"The bar scam" Istanbul Warnings Or Dangers Tip by maykal

Istanbul Warnings and Dangers: 288 reviews and 139 photos

The bar scam...according to guidebooks this is also fairly common, and although it didn't happen to me, my accident-prone Syrian friend did have a nasty story to tell! "Saatiniz var mi, abi?" asked a shady character. At first, it would seem he is innocently asking the time, but this is just a conversation opener, and soon the topic will change to girls. A bar will be recommended, why don't you just go and have a look with your new "friend"? On arrival in the bar, everyone is very friendly to you, girls come and sit at your table and drinks arrive. More drinks, everyone laughing, having a good time. Then the time comes to leave, and those cokes the girls were drinking appear to have had vodka added somewhere between being served and turning up on the bill. And guess who is paying? You!! My Syrian friend and his housemates were presented with a bill for $140, quite a lot for a round of six drinks! Of course they created a fuss, and things turned nasty. They only managed to get out of the situation when they realised one of the troublemakers was Kurdish and spoke to him in his own language about how much shame he was bringing upon the Kurdish people, which worked for them as the bill was dramatically reduced to $20. However that probably won't work for you, so the best advice is just not to accompany any strangers to bars with promises of girls.

With so many cheap watches being sold on seemingly every street corner, I have to wonder why anyone would need to ask the time in Istanbul...if you are male, alone or in an all male group, and someone asks you for the time whether in Turkish, English or Mongolian, just walk away.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Feb 15, 2006
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