the eastern end of Galata bridge. The venues is not very clean, but who cares...? Mostly frequented by middle aged/mature gay men and some local bears. Observe first, and you will easily understand how it works.

Visitor Comments.
"I suggest Cesme Hamam, I ve been there many times and always, always you will  find chubby bears there." (posted on January 26 2012 @ Yahoo group for Turkish gays )
 

Yeshildirek Sefa (10:00-20:00)
Address: Tershane Cad. Yolcuzade Sok. N:74 Sishane, Beyoglu, Istanbul. Google Map
A mixture of various types, ages of people visit here. It is right below the eastern leg of Ataturk bridge (also known as Unkapani Koprusu). This is the second kopru (bridge) after Galata Bridge over Halic (Golden Horn) The bath house is on the Taksim/Beyoglu side of Ataturk bridge, its entrance facing the Golden Horn. You can take a short taxi or walk some 15 minutes from Karakoy, along the Golden Horn. If you come from Taksim by a public bus, you need to get off at Sishane bus-stop (after Omer Hayyam), cross the street and walk shortly down to the sea side.

Firuzagha Hamam. (10:00-23:00)
Address: Cukurcuma Cd. No: 6, Cukurcuma, Beyoglu. Google Map
A small historical bath house in Beyoglu can be the one most recommended if you want to see the local ambiance. It is located at the end of the same street where (now-closed) Cukurcuma Hamam was. Cukurcuma street is actually famous with the antique shops all around it.

Horhor Hamam.
(10:00-20:00)
Address: Hamam Sokak, No: 8 Aksaray/Istanbul.  Google map
Another small historical non-touristy hamam located in Aksaray quarter of Istanbul's Fatih district. It can be confused with Sofular Hamam in the same vicinity known as Horhor, It is located close to Aksaray Metro station, on a small back street. Aksaray neighborhood is notorious with its bad nightlife so it is better not walk around too much, if you stay up late. Actually the venue is also busier in late afternoons/early evenings.

Pasha Hamam.
(10:00-20:00)
Address: Pasa Hamami Street., 2/6 FatihIstanbul.  Google map
This hamam is not very centrally located, and actually the neighborhood is conservative for gay activities. So, it is recommended to straight-acting gay men especially and better be discreet in the vicinity. Located somewhere below Chora/Kariye Museum (walk down Kariye Turbesi street and turn left). If you go by public bus take Edirnekapı buses from Taksim Square or from Eminonu bus terminal by the Galata bridge. Get off at Aci Cesme bus stop, just before Edirnekapi. Walk down the street right next to the Stadium. Enter Pasa Hamami street at the end (left hand site). It is a 2-floor building with a very small signboard at the very beginning of that street named after it.


Click here  for other (non-gay) saunas, gyms, historical Turkish baths in Istanbul.

Click here to send your feedback about any of these places and this page
 


Bear Cruising in Istanbul
 

Regular gay cruising areas are also recommended (or not particularly recommend for safety reasons) to bear people as well. Just like in other big cities around the world cruising areas, especially parks are where gay people should be very careful and selective with the people they meet. These places are discovered by some bad guys and pick-pockets who are always around for robbing gay men rather than having sex with them. Especially be careful if the person you meet tries to take you to isolated places for sex. In such cases make sure there are no people following you (this is a common trick to rob gay men in cruising areas). We recommend you not to carry your valuable things on you when you go to cruising places, just in case.
Please also read this page for general safety warnings.

Bear cruising areas in Istanbul
 

Taksim Park
The park is behind the Mc Donald's, near Taksim Square. The part of the park closer to the sea-side is more cruisy especially in the evenings. There are civil and uniformed policemen in the park in recent years. Although they will be tolerating tourists to some dgree, they can give you a hard time if you get caught having sex outside. Do not go with people to lower and isolated parts of the park for safety reasons.  Beware of rent-boys and thieves around, but do not be scared to walk around in the central area. Afternoons and early evening and Sundays can be recommended to meet other bears.

Fatih Park
Fatih park is near Aksaray.  It is across from the administrative building of Istanbul Municipality (Istanbul Belediyesi). If you are coming from Taksim, you need to stop at Sarachane bus-stop (at the underpass), right before Aksaray. This is where it is more likely to see local bears, but at the same time it is the most risky cruising place. We recommend you not to stay long after it gets dark. Sunday afternoons can be recommended particularly.

