Must-see nightlife in Tokyo

  • Shimo-Kitazawa Cage

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    Winning the award for most literal name, Shimo-Kitazawa Cage is a fenced-off cube under the Keiō Inokashira Line tracks. Get beers and snacks (from ¥400)…

  • Dandelion Chocolate

    Asakusa & Sumida River

    Dandelion makes it's own single-origin bean-to-bar small-batch chocolate right here in Kuramae, a neighbourhood long known for light manufacturing (and…

  • Brewdog

    Roppongi, Akasaka & Around

    This Scottish craft brewery's Tokyo outpost is nestled off the main drag. Apart from its own brews, there's a great selection of other beers, including…

  • Ghetto

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    Ghetto – the name comes from the characters for 'moon' (ge) and 'light' (to) – is one of the small bars inside Shimo-Kitazawa's iconic (and rickety)…

  • Lucite Gallery

    Asakusa & Sumida River

    In the former Yanagibashi entertainment district, this cafe, bar and gallery was once the home of geisha and popular singer Ichimaru. Rotating exhibits by…

  • Harajuku Taproom

    Harajuku & Aoyama

    Baird’s Brewery is one of Japan’s most successful and consistently good craft breweries. This is one of three Tokyo outposts, and you can sample more than…

  • Forest Beer Garden

    Harajuku & Aoyama

    Following a long-standing Tokyo summer tradition, this corner of Meiji-jingū Gaien becomes a loud and lively beer garden with seating for 1000 around a…

  • Hitachino Brewing Lab

    Kōrakuen & Akihabara

    Sake brewery Kiuchi has been brewing its excellent range of Hitachino Nest craft beers since 1996. At this dedicated outlet you can have a very merry time…

  • Rhythm Cafe

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    Rhythm Cafe is a fun little DJ bar secreted among the windy streets of Shibuya sub-district Udagawa-chō (known for its record shops). It's run by a record…

  • Cafe Paulista

    Ginza & Tsukiji

    Cafe Paulista is Tokyo's longest running cafe, in business since 1911 (though the building has been redone), and has seen decades' worth of celebrity…

  • Gen Gen An

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    Your Shibuya pit stop for green-tea lattes, fresh-brewed ice teas, earthy hōjicha (roasted green tea) and more, all made from organic leaves harvested in…

  • Yanaka Beer Hall

    Ueno & Yanesen

    Exploring Yanesen can be thirsty work so thank heavens for this craft-beer bar, a cosy place with some outdoor seating. It's part of a charming complex of…

  • Hocus Pocus

    Roppongi, Akasaka & Around

    As well as serving coffee from local third-wave roasters Little Nap, this super-stylish cafe casts a beguiling spell with its creative range of doughnuts…

  • Kappabashi Coffee & Bar

    Asakusa & Sumida River

    This stylish coffee shop has an interior that mixes traditional Japanese dark wood with more modern features. In addition to hand-drip coffee, light meals…

  • Café Miel

    Kōrakuen & Akihabara

    This charming cafe, which also sells alcohol, is stacked with antique goodies, including rocking horses, clocks, puppets, old photos and beautifully…

  • Tight

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    Teeny-tiny Tight is always a good bet in Nonbei-yokochō, the narrow nightlife strip along the elevated JR tracks. Like the name suggests, it's a tight fit…

  • Blue Sky Coffee

    Tokyo

    This coffee counter looks like it could be the work of Studio Ghibli: a wooden cottage secreted in the woodsy fringes of Inokashira-kōen concealing a…

  • Never Never Land

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    Lively, loud and filled with bohemian characters, Never Never Land is a long-running fixture on Shimokita's bar circuit. It's a good place to wind up when…

  • Trouble Peach

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    Pretty much everything here is chipped, frayed or torn – and none of it is artifice. This well-worn and well-loved bar, open for some 40-odd years, is…

  • Beat Cafe

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    Beat is a dive in the best sense of the word, comfortably shabby with cheap drinks (from ¥600), no cover, late hours, lipstick (blood?) red walls, random…

