Bars & Nightlife

All the best Tokyo bars, clubs and nightlife news

Best casual bars in Tokyo
Bars and pubs

Best casual bars in Tokyo

There's more to Tokyo's bar scene than the serious, formal bars of Ginza. Talk, laugh and just be yourself at these lively and cool bars

Best all-you-can-drink deals at Tokyo hotels – updated
Bars and pubs

Best all-you-can-drink deals at Tokyo hotels – updated

Treat yourself to a nomihodai experience with these drink plans that offer free-flow champagne, wine, cocktails and more

Best craft beer bars in Tokyo
Bars and pubs

Best craft beer bars in Tokyo

Great Tokyo beer bars for microbrew enthusiasts

The best Tokyo bars with a view
Bars and pubs

The best Tokyo bars with a view

These bars offer spectacular night-time views, ranging from classic skyscraper vistas to offbeat perspectives, and are accessible even to thrifty boozers on the hunt for a little luxury

Best things to do on a summer night in Tokyo
Things to do

Best things to do on a summer night in Tokyo

Make the most of those warm nights in the city with our essential list of top things to do in summer after dark

Bars of the week

Bar Benfiddich
Bars and pubs

Bar Benfiddich

When we visit Bar BenFiddich, Hiroyasu Kayama gives us an unusual souvenir: a bag of dried senburi root (pictured above on the left of the bar counter), a virulently bitter herb that’s normally used to relieve indigestion. ‘I’ve got loads of this stuff sitting around,’ he says, as he grinds a section of root with some red wine, brandy, orange peel and an array of spices to create his own version of amaro, the potent Italian digestif. When a regular customer comes in, Kayama whips out a vintage bottle of Suze that he just bought online – ‘it’s from the ’30s or ’40s’ – and invites him to do a taste test. A first-time visitor’s question about making the perfect gin and tonic leads to a lengthy discussion about the surface temperature of ice cubes. He’s like the hippest chemistry teacher we never had. ‘Oh, I wasn’t into science at high school,’ he says. ‘I was too busy playing baseball.’ Kayama opened BenFiddich in 2013, after working for years as the head bartender at Nishi-Azabu mixology bar Amber. It’s given him free rein to pursue a longstanding interest in traditional elixirs and herbal liquors, often using ingredients – anise, fennel, wormwood – grown on his family’s plot in Chichibu, Saitama. The bar has an impressive whisky selection too, but Kayama’s apothecary style cocktails are the main attraction. Jars of spices and housemade infusions line the shelves behind the counter, and he’s as likely to prepare your drink with a pestle and mortar as a cocktail shaker. He wa

YYG Brewery & Beer Kitchen
Bars and pubs

YYG Brewery & Beer Kitchen

Just down the road from the famed Shin Udon, this casual brewery/gastropub is a great place to wind down from the intensity of Shinjuku

Bar Oak
Bars and pubs

Bar Oak

Hotel bars usually aren't very inspiring places, especially if you're not staying at the establishment in question. But the Tokyo Station Hotel's boozer sure isn't like most hotel bars: moved to its current location after a six-year renovation completed in 2012, it incorporates red bricks and wood in the décor and is manned by Hisashi Sugimoto, who's been with the hotel since 1958. 'The Master' mixes up his signature Tokyo Station cocktails from 5pm every day – best be there on time for the chance to grab a counter seat and watch Sugimoto work his magic up close.

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Bar la Hulotte
Bars and pubs

Bar la Hulotte

A trifecta of rough stone, warm wood and faint light welcomes the thirsty to Hulotte – 'owl' in French – an Azabu watering hole that regularly appears in flashy bar features praising its unique atmosphere. But this is no trendy date spot – far from it. It's much better suited to lone imbibers, who are prepared to make the hike from Azabu-Juban Station for the chance to sit quietly, sample a fine cigar and sip on a cocktail mixed up by Hulotte's master bartender, a veteran of Aoyama's extraordinary Radio. There is a seat for two at the very end of the room, but you'd probably have to come here at least a dozen times before they let you use it...

