With Christmas and the new year approaching and as we are about to embark on a whole new decade, there is admittedly a lot to celebrate. So, check out these fun and festive events planned by and for the thriving expat community in Istanbul to get you merry and sharing holiday cheer as a very important year soon comes to a close.
Feliz Navidad Holiday Party at Los Altos
On Friday, Dec. 20, Yabangee – a volunteer website and community that informs foreigners in Turkey of ongoings, doles out advice and hosts a number of event series themselves – will be holding a Feliz Navidad Holiday Party at Los Altos. The spot not only has the most delectable menu but also the best ambiance among Mexican restaurants in Istanbul, boasting a spectacular view of the Bosporus from its rooftop setting.
The evening begins with an after-work pre-party dinner from 6:30 p.m.to 10:30 p.m. that will feature an open buffet taco bar and unlimited drinks for TL 220, with prior reservations recommended. This price also grants entry to the festive holiday party to follow, which will begin at 10:30 p.m. and will continue until 3 a.m. This festive party, Feliz Navidad, which simply means Merry Christmas in Spanish, will have DJs Altan Balgır, Sibel Konuk and Sky performing through the night as well as a “Secret Santa” exchange that will take place at midnight. To participate in this holiday game, bring a small wrapped gift costing up to TL 20 and be ready to exchange it with a stranger. Tickets for the Feliz Navidad Party are available on Biletino and cost TL 50.
Cheers to 2020 by the “Party Guru”
Regularly referred to as the “Party Guru,” Senem Selimi hosts near-monthly upscale get-togethers for local professionals and expats alike and is also the founder of the Istanbul Expats and Internationals Event Organization Facebook Group. Her “Cheers to 2020” party will take place on Friday, Dec. 20 at Raphael in Nişantaşı, a chic café-restaurant serving gourmet fare. The party begins at 8:30 p.m. and as always, entrance is free; however, guests are requested to register their names for the guest list via the event page. Another staple at Selimi’s parties is the raffle held offering luxurious prizes as gifts.
Charity Christmas Workshop: Door Wreath Crafting
On Saturday, Dec. 21, Istanbul&I will be hosting the special holiday crafting workshop “Door Wreath Crafting” at their center in Karaköy. Taking place from noon to 3 p.m., this will be a festive event in which participants will be able to craft their own holiday door wreaths using decorative seasonal foliage and Christmas accessories on an oasis floral frame. All materials will be provided; however, participants are asked to bring along a sharp pair of scissors or secateurs and an apron if desired. The fee for the workshop is TL140 for adults and TL 120 for children if your spot is reserved by Friday; otherwise, the cost to take part rises to TL 190, although keep in mind that the funds raised will be partially donated to Istanbul&I’s various projects to support displaced and disadvantaged communities.
Pub Quiz Trivia Tournament Holiday Edition
On Saturday, Dec. 21, Yabangee will be hosting their new Pub Quiz Trivia Tournament, but this time with a holiday twist and a “Secret Santa” game. While Yabangee has been hosting a popular trivia night series for the past two years now, this will be the second edition of their newest event series the “Pub Quiz Trivia Tournament.” There is a new format, and it is being held at a new venue, Barock 42 in Maslak. This month the event will focus on the holiday season. People are welcome to come alone and be paired with a team. The questions are read aloud in English and Turkish, and there are prizes to be won. One of the most exciting additions to this very special new Pub Quiz Trivia Tournament event series is that after the quiz, the all-female rock cover band Hey Mama! will be performing live. Entrance to the trivia game is TL 20 and doors open at 7 p.m., with the quiz beginning sharply at 8 p.m.
Holiday Magic: Beyond Pop-Up Special
On Friday, Dec. 27, Beyond Kitchen will be hosting a very special holiday pop-up dinner that will be accompanied by a magic show. Syrian national and Le Cordon Bleu Istanbul graduate Mohammad Alard is behind the city’s newest pop-up dinner series entitled Beyond Kitchen that is held at Life Project TR in Levent, which is a center for members of the displaced community to develop their food entrepreneurial skills. This Beyond Pop-Up Special titled “Holiday Magic” will not only feature a five-course meal with a vegetarian option but will also have magician Joe Alfonso doing a magic show. Taking place from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., the menu will have honey and ginger shrimp on toast, roasted cauliflower soup, creamy wild mushroom crostini and a beetroot salad. The main entrée will be a wild mushroom and beef stroganoff served with spiced mashed potatoes, while vegetarians will get to enjoy a spinach and gruyere potato casserole with gingerbread cookies and dried fruit cake for dessert. The cost to take part in this special holiday dinner is TL 170 for meat-eaters and TL 140 for vegetarians. Space is limited so make sure to reserve your spot on Eventbrite.
Latin Christmas Party at Azúcar
Azùcar Latin Bar & Food will be hosting a Latin Christmas Party on Christmas Eve, which falls on Tuesday, Dec. 24. Starting at 10:30 p.m. and set to continue until 4 a.m., this will be a cozy but colorful evening of celebration by way of listening and dancing to salsa, meringue and Latin Christmas songs. Entrance is TL 50, payable at the door and includes a drink. Opened by Venezuelan expat Yohenys Flores last year, Azùcar Latin Bar & Food is located on the terrace level of a building on Siraselviler Street in Cihangir. It has since become the regular haunt for the Latin expat community in Istanbul.