A favorite among Istanbul’s clubs, Crystal eschews the seasonality practised by its neighbours in Kuruçesme, staying open all year round. It conjures a different flavour of exclusivity, however, by opening only at 11.30pm and deciding to not really get going till 1am or later.
The diverse crowd (in their 20s to late 30s, mainly Turks but with occasional foreigners) who fill the place (capacity 800) on Thursdays and weekend nights can’t all be curious insomniacs. Most are drawn by the electro and house played by Crystal’s large stable of resident DJs and the relaxed fun atmosphere, which is a good deal more casual than nearby Reina and Anjelique.
It doesn’t have their Bosphorus views, either, being on the wrong side of Muallim Naci Caddesi, but the large lounge-bar-cum-atrium into which you walk as you arrive has glass walls and ceilings, providing an extraordinary view of the titanic, austerely modernist suspension bridge that looms up near the club.
The cavernous back room is a big dance pit, enlivened by a retro-futuristic motif of circular patterns and a flock of mirror balls suspended from the ceiling. It’s a good place for a late-night dance.