Kadikoy Park
Kadikoy is the major residential district on the Asian part of Istanbul. The coastal area, the parks near Kadikoy-Besiktas Iskelesi (the older ferry pier in Kadikoy), the breakwater (the one with light house) are well-known gay cruising areas, where it is like to see bear men. These places usually get cruisy in the evening. There is no obvious gay atmosphere at day time. In summer time the breakwater can be more busy during the day, especially on weekends, when you can see people sitting on the breakwater's wall, lying on the rocks, fishing or drinking beer. You can get to Kadikoy from Eminonu, Kabatas and Karakoy ports by ferryboats, journey lasting about 20-30 minutes. For ferryboat schedules see: IDO Ferryboats
 

Click here for other gay cruising areas in Istanbul.
Click here to send your feedback about any of these places and this page


Bear Beaches in Istanbul

As already mentioned on the webpage dedicated to gay beaches, there are no obvious gay beach areas in Istanbul. If you are a swimming-bear no matter what, please click here for full list of of recommended beaches in Istanbul, among which the isolated beaches in Prince's Islands are still more recommendable to bear people on holiday.


Bear Dating & Internet Resources.


Turkish Gays Yahoo Group
This is a group for meeting Turkish gay men and sharing info. The group is not particularly for bears, but there are many bears among its members exceeding 5000 people in total 

Bears of Turkey
Turkish bear group, providing information about bear movement and bear life in Turkey. It also has a bear guide, but it is really out of date. There are places which has been closed long ago. Ayilar is plural of Ayi, which means bear in Turkish.

 


Recommended Bear-Friendly Hotels.
 

MIS APARTS TAKSIM - BOOK DIRECTLY
Taksim hotels are usually more expensive, and this is the best option for bear people who want to be close to gay venues and not want to spent too much for accommodation. The concept is private rooms in centrally located apartments. Free transfer, free WIFI internet and PC usage are additional advantages.
 
Direct Reservation
>>

EKLEKTIK  - BOOK DIRECTLY FOR SPECIAL DISCOUNT for Istanbulgay.Com
Gay owned and very gay-friendly accommodation which will meet almost all expectations of gay visitors. Eklektik has only 8 deluxe rooms and it is very popular, so book in advance and as early as possible. 

Direct Reservation >>

 


Bear Event

 

 

Bear & Bear Friendly Events in Istanbul & Turkey



ISTANBUL AUTUMN BEAR FESTIVAL- 2014
Istanbear Autumn International Bear Festival will held on 18 - 19 - 20 - 21nd September 2014, in istanbul / Turkey.
Festival's schedule, venues, map, packages, tickets, and more details to be announced soon.

Event Page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/418049181673103/

CONTACT:
www.istanbulbear.org
istanbulbearclub@gmail.com
Twitter / facebook: istanbulbears

 

Our sister Facebook page is dedicated to announce gay and gay-friendly events all over Turkey, naturally including bear events and activities. It is open to gay & lesbian venue owners all over the Turkey. You need to sign-in to your Facebook account  to see the content of the page. You can also share your experiences, ask questions, and meet other Turkish bear men if you join the page;  for which all you need to do is to hit the like button. You need to log in to Facebook first

 

 

 

Gay Travel


Click here for gay-friendly Istanbul city tours by gay owned local travel agency.

The agency is also organizing gay bar & nightlife tours in cooperation with istanbulgay.com. This is a private guided tour. They also have a bear guide very experienced in bear life of the city. If interested, please note down as a message that you want a bear guide particularly.
 

Accommodation


Recommended Bear-Friendly Hotels.
 

MIS APARTS TAKSIM - BOOK DIRECTLY
Taksim hotels are usually more expensive, and this is the best option for bear people who want to be close to gay venues and not want to spent too much for accommodation. The concept is private rooms in centrally located apartments. Free transfer, free WIFI internet and PC usage are additional advantages.
 
Direct Reservation
>>

EKLEKTIK  - BOOK DIRECTLY FOR SPECIAL DISCOUNT for Istanbulgay.Com
Gay owned and very gay-friendly accommodation which will meet almost all expectations of gay visitors. Eklektik has only 8 deluxe rooms and it is very popular, so book in advance and as early as possible. 

Direct Reservation >>


Other Gay Friendly Hotels.
These hotels are promising best price guarantee for bookings from Istanbulgay.Com

You can make direct reservation to most hotels, and contribute to this website
 


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