Bars and clubs in Tokyo
The highballs at Star Bar will knock your socks off, PCM offers an unmatched array of microbrews and Peter, the bar at the Peninsula Tokyo hotel, is perfect for a classy evening out. That said, Golden Gai in Shinjuku will always be Tokyo’s legendary drinking quarter.
Made up of winding alleys, Golden Gai is home to more than 200 bars and eateries, but be prepared to get up close and personal – most only seat a handful of people at a time. Carrot bar [no website]is a favourite for its friendly vibe and laid-back Japanese rock soundtrack, Bali bar [no website]errs on the tropical with its imported beers, mojitos and cocktails and Bar Plastic Model offer vintage flair with its ’80s and ’90s Japanese records.
For a more up-tempo evening head to one of Tokyo’s hottest clubs. Air promises internationally renowned DJs, while Womb is not only home to Toyko’s house, techno and drum ’n’ bass scensters, but Asia’s largest mirror ball. The most renowned dance spots, however, have got to be Liquidroom, which has gained global acclaim, and AgeHa, a four-storey club with a swimming pool to boot.
There are several new clubs on the scene that have already carved their name into Toyko club life. Sound Museum Vision, which opened in 2011, sports a bone-rattling sound system on its hip hop and techno club nights, and both 0 Zero and Double Toyko opened in 2013. The former is home to veteran spinners DJ Nori and Wada while the latter offers VIP seating, private rooms and an EDM-centric music policy.
If you’re more in the mood for a really good gig, check out the line-up at Club Quattro, where Grimes, Jake Bugg and Savages have already taken to the stage for intimate performances. Alternatively, get on the other end of the mic at Lovenet in Roppongi where you can eat, drink and perform karaoke in one of its opulent suites – there’s even an option to warble away from the comfort of your private hot tub.
Bars and club venue details
Star BarNaritaya Bild 6F, 3-7-13 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo. 0120-000-58
PCM – Pub Cardinal Marunouchi 1F Sony Building, 5-3-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo. 03 3573 0011.
Peter1-8-1 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. 03 6270 2763.
Carrot 1-1-6, Kabukicho, Shinjuku.
Bali1-1-7, Kabukicho, Shinjuku.
Bar Plastic ModelGround floor, 1-1-10, Kabukicho, Shinjuku. 03-5273-8441.
AirHikawa Bldg B1F-B2F, 2-11 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo. 03 5784 3386.
Womb 2-16 Maruyamacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo. 03 5459 0039.
Liquidroom 3-16-6 Higashi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo. 03 5464 0800.
AgeHa2-2-10 Shinkiba, Koto-ku, Tokyo. 03 5534 2525.
Sound Museum Vision 2-10-7 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo. 03 5728 2824.
0 Zero B1F, 2-9-13 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo. 03 3797 9933.
Double Tokyo B1F/B2F Thesaurus Nishi Azabu, 1-10-11 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo. 03 6434 5544.
Club Quattro 5F, 32-13-4 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo. 03 3477 8750.
Lovenet Hotel Ibis 3F, 4F, 7-14-4 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo. 106-003203-5771-5511.
LGBT bars and clubs in Tokyo
Shinjuku Ni-chome is at the heart of Tokyo’s LBGT nightlife. A rabbit’s warren of bars and clubs, the district welcomes crowds of well-to-do clientele during the day before opening its doors to revellers throughout the night.
New Sazae is a ’60s relic and isst ill regularly full of disco divas. A gay-and-straight-friendly joint, it’s particularly popular with gaisen – Japanese guys who prefer to hook up with foreigners and vice versa. Expect vintage chic, cross-dressing and dancing till you drop.
A new addition to the scene is Campy! Bar which lies on the main street of Shinjuku Ni-chome and extends a warm welcome to all. Let the glamorous, sultry and comedic drag queens wait on you and muse on the eye-candy bar-staff (several of whom have starred on the front pages of gay magazines). Alternatively, lesbians will love the laser-lit dance floor and low drinks prices at Bar A-Un where club night Kimbianca Group has proven particularly popular.
For a bigger venue (and a bigger dance floor), head to Aisotope Lounge, the largest club in Ni-chome. With two floors, themed bars and regular Queen’s Lounge club nights, this trendy venue is a great option any day of the week. Kusuo, another large club, is a well-established favourite, with club nights, karaoke and even tango and square-dancing lessons – ladies beware: you will have to pay an extra 500 yen for your first drink.
LGBT bars and clubs venue details
New Sazae2F, 2-18-5 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku. 03 3354 1745.
Campy! Bar 2-13-10 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. 03-6273-2154.
Aisotope Lounge 2-12-6 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. 03 6380 1504.
Kusuo 1 Sunflower Bldg 3F, 2-17-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. 03 3354 5050.
Bar A-UnTaraku Bldg 3F, 2-14-16 Shinjuku, Shinjuku. 070 6612 9014.