The main thoroughfare is İstiklâl Caddesi, running into the neighbourhood from Taksim Square, a pedestrianised 1 mile (1.6 km) street of shops, cafés, patisseries, restaurants, pubs, wine houses and clubs, as well as bookshops, theatres, cinemas and art galleries. Some of İstiklâl has a 19th century metropolitan character, and the avenue is lined withNeoclassical and Art Nouveau buildings. The nostalgic tram which runs on İstiklal Avenue, between Taksim Square andTünel, was also re-installed in the early 1990s with the aim of reviving the historic atmosphere of the district.
Some of the city's historic pubs and winehouses are located in the areas around İstiklal Avenue (İstiklal Caddesi) in Beyoğlu. The 19th century Çiçek Pasajı (literally Flower Passage in Turkish, or Cité de Péra in French, opened in 1876) on İstiklal Avenue can be described as a miniature version of the famous Galleria in Milan, Italy, and has rows of historic pubs, winehouses and restaurants. The site of Çiçek Pasajı was originally occupied by the Naum Theatre, which was burned during the great fire of Pera in 1870. The theatre was frequently visited by Sultans Abdülaziz andAbdülhamid II, and hosted Giuseppe Verdi's play Il Trovatore before the opera houses of Paris. After the fire of 1870, the theatre was purchased by the local Greek banker Hristaki Zoğrafos Efendi, and architect Kleanthis Zannos designed the current building, which was called Cité de Péra or Hristaki Pasajı in its early years. Yorgo'nun Meyhanesi (Yorgo's Winehouse) was the first winehouse to be opened in the passage. In 1908 the Ottoman Grand Vizier Sait Paşa purchased the building, and it became known as the Sait Paşa Passage. Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, many impoverished noble Russian women, including a Baroness, sold flowers here. By the 1940s the building was mostly occupied by flower shops, hence the present Turkish name Çiçek Pasajı (Flower Passage). Following the restoration of the building in 1988, it was reopened as a galleria of pubs and restaurants.
Pano, established by Panayot Papadopoulos in 1898, and the neighbouring Viktor Levi, established in 1914, are among the oldest winehouses in the city and are located on Kalyoncu Kulluk Street near the British Consulate and Galatasaray Square. Cumhuriyet Meyhanesi (literally Republic Winehouse), renamed in the early 1930s but originally established in the early 1890s, is another popular historic winehouse and is located in the nearby Sahne Street, along with the Hazzopulo Winehouse, established in 1871, inside the Hazzopulo Pasajı which connects Sahne Street and Meşrutiyet Avenue. The famous Nevizade Street, which has rows of historic pubs next to each other, is also in this area. Other historic pubs are found in the areas around Tünel Pasajı and the nearbyAsmalımescit Street. Some historic neighbourhoods around İstiklal Avenue have recently been recreated, such as Cezayir Street near Galatasaray High School, which became known as La Rue Française and has rows of francophone pubs, cafés and restaurants playing live French music. Artiste Terasse (Artist Teras) on Cezayir Street is a popular restaurant-bar which offers panoramic views of the Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace, Sultan Ahmed Mosque and Galata Tower. Mikla Restaurant is a fine dining establishment at the top floors of the Marmara Pera Hotel, offering beautiful panaromic views over the old city in a range from the Golden Horn to the Bosphorus.
Throughout Beyoğlu, there are many night clubs for all kinds of tastes. Babylon and Nu Pera are among the most popular European style night clubs and restaurants in the district, while Kemancı plays rock, hard rock and heavy metal. Maksimplays Oriental music, while Andon is a place where one can eat, drink and dance to the traditional Turkish music called fasıl. There are restaurants on the top of historic buildings with a view of the city, such as 360. The Ottoman era Rejans is a historic Russian restaurant. Asmalımescit Street has rows of traditional Turkish restaurants and Ocakbaşı (grill) houses, while the streets around the historic Balıkpazarı (Fish Market) is full of eateries offering seafood like fried mussels andcalamari along with beer or rakı, or the traditional kokoreç. Beyoğlu also has many elegant pasaj (passages) from the 19th century, most of which have historic and classy chocolateries and patisseries, such the Markiz Pastanesi, along with many shops lining their alleys. There is also a wide range of fast-food restaurants in the district, of international chains such as McDonald's, Burger King, Domino's Pizza, Pizza Hut, etc.; as well as local Turkish chains, such as Simit Sarayı which serves simit (sesame-covered, ring-shaped pretzel bread) along with cheese and tea, or individual eateries such as döner kebab houses.
Apart from the hundreds of shops lining the streets and avenues of the district, there is also a business community. Odakule, a 1970s high rise building (the first "structural expressionism" style building in Turkey) is the headquarters of İstanbul Sanayi Odası (ISO) (Istanbul Chamber of Industry) and is located between İstiklal Avenue and Tepebaşı, next to the Pera Museum. Most of the upper floors of the buildings in Beyoğlu are office space, and small workshops are found on the side streets.