The Best Bars in Tokyo: Rad Nights in Japan’s Capital

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What to know and where to go for the best bars in Tokyo

Japanese culture may be thought of as timid but when the day transforms into night; the ties get loose, the bars become packed and they sure know how to party.

In a city as big as Tokyo, Japan, you’re guaranteed to never run out of choices but deciding where to go is as effective as choosing a movie on Netflix.

Below, we’ve narrowed down our beloved drinking spots around the city and what you must drink while stumbling happily through the streets. Here are some of the best bars in Tokyo.

DANCE TILL DAWN IN TOKYO

If you love to dance, head to the following clubs to dance all night long!
Note: All clubs have a steep cover charge upwards of 3500¥

Harlem: Hip-Hop in Shibuya

If you love authentic hip-hop, Harlem knows how to do it right. There’s a large dance floor on the ground floor and a lounge on the 2nd floor. It’s packed to the gills

Address:〒150-0044 2-4 Maruyamacho, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan

Womb: Underground House, Techno & Bass

On Saturday nights, Womb is the place to be. Top DJ’s will keep you dancing all night long and is renowned as one of the best underground nightclubs in Tokyo.

Address: 〒150-0044 Tokyo, Shibuya, Maruyamacho, 2-16

Tokyo DecabarZ: Alternative Japan in Shinjuku

If you want to see a side of Tokyo where the woman dress in cosplay and the crowd is what you’ve only seen on Google images, this is a funky Goth club that’s worth wandering into.

Address: Shinko Building, 1 Chome-2-13 ,Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku

TYPICAL JAPANESE BARS: TINY DRINKING HOLES

Although our advice veers away from trotting down the touristic path – when it comes to Tokyo’s tiny local bars, the atmosphere varies depending on the neighborhood so do yourself a favor and have an empty stomach and fill up on a snack and drink as you mini-bar hop your way through Tokyo’s alleyways.

Note: There is a seating charge at some bars so ask before taking a seat.

Shinjuku’s Golden Gai

This touristic yet authentic strip is comprised of 6 alleyways with over 200 quaint watering holes and is famous amongst locals and travellers.

Address: 1 Chome Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0021

Shinjuku Omoide Yokocho

One of our favorite alleyways beautifully decorated and lined with red lanterns hosts many great tiny bars.

Address: 〒160-0023 Tokyo, 新宿区Nishishinjuku, 1−1−1

Shibuya’s Nonbei yokocho: Drunkards Ally

Close to Shibuya station, walk over to Drunkards Ally before midnight and enjoy the array of tiny bars with alleyways lined with graffiti. One of the tiniest bars here only seats 4 people!

Address: 1 Chome-25 Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0002

Ebisu Yokocho

If you’re looking to get a little off the tourist track of Shinjuku and Shibuya, head to Ebisu. The bars and eateries are open until the morning and the atmosphere has a completely different vibe.

Address: 〒150-0013 Tokyo, Shibuya, 恵比寿1丁目7−4

Yurakucho (AKA:gaado shita)

If you’re looking for a budget friendly and authentic experience, head to Yurakucho train station and under the bridge . Here your yen will go much further and most travellers don’t tend to know about this area. It’s as local as it gets, a popular drinking hole for businessmen and prices are far more reasonable than the above.

Address: Tokyo, 千代田区丸の内3丁目4

DRINKING IN TOKYO ON A BUDGET

Street Drinking

Lucky for you, drinking in the streets of Tokyo is completely acceptable so if your budget doesn’t allow for overpriced bars and cover charges, you can still enjoy wandering through the alleyways and people watching for pennies in comparison.

Head to the closest supermarket, 711, Lawson’s or Family Mart and check for deals – one of the above will typically have a special where drinks are discounted.

Budget Izakaya: “all items 270¥”

In Japan, you always eat when you drink and dotted around most metro stations, you can find a budget-friendly izakaya’s serving alcohol and a variety of small Japanese dishes for 270¥” to keep you from a raging hangover the next morning.

Keep an eye out for a bright yellow sign reading “all items 270¥” – you can’t miss it.

Ginza Standing Bar: 300¥ Beers (before tax)

Buy your tickets when you enter before getting your drink on and proceed to rub elbows with plenty of locals without spending a fortune. The atmosphere is relaxed, the beer is cheap and there’s no cover charge. What more could you ask for?

Address: 〒104-0061 東京都中央区 銀座5丁目9−11 ファゼンダ ビル B1

Suntory Brewery: Free Brewery Tour

Who doesn’t love free beer? Head to Suntory Brewery and enjoy a fresh pint during the free 1hr tour.

Address: 〒183-0025 Tokyo, Fuchu, 矢崎町3−1

ALL-YOU-CAN-DRINK: NOMIHODAI

Nomihodai is one of our favorite words because it means “all-you-can-drink”. Head to KIN no KURA for the most budget friendly drinking escapade in Shibuya. Prices vary depending on how fast you’d like to drink but we recommend the 120min at 1200¥. Other options include 90min @ 900¥ or 180m @1900¥. There is a large assortment of drinks to choose from such as cocktails, spirits, wine, Japanese plum wine and sake and a free bowl of edamame to snack on.

Note: There is typically a 200¥ table charge as well as a minimum order of 2 small dishes per person. Sounds steep but for all-you-can-drink, it’s worth it.

Address: 3 Chome-28-7 Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0002

QUALITY VS. QUANTITY

Our favorite bars tend to be those that are a mix of quality and quantity – why have one when you can have both?

If you’ve only got time for a few, besides the tiny alleyway bars, be sure to head to these two rad bars while in Tokyo.

JBS: A Music Addicts Paradise

Vinyl lovers rejoice! JBS is one of the coolest jazz bars in Tokyo with an owner who really knows and appreciates 60’s music. With over 50k records to chose from, prepare to stand in awe from his floor to ceiling collection while sipping on a drink and feeling that rush of nostalgia.

Address: 〒150-0043 Tokyo, Shibuya, 道玄坂1丁目17−10 第2宝ビル2F

Goodbeer Faucets: Craft Beer!

When you can’t handle the water flavored beer and want to treat yourself to quality Japanese and American craft beer; Goodbeer Faucets has 40+ beers to chose from and damn they’re good.

The best part? From 5pm, its 200¥ off each beer during happy hour!

Address: 〒150-0046 Tokyo, Shibuya, Shoto, 1 Chome−29−1, クロスロードビル

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Shannon Wolf

Born in Toronto, Canada, Shannon Wolf has lived and worked around the globe as a freelance writer and photographer. Over the years her work has been featured and published both in print and online in various publications. Shannon has travelled over 40+ countries on 4 continents in the last 3 years and is an avid food lover and adventurer with an open itinerary and no intent of stopping.

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