Büyük Londra Hotel
For an antidote to the slick modernity of Istanbul’s flock of fashionable new bars, head to the wonderfully eccentric bar of the Büyük Londra Hotel, in which a superannuated parrot is only one of the many aesthetic attractions, the other being the wonderfully OTT Victorian-period interior design and the curios dotted around. The Büyük Londra is likely to be fairly empty, but the staff is commendably relaxed and unlikely to mind if you started an enormous party of your own. The other major benefit of the Büyük Londra’s bar is its promise of 24-hour drinking, though if you do stay for the full 24 hours it would only be polite if you were to book a room. The Londra is also the meeting place of Istanbul’s large foreign correspondent contingent, which gathers here once a month to boast about recent scars gained in Herat, Gaza and Benghazi.