Istanbul would be much more boring place without Taksim, of course. There you always have that big city feeling available with too much people and all subcultures pushed together in one part of the city; opera lovers, metalheads and transvestites.
But my beloved Kadiköy still feels like the center of a big city, but a city that exists for itself and doesn’t have the need of constantly showing off. The prices are a bit lower than most places on the western side of Istanbul, but more importantly I don’t have to live with the ‘do-you-have-a-lighter people. They are soon over me as soon as I am walking alone in Taksim trying to make me into night clubs that I don’t want to enter.
The whole Kadiköy area is very appealing to me and have some very good pubs, like Karga. Maybe I’m partial to Karga, since they played Tom Waits debute album, Closing Time, in its entirety at my first visit. The only downside is that it’s a quite far from where I normally live my life in the city, so I don’t go there very often, which probably is a strong spice.