If you've ever been to a Muslim country, you may have found that strict regulations on recreational drinking can often curtail any dreams you have of a wild night on the town. Such customs can put quite a damper on the spirits of many an imbibing traveler; luckily for you night owls, Istanbul's reputation is quite the opposite. In keeping with Istanbul's status as an open-minded international city, the nightlife is wonderfully varied by location, style and budget, meaning that everyone from backpacker-in-heels Jane to when-in-Rome Joan and empty-your-bank-account-in-Rome Joe and what's-with-all-these-Rome-references-Bob will have plenty of exciting nightlife opportunities to choose from. Just make sure Joe leaves his credit card back at the hotel.
The most obvious place to start would be Istiklal Avenue (Istiklal Caddesi). Running from Tunel to Taksim Square, the street is a madhouse day and night. The club scene is big, while there are a few high-end bars (and a few with plenty of kitsch- Beatles Cafe, we're looking at you). Istiklal never seems to sleep, so you can't fail here if you want action. There are some quality live music venues and more bars in Asmalimescit, which is adjacent to the west, as well as a good handful of hookah bars (nargiles) available if you walk south toward to the Bosphorus to Tophane.
Then again, you could be quite satisfied never stepping from the shadow of the Blue Mosque and enjoying the block or so of establishments on Akbıyık Caddesi, including standby's like Sultan Bar and Shadow Bar that will cater to the Western majority that tend to stumble across this street. We would probably call your adventurousness into question if you were to stop here, though. Getting across the Bosphorus to the "Asian side" of Istanbul can provide you with the right mix of local authenticity and a high number of nightlife options. Head to the neighborhood of Caddebostan for two of the liveliest streets on this far corner of Asia, Baghdad Street (Bağdat Caddesi) and Iskele Street, the second of which works hard to earn its "bar street" (barlar sokağı) nickname. Also, instead of cruising by cool Turkish neighborhoods like Ortaköy in a Bosphorus riverboat, take the metro in and discover the cosmopolitan club scene and cafe vibes that have developed along the waterfront next to the Bosphorus Bridge.
There are also a number of nightlife options spread throughout greater Istanbul. Keep an eye on this page for all of your needs; whether you're hunting for some late-night doner kebabs, a nightclub on its own island in the Bosphorus, or just a place to lay low and share a hookah with some friends, Istanbul has got quite the variety.