NargilesAs recently as the 1990s the nargile seemed to be on its very last legs, used only be elderly men in flat caps in the shadiest of teahouses.

Then suddenly a new generation discovered the gentle pleasures of puffing on a water pipe and suddenly every other cafe was posting racks of nargiles in all shapes and sizes in their windows. Tobacco was offered in a wide range of flavours with apple especially popular. A rare few cafes also offered tömbeki, the real thing and a very strong offering for those not used to it. 

Throughout  the 2000s the alluring scent of apple tobacco floated in the air in many a corner of Istanbul. Then in January 2013 it became illegal to smoke a nargile in an enclosed space. It remains to be seen what effect this will have on all the small cafes that offered the option.

Great places to try out a nargile include the many cafes at Tophane behind the Nusretiye Cami and the lovely courtyard cafe called the Çorlulu Ali Paşa Medresesi on Divan Yolu in Sultanahmet. 

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