In April we went to Istanbul for a 6 day break and while we were there we went to a milonga every night. I have to say after dancing tango in many new cities over the years and sitting patiently waiting to be asked to dance and if lucky getting the odd dance I had low expectations of getting any dances in a strange city. However, in Istanbul I was pleasantly surprised, I have never ever danced so much at any milonga and lost count of the number of men who asked me to dance. It was a sheer delight to dance with so many new people. I asked a woman who organises one of the milongas how she trained them all so well (joking of course) and she said in all seriousness “it’s just Turkish hospitality”. In every milonga we went to I was asked up for tanda after tanda and we were welcomed and invited to sit at a table with others. With Buenos Aires a bit far away for our purse strings to stretch every year, our new annual pilgrimage to our new tango ‘Mecca’ will be to Istanbul!
For anyone visiting soon here is information about the milongas with comments about the ones we visited:
1. In Sultanahmet very close to sea below Blue Mosque. At Armada hotel (only milonga on side of Blue Mosque) very nice. It cost 20TL to get in and includes one drink (can be alcohol) and a plate of fresh fruit. Water provided in carafe to drink. We were welcomed and taken to the best seats! Address Ahirkapi, Sultanahmet. Tel: 905 326 648 836. From 9:00-01:00. They dance tango salon line of dance. Here is a link to the hotel so you can find it: Armadahotel
2. Milonga el Huracan. TangoNoa. Cafe Krepen Halep Psj. 140/6. Tel: 905 323 255 421. Not far off Istikal Caddesi, Beyoglu.
1. My House milonga. Org: Tangoist. Add: Siraselviler Cad. 35 Taksim. Tel: 905 325 234 119. Near Taksim Square.
2. La Cumparasita. Org: Hayati Tekin. Add: Ortaklar Cad. 40/1 M.koy. Tel 905 322 441 993.
3. Libre Tango Milonga. Org: Ozgur-Deniz. Add: Topcekerler sok. 24/1 Taksim. Tel:905 558 243 203. Not far from Istikal Caddesi.
1. 333. Org: IstanbulTango. Add: Siraselviler Cad.33/3 Taksim. tel: 905 322 637 161. Tango Nuevo. Not far from Taksim Square.
2. Milonga Dinamica. Org: Tangog. Add: Istiklal Cad.Halep Pasaji Kat4. Tel: 905 325 622 622. Off Istical Caddesi.
3. El Abrazo. Org: El Encuentro. Add: Bahcesehir Unit D Blok Teras Kat. Tel: 905 325 832 824. Near sea front.
4. Tiyatro Cafe. Org. TangoTurco. Add: BKM Grisi Besiktas. Tel: 905 323 258 078.
1. Tangopoint run by our Facebook friend ‘Milongator’ Güralp Diner. Add: Point Hotel, Topcu Cad.2. Taksim. Tel: 905 323 444 545. This is reputed to be the best milonga in Istanbul but when we got there it had been cancelled on that occasion. It is on a high floor with fabulous views of the city.
2. Caminito. Org: Tangomio. Add: Atif yilmaz Sk.9/3 Taksim. Just off Istikal caddesi between the shopping centre and a Mosque. 10TL each to get in. Starts 21:30. Small place. Tango salon.
1. Levent Tennis Club. Org: Tango Turk (same as Monday). Add: Akasyali Sok. 34. Levent. Tel: 905 326 648 836. On Metro but hard to find and not near tube station so a taxi is recommended. 20TL including a drink.
2. Olivia Gecidi 2A Asmalimescit. Tel: 905 327 322 816.
El Tango Clasico. Add: Topcekerler,sok. 24/1 Taksim. Tel: 905 558 243 203. off Istikal Caddesi.
3. Tangolic. Add: Istical Caddesi 112.Kat4. Galatasaray. Tel: 905 353 030 922.
1. Baila Traditional. Org: Baila tango. Balo Sok. 1/5 Taksim. Just off Istical Caddesi. From 21:30. 10TL. We went to this milonga in a dance studio on the top floor of an old building with a disco on every other floor. The milonga is in the attic. The wooden floor sloped one way so interesting for your axis at times! Friendly mixed levels but all did line of dance. Tel: 905 079 552 726.
2. 333 milonga (details as above).
Milonga Istanbul. Org. Tango jean. Add: Suslu Saksi Sok 14. Taksim. Tel: 905 322 933 920. Near istikal Caddesi.
3. Milonga de Temprano. Org: Tangomio, Atif yilmaz Sk.9/3 Taksim. same as Thursday night.
4. Milonga a la Turca. Tangog. same address etc as on Wednesday night.
1. Ponte. Org: Tango Suerte. Add: Istical Caddesi, 185. This is in a cafe on top floor of a shopping centre with spectacular views even from the loo! As you go in the security guard spots your shoe bag and escorts you to the top floor! Starts 20:00. Entrance 25TL includes a drink and as much free water as you want. Table service. Good standard.
2. Cordial. Org: Contact Tango. Add: Istikal caddesi, 12 Kat 6. Tel: 905 335 113 866.
Turquoise: turquoise-shoes.com. Defterdar Yokusu no 22A, Cihangir. Open 14:00-19:00. Shoes 220TL about £80. Online shop: Turquoise
Necmi Usta: For a great experience go to shoe maker Necmi Usta, Place was called Mis Han on left of street called Mis Sok just off Istikal caddesi near Taksim Sq end. It is number 13 5th floor. Very nice quality hand-made tango shoes. You can have any colour in any style combination for around 160 Tl £60. Online shop: Binicideri