Must-see nightlife in Tokyo

  • Bar Goldfinger

    Shinjuku & Northwest Tokyo

    Goldfinger is a long-running ladies' spot in Shinjuku-nichōme (but open to all, save for Saturdays). The bar has a lowbrow-chic decor designed to look…

  • These

    Roppongi, Akasaka & Around

    Pronounced teh-zeh, but often just referred to as 'the library bar' (because the walls are lined with books) this long-time favourite haunt has a classic…

  • Eagle

    Shinjuku & Northwest Tokyo

    Eagle has established itself as a popular hang-out in Shinjuku-nichōme, thanks to friendly staff, happy-hour prices (¥500 drinks from 5pm to 8pm;…

  • Japan Sake & Shōchū Information Centre

    Ginza & Tsukiji

    This isn’t a bar, but who cares when you can get 30mL thimbles of regionally brewed sake or shōchū for as little as ¥100 a shot? There are dozens from…

  • Nantoka Bar

    Tokyo

    Part of the collective of spaces run by the Kōenji-based activist group Shirōto no Ran (Amateurs' Riot), Nantoka Bar is about as uncommercial as a place…

  • Circus Tokyo

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    Circus, the Tokyo offshoot of an Osaka club, is aggressively underground: small, out of the way, in a basement (of course), with no decor to speak of and…

  • Jugetsudo

    Ginza & Tsukiji

    This venerable tea seller's main branch is closer to Tsukiji, but this classy outlet in the Kabuki-za Tower has a Kengo Kuma–designed cafe where you can…

  • Albatross G

    Shinjuku & Northwest Tokyo

    With chandeliers dripping from the ceiling and gilded frames on the walls, Albatross G has a louche decadence that has clearly struck a chord: the bar is…

  • Mugimaru 2

    Kōrakuen & Akihabara

    This old house, completely covered in ivy, is a charmer with a welcoming owner and two of Tokyo's most famous shop cats. Seating is on floor cushions;…

  • Karat

    Ginza & Tsukiji

    If singing to a karaoke machine's tinny soundtrack isn't your cup of tea, how about having a live band strum along to your song of choice? Karat offers…

  • (marunouchi) House

    Tokyo

    On the 7th floor of the Shin-Maru Building, this collection of nine bars and pubs is a popular after-work gathering spot. There's a wraparound terrace, so…

  • Kamiya Bar

    Asakusa & Sumida River

    Kamiya is one of Tokyo’s oldest bars (open since 1880) and still hugely popular – thanks largely to the one-litre dai-jokki (大ジョッキ; 'big cups') of Asahi…

  • Ippuku & Matcha

    Tokyo

    This takeaway counter sells matcha (powdered green tea; ¥800) from Uji (near Kyoto) in biodegradable cups, which you can enjoy on terrace with sofa…

  • Old Imperial Bar

    Ginza & Tsukiji

    This is one of the few parts of the Imperial Hotel to feature some of the designs and materials used in the original 1923 Frank Lloyd Wright building …

  • La Jetée

    Shinjuku & Northwest Tokyo

    La Jetée, named for the Chris Marker film, is classic Golden Gai. Running for over four decades, the tiny bar (max occupancy: eight) is known as the go-to…

  • Open Book

    Shinjuku & Northwest Tokyo

    Part of the new generation of Golden Gai bars, the Open Book is run by the grandson of award-winning novelist Tanaka Komimasa (whose collection of well…

  • Sabōru

    Kōrakuen & Akihabara

    Sabōru checks the boxes of a classic mid-20th-century kissaten (coffee shop): dim lighting, low tables, lots of dark wood and strong burendo kōhī ('blend'…

  • Fuglen Tokyo

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    This Tokyo outpost of a long-running Oslo coffee shop serves its signature light-roast coffee by day (from ¥370) and craft beer and cocktails both…

  • Torindō

    Ueno & Yanesen

    Sample a cup of paint-thick matcha (powdered green tea; ¥450) at this tiny teahouse on the edge of Ueno-kōen. Tradition dictates that the bitter tea be…

