The Bohemian Nightlife of Bodrum - A look at the nightlife scene across the Peninsula
It is not by chance that they have earned themselves this esteemed reputation. Owners of bars and staff working in the establishments undergo intense training by specialist tourism schools aimed purely at the hotel and entertainment industry.
They take their business seriously, by staying up to date with the latest dance music scene or accommodating their clientele with utmost service, whether they are budget travellers or seasoned expats, or those who own homes in Bodrum. So for any first time visitor to Bodrum, what can they expect when they venture out after dark?
Indulging in Aegean CuisineNaturally, being a seaside peninsula, Aegean cuisine is favoured by the locals and visiting Turks. The concept is simple, and based on fresh fish or seafood, a range of appetisers, good company, intellectual conversations and of course, a waterfront restaurant. Do not forget the traditional, alcoholic Turkish drink of Raki, which when mixed with water turns into a milky white colour, hence its nickname of “lion’s milk.”
Painting the Town Red on Bar StreetA favoured destination for the young who want to party until sunrise, Bar street in the town centre, is a long cobbled path lined on both sides by of course, bars! Each establishment has its own unique decor and theme but general similarities revolve around exotic cocktails and the latest dance music, whether it is western or Turkish pop. Certain bars also have the added bonus of a seaside view, which looks out onto the Bodrum Castle, sat proudly on the coastline, and at nighttime, lit up to project a stunning appearance.
Traditional MeyhanesThis old tradition from the Ottoman days nearly disappeared into the history books, until it was revived to accommodate modern nighttime scenes. The original concept of a Meyhane was to serve alcohol and a small range of appetisers.
Even when one Ottoman sultan outlawed alcohol, they still served it under the counter. Meyhanes were especially popular with travelling salesmen, in the bustling city of Constantinople. Unfortunately, as Turkey became more westernised and restaurants offered full menus with live entertainment; people starting deserting Meyhanes in droves.
They are starting to make a comeback though, and now offer a range of Turkish cuisine, live singers, and a calm atmosphere, which makes them perfect if you want to chill out with good friends. One of the most popular in Bodrum often recommended by locals is Deniz Feneri Meyhane that also specialises in Fish dishes.
Exotic Nargile BarsA very popular venue with the young generation of Turks is the Nargile bar. The nargile pipe is also known as a hookah, and the process is to light flavoured tobacco on a metal plate, of which the smoke then passes into water and users inhale it through a long pipe.
In these venues, alcohol is not typically served and instead Turkish tea and coffee is the accompanying beverage. Since smoking laws come into force in Turkey, the bars have extended their venues into the open air and many now have roof terraces, providing the perfect holiday experience of smoking a hookah pipe under the Aegean stars of Turkey.
The Large and Popular Nightclub of HalikarnasKnown as the biggest and best nightclub on the Aegean coast, Halikarnus has re-opened after previous rumours of its closure. The extravagant laser light shows, foam parties, professional dancers and famous DJs, all justify the expensive entrance fee and drinks. Open since 1979, this year is their 35th anniversary and you can keep up to date with the latest clubbing music on their Facebook page.
Nighttime CruisingThink of boats, and most people will mention a daytime cruise around the coastline, but nighttime cruises in Bodrum are becoming more popular. Sometimes called party boats, tickets are sold en-mass to everyone and anyone but if crowds are not your idea of fun, hire your own boat and have a BBQ on board.
Rent a boat from the harbour in any resorts along the Bodrum peninsula and if your group is of a large size, this can turn out to be an affordable and memorable Aegean night to remember. Although the scenery will be hard to see, nighttime cruising is all about food and music instead so indulge at your leisure.
Turkish Night ShowsRepeat visitors to Turkey will probably not entertain this idea but if it is your first time in the country; do attend a Turkish night show held by many hotels and restaurants. Appearances will include the lustrous and exotic belly dancers, and live Turkish singers.
Local folk groups from the heart of Turkey, known as the central Anatolian region will perform their village dances of which routines have been handed down through many generations of families. Their traditional costumes are rarely seen these days apart from in the history books and each dance refers to a specific event such as an engagement, wedding, circumcision, or celebration of a new birth into the family.
BBQ NightsAnyone staying in a hotel will most certainly be invited to attend a BBQ night, otherwise expats living in the country should wholeheartedly indulge in the favourite past time of BBQs. Turks love them and any opportunity to have a BBQ is welcomed. Chicken, lamb, and kofte are thrown on the grill; delicious fresh salads are served and drink flows freely. To be like a true Turk though, the BBQ has to take place on the beach!
Go Further AfieldOf course, the centre of Bodrum is where you will find the best variety of nightlife but there is also the option to go further afield to any of the surrounding resorts. 3 kilometres away from Bodrum town centre is the small but vibrant resort of Gumbet which has an extremely British vibe to it. Menus often display the typical British cuisine such as bangers and mash or a full Sunday resort dinner. Entertainment also takes the form of a typical game of bingo, open the box or break dancing shows.
In the opposite direction is Turkbuku, a resort that was formerly off the radar but now highlighted as a popular destination for the rich generation of Turks who want to party in style. In clubs, such as Bianca, VIP rooms are booked months in advance, exotic cocktails flow generously, 7,000 USD champagne flutes are bought in abundance and beefy onsite security, ensure any prying eyes of the paparazzi are kept at bay. Out of all the nightlife party scenes on the Bodrum Peninsula, Turkbuku is definitely the place to be seen.