Bomontiada Beer Factory was a pioneering industrial facility of the Ottoman era that started production in 1890, also giving its name to one of Istanbul’s most attractive neighborhoods to live in today. The factory stayed active until 1991, later to be converted into a buzzy entertainment and nightlife center with several pubs, restaurants and art spaces surrounding its lovely courtyard. Babylon, the city’s best jazz and world music club for catching up live performances of local and international talents is luckily on board as well. So, you would not regret paying a visit either for breakfast or coffee during the day, or for a few beers following gourmet bites, all accompanied by concerts at some nights.
Populist is an attractive pub serving craft beer with comfort food in an industrial setting exposing some old beer-fermentation tanks of the former factory. Klimanjaro, on the other hand, is good for savoring imaginative dishes created by local chefs with the best seasonal products.
Populist Bomontiada - Image credit
Ara Güler Museum is a must to see while you are there. The Armenian-Turkish photojournalist, who joined Magnum Photos in 1961, happened to shoot enigmatic portraits of several noteworthy artists and politicians from Dali and Picasso to Indira Gandhi and Winston Churchill. He was also a true Istanbul lover and is known for his timeless frames of his favorite city that are on display on a rotational basis at the museum bearing his name.
Although the consumption of alcohol was forbidden for the Muslim citizens of the Ottoman Empire, the Christian communities living in Istanbul were exempted from it. That’s how the Swiss Bomonti brothers were allowed by the Sultan to put their beer factory on a field in a predominantly Christian area of Istanbul at the end of the 1800s.