Filed under: the city
I’m very excited to announce that the season of “Street Drinking” is open in Istanbul. The weather is finally good and warm at nights, and the city is much more lively than it has ever been. Smoking indoors is banned and it’s a mission to find a comfortable place to sit in open air. Entertainment is at the peak. You know your oil is the booze. You know that, without getting tipsy or drunk, the fun you’re gonna have will be limited. In this era of depressions and downfalls, it’s encouraged to get your share of the fun. You worked endlessly and you got sick and tired of all the stress during the week and you have deserved to “steal this night from the devil” (it’s a popular turkish saying). But, it’s impossible to drink enough at bars or clubs without paying a hefty fee. Your best option is street drinking.
I believe there isn’t really a season of drinking on streets, since you can do it anytime, anywhere given that you can survive the weather for enough time. It is a lifestyle for many people but the opening of the season means that almost all kinds of night dwellers will gather in the streets for the night. It started as an alternative move, mainly supported by high-school teenagers around Beyoğlu (who are not allowed in bars), by drinkers who cannot afford expensive bars, by “smokers” who cannot do illegal activities in bars (and want some booze with the joint) and lastly by clandestine couples for “various” reasons. Street is the culture. What happens on the streets, defines the city life. In a city with some 15 million population, it is natural to assume that the streets are crowded for the whole day and whole night, which gives the impression that you are in a very social place. Although some conservatives might not like the idea that the drinking is on the streets, it is clear that it is a social activity. Alleys on the other hand are seldom crowded and thus offers a more intimate venue for the drinkers. It doesn’t really matter where you drink, unless you look like a desperate loner (Of course, if you are homeless, no one can question your desperation, but that’s another story). It’s important to look smart and attractive and it’s crucial that you don’t let people think that you are on the streets because you don’t have anywhere else to go. They need to believe that it is your choice to drink on the street, just because you are cool and care about the street culture. Company is a must; if you are 2, it’s ok; 3 is also fine. But the saying who goes as “the more, the merrier” is very much valid for Street Drinking. A group of 8 or more is required for an epic night of Street Drinking. So, you should try to invite as much people as possible, even though they don’t know each other. You also need to be social for the whole time during Street Drinking. It’s one of the reasons why a bigger group is encouraged. If you stop socializing for a moment, you stop being a worthy addition to the streets. You need to chat, joke, gossip, flirt and fool around. Little pranks are also encouraged, since it is also from the streets. Getting in touch with members from other groups is not a must, but it’s encouraged. Asking for a cigarette, a lighter or some money are examples. But you don’t have to be confined to regular contacts, you can also get to know them, chat with them, buy them a drink, invite them to your group or even get flirty. Every social attempt is highly encouraged and rewarded. But you should not forget the cardinal rule of “street drinkers”: you are a family. If someone asks you for a cigarette or some money for booze, you should be generous and give them what they want (But you don’t have to give anything to the beggars. It’s ok to ignore them).
Let’s go back to the opening of the season in Istanbul. It was not until the last few years that street drinking around popular places got trendy. Nişantaşı, Teşvikiye, Taksim, Tünel, Cihangir are such places where a mass of bars, cafes, restaurants and clubs are situated. Most of them who are trendy enough for young people to prefer, are also very expensive. The university students doesn’t want to go out for a few hours, then come back home. They want to spend the whole night outside, visiting a few places, eating, drinking, getting drunk and having a hell of a night in the process. The young working bunch also wants to have a great night in the weekends, since he has been waiting for the friday to come for the whole week. Having a job in Istanbul, means you have to go out on the weekends and socialize with others. As a working person, it’s shameful to go to cheap places. But it’s trendy to drink on the streets. So most who don’t want to spend a fortune in a club, prefer to drink on the streets and then hit the club. On top of that, very loud music in bars and clubs don’t allow you to socialize as much as you want with the others. So social butterflies are also happy with street drinking. Street Drinking is self-served. You don’t have to depend on slow and aloof waiters. In Istanbul, you can find a Tekel store (liquor store) anywhere nearby. If you choose a popular place for street drinking, you can also go to bars to buy a cocktail and then return to your street drinking friends. Another option is to bring your drinks on the streets. With plastic cups, spirits and energy drinks, your fun night is guaranteed. One last point to remember is that you should choose your street drinking place close to nice music, so that you can socialize in happiness with your favorite music on the background.
I can hear you saying, why not drink at home, instead of drinking in the streets. I believe drinking at home isn’t a viable option for everyone. First of all, not everyone has a place in the city where most of their friends can get to easily. Secondly, you can’t be trendy at home. You’re in your home ground and you don’t have other people who can see you. Thirdly, you can’t socialize as much. Again, I have to say that “Street is the culture.” Without the streets, you cannot socialize. Public places are the cradle of flirting, dating, friendships and entertainment. On the other hand, home reminds us of family. That’s why, drinking at home can only be a second best to street drinking. So, why don’t you go get your own share from the streets tonight !
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