Must-see nightlife in Tokyo

  • Close up of the entrance to Manpuku Shokudo with traditiona 'noren' (door curtains), Marunouchi & Nihombashi

    Manpuku Shokudō


    Down your beer or sake as trains rattle overhead on the tracks that span Harumi-dōri at Yūrakuchō. This convivial izakaya (Japanese pub-eatery), plastered…

  • Cafe on the grounds of Meiji-jingu, Harajuku & Aoyama.

    Mori no Terrace

    Harajuku & Aoyama

    Glass-fronted cafe with indoor and outdoor seating on the path to Meiji-jingū. Good for a coffee break; they also serve ice cream.

  • Pasela Resorts

    Roppongi, Akasaka & Around

    With decor that is a cut above the other yodelling parlours, Pasela offers six floors of karaoke rooms (including swanky VIP suites), an extensive…

  • Bar Zingaro


    Oddly, this cafe inside Nakano Broadway from well-known artist provocateur Takashi Murakami has zero shock value. It just serves really good coffee from…

  • Karaoke-kan

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    This branch of a generic national karaoke chain was immortalised as a location in the film Lost in Translation. Another draw: the rack of costumes in the…

  • Ren

    Shinjuku & Northwest Tokyo

    This over-the-top lounge bar is from the same people behind the equally over-the-top Robot Restaurant, and is in the same building; enter around the back…

  • Good Beer Faucets

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    Good Beer Faucets has 40 shiny taps and a changing line-up of beers that includes some Japanese craft brews. The interior is chrome and concrete, and not…

  • Ruby Room

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    This tiny, sparkly gem of a cocktail lounge hosts both DJs and live-music events, with attractively low cover charges (around ¥1500) and sometimes none at…

  • Downstairs Coffee

    Roppongi, Akasaka & Around

    Streamer Coffee Company provides the gourmet joe for this spacious cafe with free wi-fi, big shared tables and a view onto the attached Mercedes Benz…

  • Komatsu Bar

    Ginza & Tsukiji

    Look for the wood and frosted-glass door to enter this gent's-club-like bar. It has a mismatched range of comfy chairs, dark corners and an old…

  • Ryōgoku Terrace Cafe

    Asakusa & Sumida River

    Beside a lovely Edo-period garden and near the sumo stadium, this all-day cafe is a pleasant spot for a soft drink during the day or a cocktail (¥550) or…

  • Montoak

    Harajuku & Aoyama

    This tinted-glass cube is a calm, dimly lit retreat from the busy streets. It’s perfect for holing up with a pot of tea and watching the crowds go by. Or,…

  • Sound Museum Vision

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    Vision is huge – by Tokyo standards – with four dance floors and room for 1000. Each room plays something different, be it house, hip-hop, EDM or J-pop,…

  • AKB48 Cafe

    Kōrakuen & Akihabara

    Can't get a ticket to see the 60-strong supergirl pop-group AKB48? Come instead to their official cafe to watch videos of the J-pop phenomenon play on…

  • Bul.Let’s

    Roppongi, Akasaka & Around

    This mellow space plays worldwide trance and ambient sounds for barefoot patrons. Mattresses in the middle of the floor provide refuge from the madding…

  • Beer Bar Bitter

    Kōrakuen & Akihabara

    This Kagurazaka hideaway has a wide range of Belgian beers on tap (from ¥800 to ¥2600 a glass) and a moody, industrial interior. Look for it above a…

  • Araku

    Shinjuku & Northwest Tokyo

    Downright spacious for Golden Gai, always friendly Araku has a sofa and is particularly good if you're hanging out in a group. The ¥700 cover charge is…

  • Boo

    Kōrakuen & Akihabara

    This quirky little place shares space with Studio Uamou and the cartoonish characters of designer Takagi Ayako. On the menu are beer, teas and light pasta…

  • Ehukai Beach

    Odaiba & Tokyo Bay

    Stand for hot dogs (¥550), chips (¥250) and beer (can/draft ¥350/550) with terrace seating on the edge of the bay at Odaiba Kaihin-kōen.

  • Nezu Café

    Harajuku & Aoyama

    This glass jewel box from architect Kengo Kuma sits prettily in the landscaped garden on the grounds of the Nezu Museum. Coffee is ¥650.

  • Craft Beer Market Jimbōchō

    Kōrakuen & Akihabara

    This branch of the Craft Beer microbrewery chain, with some 30 ales available, specialises in roast chicken on its food menu.

  • Craft Beer Market Toranomon

    Roppongi, Akasaka & Around

    Branch of the microbrew-pub Craft Beer Market with over 30 craft beers on tap (including obscure Japanese brews).

  • Craft Beer Market Awajichō

    Kōrakuen & Akihabara

    Pizza is the speciality at this branch of the Craft Beer pub chain, where there are some 30 ales available.

  • A to Z Cafe

    Harajuku & Aoyama

    Artist Yoshitomo Nara (known for his portraits of punkish tots) and design firm Graf teamed up in the mid-aughts to create this cafe with wooden…

  • The Canteen

    Odaiba & Tokyo Bay

    On the ground floor of an office building, this contemporary design cafe serves up coffee and lunch specials (from ¥900) in a colourful, relaxed setting.

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