  • Sub Store

    Tokyo

    Sub Store is many things: used-vinyl store, sometime art gallery, Indonesian restaurant (the original Sub Store is in Jakarta) and always a great place to…

  • Garden

    Roppongi, Akasaka & Around

    Stare out from this serene tea lounge across the beautiful late-16th-century garden, hidden behind International House of Japan. There are plenty of…

  • Oath

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    Oath is a tiny space covered in gilt and mirrors, dripping with chandeliers and absolutely not taking itself seriously. It's a very popular spot for pre…

  • Toranomon Koffee

    Roppongi, Akasaka & Around

    Coffee making is treated as an exact science at this sleek stand in Toranomon Hills. Here you'll find gleaming espresso machines, test tubes of coffee…

  • Warrior Celt

    Ueno & Yanesen

    In business for over two decades, this authentic pub is the rare expat hang-out on the east side of town. There's live music most weekends and on some…

  • Glitch Coffee & Roasters

    Kōrakuen & Akihabara

    Tokyo's third-wave coffee scene is seeping into the old student haunt of Jimbōchō. The speciality here is single-origin beans, roasted very lightly in…

  • Cocktail Shobō

    Tokyo

    Cocktail Shobō is part used-book store, part cocktail bar, and 100% a labour of love, in a vintage wooden house where the bar counter doubles as a…

  • WWWβ

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    On some weekend nights, indie livehouse WWW goes into club mode, hosting appropriately indie DJs who play to the kind of fashionable Shibuya crowd that…

  • Kayaba Coffee

    Ueno & Yanesen

    This vintage 1930s coffee shop (the building is actually from the ’20s) in Yanaka is a hang-out for local students and artists. Come early before 11am to…

  • Blue Bottle Coffee

    Asakusa & Sumida River

    Hailing originally from Oakland, California, this third-wave coffee outfit has set up its main Tokyo roastery in the Kiyosumi area. Fuel up on an…

  • Ef

    Asakusa & Sumida River

    Set in a 19th-century wooden warehouse that beat the 1923 earthquake and WWII, this wonderfully cosy space serves coffee, tea and, after 6pm, cocktails…

  • Mother

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    Mother is a classic Shimo-Kitazawa bar with a soundtrack from the ’60s and ’70s and an undulating, womb-like interior covered in mosaic tile. It does…

  • Camera

    Asakusa & Sumida River

    This delightful cafe is combined with a boutique selling the quality leathergoods of Tamura Kosuke. There's good coffee and smoothies to go with some…

  • Nihonbashi Brewery T. S.

    Tokyo

    In a handy location near Tokyo Station, this contemporary-style craft-beer pub attracts groups of after-work office workers keeping it lively. There are…

  • Bear Pond Espresso

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    Bear Pond's thick syrupy 'angel stain' espresso (¥690) is considered holy grail by many. The owner only pulls a limited number before noon; lattes etc are…

  • Bousingot

    Ueno & Yanesen

    It's fitting that Yanaka, which refuses to trash the past, would have a bar that doubles as a used bookstore. Sure, the books are in Japanese but you can…

  • Ele Tokyo

    Roppongi, Akasaka & Around

    Dress to impress to gain entry to this bling-tastic, two-level dance club that's one of the classier late-night joints around Roppongi. It's always free…

  • Milonga Nueva

    Kōrakuen & Akihabara

    Off an alley parallel to Yasukuni-dōri, this wonderfully retro cafe plays old tango tunes on the sound system and serves blends such as Kilimanjaro coffee…

  • Art + Eat

    Tokyo

    This rustic cafe and art gallery is worth dropping by for a drink and a snack break if you're exploring the Agata Takezawa Building. As well as coffees,…

  • 'Cuzn Homeground

    Asakusa & Sumida River

    Run by a wild gang of local hippies, 'Cuzn is the kind of bar where anything can happen: a barbecue, a jam session or all-night karaoke, for example.

More destinations you need to see