Bars

Your guide to bars and drinking in Tokyo. Find the best places for beer, cocktails, wine, sake and more

Best bars in Golden Gai
Bars and pubs

Best bars in Golden Gai

The atmospheric alleyways at Golden Gai in Shinjuku are crammed with countless little bars of varied themes – perfect for a night of bar-hopping

Best art bars in Tokyo
Bars and pubs

Best art bars in Tokyo

These bars and restaurants also double up as a gallery of sorts, serving up cool art alongside food and drinks

Best lesbian bars in Shinjuku Ni-chome
Bars and pubs

Best lesbian bars in Shinjuku Ni-chome

For a girls' night out, head to these top lesbian bars in Shinjuku Ni-chome, Tokyo's LGBTQ+ neighbourhood

Best bars in Tokyo
Bars and pubs

Best bars in Tokyo

Find the top bars in Time Out's ultimate guide to drinking in Tokyo: from craft beer and wine to sake and cocktails

Best music bars in Tokyo
Nightlife

Best music bars in Tokyo

A laidback drinking experience, music bars are known for their curated playlists and extensive vinyl collections

Bars of the week

Another 8
Bars and pubs

Another 8

The sister shop of Kyoto-based craft beer and sake bar Before 9, Another 8 landed in the capital in April 2017, opening in posh Meguro in a space that used to be a garage. A place for laidback drinking, it’s got tables and benches both inside and out front, in addition to a stand bar that tends to get very crowded on weekends. Although beer is the speciality at Another 8 – the place is equipped with eight taps – there is also a small but very nice selection of sake. The bar snacks are pretty good too – we’re big fans of the marinated octopus and celery, while those looking for something more substantial will want to try the shirasu (whitebait) and daikon omelette.

Mixology Salon
Bars and pubs

Mixology Salon

Specialising in what they call ‘teatails’, Mixology Salon’s signature cocktails are all made with its house blend of tea-infused spirits

Premium Sake Pub Gashue
Bars and pubs

Premium Sake Pub Gashue

Gashue in Ueno aims to make sake appreciation easier for beginners and especially tourists...

Grandfather's
Bars and pubs

Grandfather's

Established 40 years ago, the aptly named Grandfather’s started out with a playlist style that was uncommon at the time, blending together rock LPs one song at a time. Today, the tunes are a selection of popular music (mainly AOR and funk and soul) from the ’70s, when vinyl records were mainstream. However, the owner is constantly on the lookout for new music and if a modern artist wins his favour they’ll get some ‘airtime’ too. (We recently heard him spin a few tracks by Joss Stone and Rumer.) After all these years, the interior is still well maintained, giving off a rich ambience that’s appropriate for such a venerable bar and that lends an extra level of charm to the music.

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

Sakestand Shibuya
Bars and pubs

Sakestand Shibuya

This narrow, standing-only bar hidden away on the second floor on a side street off Dogenzaka is a little gem for those looking to immerse themselves in the wonderful world of sake

More bar reviews

More bars in Tokyo

Best Tokyo bars with a view
Bars and pubs

Best Tokyo bars with a view

Get a taste of the high life at these fine establishments

Best gin bars in Tokyo
Bars and pubs

Best gin bars in Tokyo

The gin revival has hit Tokyo. Here are the best bars in the city for a gin-tastic evening

Best cocktail bars in Tokyo
Bars and pubs

Best cocktail bars in Tokyo

Whether you fancy a classic drink or the kind of creative concoction you’d only ever find in Tokyo, these cocktail bars are the best in the city

Best tourist-friendly gay bars in Shinjuku Ni-chome
LGBTQ+

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.

Best one-coin bars in Tokyo
Bars and pubs

Best one-coin bars in Tokyo

Forget happy hours with their pesky time restrictions, these cheap ‘one-coin’ bars serve drinks for just ¥500 or less all night long

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

Food and drink news and events

Yebisu Beer Festival
Things to do

Yebisu Beer Festival

A major beer brand in Japan, Yebisu has its legion of loyal fans who love its rich and toasty aroma...

Matcha Beer Garden
Restaurants

Matcha Beer Garden

It’s matcha all the way at this beer garden, run by green tea restaurant 1899 in Ochanomizu...

Matcha Hi Festival
Things to do

Matcha Hi Festival

We’ve seen plenty of beer gardens and lemon sour festivals draw huge crowds with budget-friendly boozy concoctions and food trucks for snack pairings, but this matcha highball fest is a first. Organisers are convinced the matcha highball will become the next lemon sour, a drink that goes well with any kind of meal and something you can easily down before ordering another round. Seeing as the ‘Matcha Hi’ is two of Japan’s most popular beverages combined into one, it’s almost surprising that it’s not a bigger trend. Nonetheless, try spending an afternoon here and you might just find it’s your new go-to drink! 

Best beer gardens and events in Tokyo
Bars and pubs

Best beer gardens and events in Tokyo

Cool down with a cold pint at the city's top beer gardens and festivals