  • Daikaijū Salon

    Tokyo

    Daikaijū are the 'large strange monsters' of Japanese popular cinema, including the likes of Godzilla and Mothra. Get intimately acquainted with them at…

  • Bongen Coffee

    Ginza & Tsukiji

    Down a side street of Higashi-Ginza is this tiny third-wave coffee shop serving single-estate brews with side orders of onigiri (Japanese rice balls) or…

  • Craft Beer Market Mitsukoshimae

    Tokyo

    If trawling Nihombashi's shops has given you a thirst, this craft-beer pub has some 30 kinds of ales and Japanese snacks available, such as fried chicken…

  • Bistro Marx

    Ginza & Tsukiji

    As well as French chef Thierry Marx's restaurant here, there's his casual bistro-bar where the outdoor terrace has a dress-circle view across to Ginza's…

  • Arena

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    Part of a new wave of Shimo-Kitazawa spots run by the aptly named Nomouze (Let's drink) crew, chill spot Arena has a rooftop terrace and hosts the odd DJ…

  • Café Otonova

    Asakusa & Sumida River

    This charming cafe occupies an old house on an alley running parallel to Kappabashi-dōri. Exposed beams are whitewashed and an atrium has been created,…

  • Nonbei-yokochō

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    Nonbei-yokochō – literally 'Drunkard's Alley' – is another of Tokyo's anomolous strips of tiny wooden shanty bars. This one in the shadow of the elevated…

  • Womb

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    A long-time (in club years, at least) club-scene fixture, Womb is a reliable good night out on a Friday or Saturday if you want to lose yourself in the…

  • Ageha

    Odaiba & Tokyo Bay

    This gigantic waterside club is Tokyo's largest, complete with a pool and food trucks. Best to come in a group and definitely check the schedule in…

  • Nakajima no Ochaya

    Ginza & Tsukiji

    This beautiful teahouse from 1704 (and rebuilt in 1983) stands elegantly on an island in the central pond at Hama-rikyū Onshi-teien, reached via a long…

  • Arty Farty

    Shinjuku & Northwest Tokyo

    A fixture on Tokyo's gay scene for many a moon, Arty Farty welcomes all in the community to come shake a tail feather on its (admittedly small) dance…

  • Agave

    Roppongi, Akasaka & Around

    Rawhide chairs, cruzas de rosas (crosses decorated with roses) and tequila shots for the willing make Agave a good place for a long night in search of the…

  • Town House Tokyo

    Ginza & Tsukiji

    This long-running joint is friendly to gaijin (foreigners; literally ‘outside people’) and has been serving a wide-ranging crowd for years. It provides…

  • Cha Ginza

    Ginza & Tsukiji

    Take a pause for afternoon tea (¥700 to ¥1400) at this slick contemporary tea salon. The menu is seasonal, but will likely include a cup of perfectly…

  • Salon de Café

    Ginza & Tsukiji

    Inside cosmetic company Shiseido's iconic lipstick-red building, Salon de Café is a classic Ginza spot for tea (from ¥1000 for a pot), decadent seasonal…

  • Cafe Asan

    Kōrakuen & Akihabara

    With hammock-style chairs, free wi-fi and plugs for computers and smartphones, this is a popular cafe with the digital generation. Manga and anime are a…

  • Contact

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    Several storeys under a parking garage, Contact is as much a place to see and be seen as it is to dance. Come after 1am on a Friday or Saturday night to…

  • Jam Akihabara

    Kōrakuen & Akihabara

    A visit to Akiba isn't complete until you've sipped a cappuccino topped with a frothy bear design in a maid cafe where the waitress is dressed in a French…

  • Ōizumi Kōjō

    Roppongi, Akasaka & Around

    A feel-good alternative to Roppongi's bars, Ōizumi Kōjō specialises in kombucha, a fermented type of organic tea that has a natural fizz and many health…

  • Karaoke Rainbow

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    This is Shibuya's most popular karaoke spot for two reasons: it doesn't have the same dated look as the generic chains and you get the first hour free …

  • Aoyama Flower Market Teahouse

    Harajuku & Aoyama

    Secreted in the back of a flower shop is this fairy-tale teahouse with flower beds running under the glass-top tables and more overhead, plus cut blooms…

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