Fans of colonial watering holes tend to head for the bar at the Pera Palas Hotel; that's because they don't know about the Büyük Londra. Another late 19th-century time warp, it may be a little less grand than the Pera Palas, but it's way more eccentric. The two gilded salons are plushly carpeted and decked with giant chandeliers.
The immaculate barman occasionally sallies forth from the tiny bar at the back to change the 78 on the wind-up gramophone. Otherwise, the soundtrack is provided by caged songbirds on the windowsills.
Open late and rarely crowded, Büyük Londra is an open secret that's good to know. Hemingway stayed here in 1922, sent by the Toronto Daily Star to cover the Turkish war of independence, and the bar is still favoured by artists, writers and film crews.
The Büyük Londra is also a good, moderately priced hotel.