Friday, September 2, 2011

Spotlight: BEBEK BAR...

Dear readers,

Welcome to another post from Dani's Logbook: Destination Istanbul and Beyond! I know I have a long blog name and not so easy to find via google or other search engines, but slowly I am finding my way and readers are finding me - I hope!

As a "newbie" blogger - since July 4, 2011... I have come to realize blogging is an addiction and a fun one at that if you enjoy writing - which I do.. and it is my profession as well, but at least "here" I can say what is exactly on my mind without being editted!

Now... let's get back to our subject: Bebek Bar!

Yesterday was the 3rd and final day of the Ramadan Holiday and I wanted to treat my mom to an afternoon out. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my mom is 85 years old and not very mobile, so I had to take her to a place that did not have stairs and where she could just get out of a taxi and walk a very short distance.. and Bebek Bar is a perfect spot for this ... and she loves the place!

Located in the heart of Bebek on Cevdetpaşa Street, Bebek Bar is at the Bebek Hotel ( This lovely boutique hotel is on the waterfront and has a very long history - dating back to the 1950s... but the current owners took over the management of the hotel in 1978...

View of Bebek Hotel from Bebek Bar
I hate to "age" myself.. but I have been going to Bebek Bar since 1976, but I was a mere teenager then and in fact, some of the waitstaff from those days are still around! Bebek Bar is very special to me in many ways... I remember I frequented Bebek Bar when I worked at Bosphorus University and then Bebek only had 2 bars and pretty much nothing else to offer! Then, when my sis and I lived in NYC, we visited during our vacations to Istanbul and always fantasized about the day we would move back to Istanbul as we gazed out at the Bosphorus...

Compared to the other "chi chi" and trendy places in Bebek, Bebek Bar can seem "stuffy"... a little too traditional... definitely with an older crowd... frequented by many tourists and expats... a snack bar menu that pretty much hasn't changed that much through the years ... soft music in the background... not that cheap... but overall, I love to visit Bebek Bar from time to time to just "chill out" and enjoy a nice, tranquil afternoon with a glass of wine and some finger food!

 And.. that is exactly what mom and I did on this lovely, sunny day - the first day of September! Unfortunately, Luka who usually accompanys me on my "day" outtings could not come, because, alas Bebek Bar is one of the few places where dogs are not allowed in Bebek.

Even though the snack bar menu includes salads, sandwiches and a couple of mains.. we went for the "traditional" bad stuff on the menu and ordered Chicken Quesidillas - prepared Turkish style and sigara böreği (shaped like a cigarette, hence its name) stuffed with cheese and spinach along with a glass of ice cold Chardonnay for me and Cola Zero for mom.

As we munched away, chatted and soaked in the view... the pigeons, which are fixtures at Bebek Bar lay in wait hoping for some tidbits... which of course they got as we are unable to finish the dishes!

All in all.. it was a lovely afternoon. The bill came to 117 TL after I ordered another glass of wine and tea for mom and an espresso for me... I added a 10 TL tip (10% is the norm in Istanbul).

Mom and me
Some final tidbits on Bebek Bar before I continue... the interior of the bar is reminiscent of a english pub with wood panelling, leather couches and floral arm chairs. During the fall/winter season, there is live music on some nights of the week and is open daily until 1:00am. (Cevdetpaşa Caddesi No. 34, Bebek; Tel: (0212) 358 20 00).

While there, I also took some pictures from the waterfront of some of Bebek Bar's neighbors to share with you.

On the right hand side is Starbucks, Divan Brasserie and my all time favorite seafood restaurant Bebek Balıkçısı ( It is definitely expensive, but worth every penny and reservations are defintely required.. especially if you want to sit on the deck.

Divan Brasserie (front) & Bebek Balıkçısı (rear)
To the left side of Bebek Bar is a private home, a couple of cafes, Poseidon seafood restaurant and at the end the newly opened multi-level eatery called Chilai to which I have gone a few times, but not ready to share my viewpoints - I think it has to settle down a bit more - the space is nicely decorated with great views. the food is not bad, but the service definitely needs to improve.

Finally, just before leaving Bebek Bar, I ran across the street to Santral Şarküteri (deli) to pick up some of their wonderful homemade meze (appetizers) for mom. I got her eggplant salad and cold stuffed grape leaves and both are divine...not to mention their other appetizers. Their prices are higher than other places, but once again worth it. Besides the appetizers, they have an excellent selection of Turkish and international cheeses along with International products to include sauces, cereals, soups and more. They also sell alcoholic beverages. (Tel: (0212) 263 63 52)

I dropped mom off at home... went home and picked up Luka and took him to Ortaköy - felt bad I had to leave him at home. I had written a post about Ortaköy before if you would like to read out this area. Just will say that even though Istanbul was very quiet during the holidays, I think anyone who didn't leave town headed to Ortaköy because it was packed with Turks and tourists alike!

Till my next post.. I bid you adieu! And.. I have one final request... I would appreciate it if you would answer my small poll about my blog... thank you!


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