We might still be experiencing the disruptive effects of last year’s outdoor table ban on the nightlife scene in Asmalımescit, but that hasn’t stopped several entrepreneurs from working diligently to restore liveliness to the area. One of these brave souls is ex-Babylon and Babylon Lounge bartender Birol Öksüz (who was instrumental in Babylon Lounge nabbing the award for ‘Best Bar’ during last year’s Time Out İstanbul/Gusta Eating & Drinking Awards). At his new home, Restart, he aims to introduce Istanbulites to younger music and DJs.
The two-storey venue at the start of Şehbender (where the short-lived Catch once resided) has a pub-like vibe on the lower floor, while upstairs is more of a club. During our visit we found ourselves watching ’90s cartoons with Öksüz and his partners, and couldn’t help but feel as though we were hanging out at home. On nights when Restart isn’t overly crowded, we recommend settling at the bar on the ground floor and chatting with the personnel, who’ve certainly got some stories to tell.
Restart serves beer for 10-15 TL and cocktails for 22-25 TL. With more than its fair share of vodka, Kısmet is a strong yet vitamin-packed alternative in the winter months, featuring grapefruit, lemon, lime, raspberry and strawberries, plus pineapple juice, blueberry juice and a bit of sugar. For those who are more inclined to do shots, you just can’t get better than Restart’s Beyoğlu shot series (8 TL). These elixirs have been designed to suit the character of each neighbourhood, with lots of grapes in the Asmalı, organic fruits in the Cihangir and an overpowering kick of alcohol in the Taksim.
Şehbender Sokak 4
|Opening hours:||Tue-Sat 18.00-04.00.|