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The best bars and nightlife in Tokyo

Best things to do in Asakusa after dark
Nightlife

Best things to do in Asakusa after dark

Traditionally a sedate spot, Tokyo’s most touristy neighbourhood is getting used to staying up way past midnight

Best things to do in Ginza after dark
Nightlife

Best things to do in Ginza after dark

What do you do in Tokyo's shopping mecca after all the stores have closed for the night? We discover a different side to Ginza from dusk to dawn

Guide to Monzen-Nakacho
Nightlife

Guide to Monzen-Nakacho

Located just one station away from hipster epicentre Kiyosumi-Shirakawa, known as Tokyo’s coffee central and home of the capital’s first Blue Bottle location, Monzen-Nakacho is considerably more down to earth than its lofty neighbour. An integral part of the capital’s ‘shitamachi’ (old downtown), it retains an Edo-era (1603-1868) atmosphere thanks to the storied Tomioka Hachiman Shrine and Fukagawa Fudoson Temple and the plethora of eateries and shops that have been around since the olden days. Monzen-Nakacho (locals call it ‘Mon-Naka’) really comes into its own when night falls and the countless izakayas and small restaurants open, filling the air with tipsy chatter and smoke from charcoal grills. This is heaven for the budget-conscious drinker – if you know where to head, that is. Here are our picks.

Best bars and restaurants at OK Yokocho in Akabane
Bars and pubs

Best bars and restaurants at OK Yokocho in Akabane

This alleyway in north Tokyo features 30 bars and restaurants, ranging from seafood joints to wine bars and izakaya

The best Tokyo bars for drinking alone
Bars and pubs

The best Tokyo bars for drinking alone

Where to go when you need a moment for yourself – and a finely crafted classic cocktail

Best tourist-friendly gay bars in Shinjuku Ni-chome
LGBT

Best tourist-friendly gay bars in Shinjuku Ni-chome

Whether it be dancing the night away at a club or drinking and meeting new people in a tiny dive bar, Shinjuku Ni-chome offers some of the best nights out in Tokyo. No matter if you’re straight, gay or non-binary, the capital’s LGBT hub will deliver. If you want to experience one of the best parts of Japanese bar culture – talking with and being entertained by the staff – but don’t quite know where to head for English-friendly banter, these five bars will fit the bill.

Top Tokyo clubs

Vent
Clubs

Vent

Opened back in late 2016, basement club Vent has defied expectations and become a regular stalwart in Tokyo's club scene. Their 'revolutionary' speaker system and a bold attitude to bookings have worked a treat, with an eclectic line-up of European headliners, local DJ talent, and everything in between drawing the crowds without making it feel overhyped. 

Ageha
Clubs

Ageha

The biggest club in Tokyo, Ageha suffers from a far-flung location and dimensions that can feel a bit too cavernous. It offers three dancefloors, a pool area, numerous bars and chill-out spaces, and the best sound system in town. Women should check out the cubicle nearest to the toilet entrance – it leads to a secret, lockable room. The club provides a free bus from Shibuya every half hour. Board at the bottom of Roppongi Dori; you’ll need photo ID featuring your birth date to be allowed on.

Contact
Clubs

Contact

Labelled the spiritual successor of Yellow, Eleven and Air, the latest venture by Tokyo club scene champions Global Hearts provides much-needed relief for the city's more discerning friends of electronic tunes. The medium-sized space, in a basement on Shibuya's Dogenzaka, consists of a dancefloor and bar area, and is poised to offer a stage to both international visitors and local stars.

Sound Museum Vision
Clubs

Sound Museum Vision

Space Lab Yellow's short-lived resurrection as Eleven aside, it seemed for a good few years that the Tokyo club scene wouldn't be getting any new venues that were any larger than a shoebox. That changed in late 2011, with the opening of this 1,500-capacity space in Shibuya – run by Global Hearts, the folks behind Daikanyama club Air. Sound Museum Vision spreads the action across four rooms, the largest of which, Gaia, has a sound system loud enough to make your teeth rattle. Regular club nights include the Classics (hip hop), Alien Radio (techno) and Girls Festival, in which all ladies get in for free.

Bar Bonobo
Clubs

Bar Bonobo

Found on a Harajuku back street not far from Jingu Stadium, Bonobo occupies an old two-storey house with a rooftop terrace. The ground-floor bar is complemented by a DJ booth and lounge upstairs, which is where the frequent gigs and other music events take place.

Womb
Music

Womb

Womb is a top-flight club with a vast dancefloor, great lighting, a super-bass sound system and what claims to be ‘Asia’s largest mirror ball’. House, techno and drum ’n’ bass are the usual sounds here. Womb’s schedule is packed with foreign names, but DJ Aki (drum ’n’ bass) is one local hero who plays here.

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