Here in the Istanbul Tango life section I am going to talk about the local tango scene. Hopefully, this can help international visitors coming to Turkey to dance more with the locals and immerse themselves into the true Istanbul culture and lifestyle. So here we go…
If you are coming to Istanbul to dance tango and are not sure where to go on a Tuesday night, La Cumparsita could be the answer.
Istanbul tango scene is very busy and there are new milongas emerging and disappearing every month. Considering that tango tourism to Istanbul is growing, here are a few tips about Istanbul Tango Life I’d like to share with you.
If you are visiting Istanbul to dance with the locals at the regular milongas, one stop you might wish to consider is La Cumparsita on Tuesday. Even though there are 2-3 milongas every night in Istanbul and the new ones are coming up (and disappearing) every now and then, my observation is that local tangueros prefer to go to the milongas that have been around for some time.
Yesterday La Cumparsita celebrated their 10th Anniversary, and I can say the place was packed. There was also a draw for a pair of Turquoise Tango Shoes to mark the anniversary. Halil Ertekin one of my favourite DJs was in charge of music. What a treat! I’d like to think that the place was so busy because of the draw but actually the real reason is that the tango community like and respect the owners of the milonga. Anyway, it was a special night and I won’t be referring to yesterday’s extraordinary turnout but rather tell you about what La Cumparsita is like on a regular Tuesday.
One of the things I really like about La Cumparsita is the patio with a small friendly garden. It is a perfect place to get to know people in a very welcoming environment. Despite the health issues that keep me from dancing, I really like coming to the milonga to have a chat with tangueros.
Another thing I would like to mention is the menu, which is different from what you can find at many other milongas: the owners serve coffee or tea (with refill) and real tasty snacks the whole night. If you are not crazy about alcohol like myself then this is a real paradise. As long as you don’t want alcohol, almost everything is included in the entrance fee.
Oh and don’t miss the famous cake made from crushed sesame seeds! It is absolutely delicious and is also “on the house”.
The dancing area itself is about 50 square meters with a custom made floor.
The atmosphere is very friendly, and once you get to know people, this could be a regular spot for you to hang out. One thing I’ve noticed is that, interestingly, La Cumparsita is the only milonga that I have ever been to that has more men. This might just be my observation but this is the only tango place where men have to line up looking for women to dance with.
In summer the place can get very hot but there is an air conditioner to cool the milonga, so it’s a nice option to have.
And last but not least, the final touch…Yes you guessed it right. Toilets. At La Cumparsita, they have separate men’s and ladies’ and the restrooms are very clean and tidy. In fact, the facilities are so comfortable that lots of tangueras use the ladies’ as a changing room. So you can be sure that all aspects of your milonga are taken care of.