Efendi – a cosy bar
We were sitting at the Alexandra Bar having dinner and an aperitif after an exhausting day preparing for Alex Kratenas’ guestshift. Alex had gotten a message from Ariel Leizgold, World Class winner from Israel and bartender with many awards: he was to work a guestshift at the Sunset Bar & Grill. This place, located on one of the seven hills in Istanbul, with an amazing view of the brightly lit skyline, is made for a rather posh audience. None of us felt particularly excited about this, and so we moved on to Bar Lucca, which has been around for 10 years. All the drinks were too sweet, but the wine selection is vast. In general, neither bar was my thing.
The bar called Efendi, which translates to “Sir”, was a pure pleasure for all senses after the previous experience. The small entrance way with a black curtain and a view into the small bar area pointed to great style and taste. Passing the small smoking niches we arrived at the bar. A mix of industrial design with unplastered walls and dark wood gives the bar its charm. The cozy atmosphere continues downstairs. Here, you’ll find an oriental rug; book shelves, armchairs and sofas invite you to linger. My preferred spot is at the bar – as always. A glance at the wooden shelf on the wall doesn’t reveal new spirits, but there are several more bottles of bitters.
The Bitter Truth traveler’s set is sitting right next to a few Ferdinand’s bitters, and I find out that these are souvenirs brought in by guests, for which you get a cocktail from the menu on the house.
Nine signature drinks with a clear, herbal thumbprint as well as a handful of classic drinks make up the menu. I ordered a classic Negroni. The bar started filling up, as the news of Alex Kratena being in town was spreading among the city’s bartenders. Ariel joined us after ending his own guestshift. These two bar legends at a bar in Istanbul! This would’ve been inconceivable just a half year ago. The bar itself has been open for about a year. Bartender Uğur Tekebaş – or Dede, as he is lovingly called and (it means ‘grandpa’) – prepares his drinks calmly and with skill. A bar very much to my liking. Drinks are around 10 Euro, which is quite reasonable given the raise in alcohol import tariffs and the consumption tax. A great neighbourhood bar.