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
Address: Siraselviler Street, No: 63/1 Taksim, Beyoglu. Istanbul.
Web: IstanbulGay / Tekyon (Click for guest reviews, videos, pictures and more)
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
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
Web: IstanbulGay / Durak (Click for guest reviews, videos, pictures and more)
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. The entrance door is on the left hand side 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.
Babel Park Cafe & Restaurant
Address: Sht. Pilot Mahmut Nedim Sokagi, No:3,Fatih, Istanbul
This cafe & restaurant under gay-friendly Babil Park Hotel is a gathering point for mostly bear gay men since 2018. It is a place where local bears, straight acting and mature gay men visit very often in early evening, usually before moving on to near-by Durak Pub in the weekend. Although it rather looks like a restaurant you can also go just to drink beer. The prices are average. Being on the main road, it is not a gay exclusive venues where straight people also comes often.
Club Cheeky - 01:00-07:00
Address: Tarlabasi Bulvari, No: 32 Takim, Istanbul.
Web: IstanbulGay / Cheeky (Click for guest reviews, videos, pictures and more)
Cheeky Club is not intended to welcome only 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 a little 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 very close to Taksim Square, next to Cartoon Hotel. It had a small darkroom in the previous venue which was is the main reason of its popularity. The terrace floor of the new venue (once Ekoo Club) is expected to function like that.
Simit Sarayi Taksim
Address: Tarlabası Bulvari, No: 6 Taksim, Istanbul.
This is not a gay venue. There are always several venues around Taksim square which functions as meeting places for gay men in day time ear early evenings, usually before going to gay bars/clubs. This is one of them. It is a a branch of Turkish-owned tea house chain. There are many gays hanging around on the upper floor, mostly straight acting men and bears. Beware of some hustlers who also comes to this place..
IstanBear Club - Closed Down in 2011
Bearphorus - Closed Down in Late 2010.
Other Bars and Clubs
Naturally, there may be bears in any other gay bars in Istanbul. Click here for full list of gay bars and clubs.
Bear Friendly Baths in Istanbul
(Turkish baths) are the most popular venues among bears
and mature gay men living in Istanbul. The following
Turkish bath are the one where it is most likely to meet
other Turkish gay bears as well as gay tourists.
Firuzagha Hamam. (10:00-23:00)
Address: Cukurcuma Cd. No: 6 Cukurcuma, Beyoglu
Web: TurkishBathGuide/ Firuzaga.htm
A small historical bath house in Beyoglu can be the one most popular one for gays and 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.
Nur Hamam (07:00 - 23:00)
Address: Hamalbasi Cad. No:14, Beyoglu / Istanbul
Web: TurkishBathGuide/ Nurhamam.htm
Although this is an old establishment which became popular comparatively recently in late 2017. Located roughly 200 meters from Galatasaray square and Istiklal Avenue. Clients are mostly bearish types.
Yeshildirek Sifa Hamam (10:00-20:00)
Address: Tershane Cad. No:124, Azapkapı, Beyoglu, Istanbul
Web: TurkishBathGuide/ Yesildirek.htm
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.
Address: Altipatlar Sokak, No: 14. Cukurcuma / Beyoglu / Istanbul
Web: TurkishBathGuide/ Cihangir.htm
The entrance fee is 45 TL as of February 2016, which makes it the most expensive among other crusing bath houseas and saunas. It is also the most liberal, the most neclected and the least friendly compared to its alternatives. Since the gay crusing venues are usually not very well maintained and friendly in general, you can stll try this place once. It is not a traditional Turkish bath. Basically it has a sauna, some kind of a dark room, showers and a cafe-lounge area
Davutpasa Hamam which was being advertised on our website for several years is removed because the owners kept sending messages recently (in late December 2017), saying that they have changed their concept and they neither want to be listed as a gay friendly venue nor they want to appear on any gay websites from now on. So we highly recommend you to avoid it.
Click here for other cruising bath houses in Istanbul, with location maps and visitor reviews
Click here for other (non-gay) saunas and historical Turkish baths in Istanbul.
Bear Cruising in Istanbul
Most of the
regular gay cruising areas are also recommended to bear
people as well. Just like in other big cities around the
world cruising areas, especially isolated parks are where gay
people should be a little careful and selective with the
people they meet. These places are discovered by some
thieves and pick-pockets.
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 other people following you - 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 outdoor cruising places, just in case.
read this page for general safety warnings.
Gay cruising places are not as busy as they used to be since internet and cell phones became widespread; especially after gay mobile applications were launched. The most popular dating app in Turkey is Hornet among Turkish LGBTQ people since Grindr was banned for not filtering pornographic content. Nowadays, almost every Turkish gay men, as well as many transgender people, rent-boys and bisexual men are there on Hornet. A less popular mobile dating application especially among Turkish gay bears is Growlr as expectedly. Naturally, you should be a little careful if you date someone via gay dating applications, just like anywhere else in the world. You can also come across many rent-boys on these dating applications, some of whom may not tell it in advance. It is better to ask directly if you have such a suspicion. .
Bear cruising areas in Istanbul
Muratpasa Park, Aksaray
Muratpasa Park is a cruising and gathering spot for bears and other gay men. Unlike other cruising parks this is a busy park with straight people normally with many cafe houses in the vicinity, but mostly straight acting, bear gay man are also always around, usually sitting on benches around the pool. Action is not possible naturally.
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), shortly before you come to Aksaray. It lost its popularity since 2016 after the municipality moved out the benches and put a lot of lights in the vicinity. (see on Google Map)
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.
Click here for a complete list of gay cruising spots in Istanbul.
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
Istanbul Bears organize local and international bear meetings, parties and events for bears, chubs, cubs, chasers and admirers to build well communication between Turkish bears,
Bears of Ankara
Facebook group aiming to bring Turkish gay bears living in capital city Ankara..
Bear Friendly Istanbul Hotels.
Average Rates: Single/Double 30-70 Euro depending on
room type & season
Very centrally located and gay-friendly apart hotel near Taksim has a variety of well designed suite rooms. 24 hour reception, breakfast and airport transfers, discounts for Istanbulgay.Com available ! .
Make Direct Reservation from hotel owners and get extra % 5 discount.
Hotel Babel Park is probably the most bear-ish
accommodation in Istanbul, managed by bear guys and
located in Aksaray, which is the district mostly popular
among Turkish bears, mature man and straight acting gay
men. It is also steps away from
Durak Pub which is the most visible
gathering place for Turkish bears. The hotel also has a
restaurant & pub where you can see many bears. The
Muratpasa Park is also a cruising and gathering spot
for bears and other gay men.
Book Now: Make instant & Online reservation via Booking Com. Free cancellation option is available.
You can see a complete list of Istanbul hotels and make
online booking via Booking Com.
You can list hotels in order of price, staring and
recommendation. Real time guest ratings also will be
very helpful when choose your hotel according to your
Click here for Istanbul Hotels >>
Bear Events & Discussion Forum
We will be
posting important bear events in Istanbul under this
section. You can also participate by starting a
discussion, asking questions or by writing replies to
other commentators' posts..
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