Bars & Nightlife

All the best Tokyo bars, clubs and nightlife news

Top five club gigs in Tokyo this weekend
Nightlife

Top five club gigs in Tokyo this weekend

Our pick of the very best parties in and around the big city

Life under the tracks
Nightlife

Life under the tracks

Tokyo’s newfound fascination with eateries, bars and artsy spaces under elevated railway tracks is paying off big time

Five fine yakushu bars in Tokyo
Bars and pubs

Five fine yakushu bars in Tokyo

Can you really drink yourself better? Meet ‘medicinal liquor’, Tokyo’s latest booze fad

Meet the bar beauties
Bars and pubs

Meet the bar beauties

A new generation of women bartenders is shaking up Tokyo’s cocktail scene

Latest bar reviews

Plat Stand Moto
Bars and pubs

Plat Stand Moto

Great sake at great prices is the simple rallying cry at Plat Stand Moto, which has become an essential destination for nihonshu fans in Kichijoji since opening in spring 2013. An offshoot of Shinjuku’s famed Moto, a well-known shrine to Japan’s best-known native beverage, it has undergone quite a few changes during the past four years. The initial self-service, cash on delivery concept was ditched first, and a recent renovation saw the stand bar abolished entirely – despite its name, this spot is now an all-seater with space for just under 20 drinkers. That’s not to say any of its charm has been lost, as evidenced by the steady stream of sake enthusiasts stopping by throughout the day, every day.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Craft & Romance
Bars and pubs

Craft & Romance

How the fortunes have changed for Kichijoji's beer-guzzlers: last year in spring, the area had no casually accessible craft brew bars, and by the end of this March, you'll be able to choose from at least four specialist watering holes offering competent selections of suds. The biggest names among said boozers are the local branch of Craft Beer Market, opened late last summer, and Yona Yona Beer Works, but we're willing to bet that fellow newbie Craft & Romance will be giving those two more than a run for their money. Sitting pretty on the top floor of a recently completed building on the south side of the station, this handsome spot charms with an almost laughably polished interior – marble counters, really? – but gets right down to business with the brew offerings. The whopping 30 beers (and one cider) on tap range from domestic favourites (Minoh, Aqula, Swan Lake, Shiga Kogen) to imports from California and Oregon, while our visit also saw a couple of Belgian beers and a house original brewed by Shizuoka's Baird. All beers are ¥500 for a 250ml glass and ¥800 for a US pint – almost identical to Craft Beer Market's pricing. The food menu makes for another strong showing, with the thin but amply topped pizzas particularly well worth consideration. Carnivores, meanwhile, will want to go for some horse steak tartare or the charcuterie platter.  Our first stop here saw unpolished service – misplaced orders, register trouble – but most of those wrinkles had already been ironed o

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
One Heart
Bars and pubs

One Heart

When the dust settles after a long work week, Kayabacho’s armies of office workers redeploy themselves back to the suburbs – except for those in-the-know salarymen and ‘office ladies’ who head to One Heart, the area’s best-supported backstreet wine bar. Occupying two floors in a narrow, recently renovated building close to the station, it maintains the atmosphere of a little-known hideout, with close quarters, lack of natural light and warmly welcoming staff. Meanwhile, its popularity means reservations are recommended, although groups of two or three can usually slip in without a booking. The wine list is concise and strictly curated, with the standard glass offerings (all ¥600) consisting of one red, two whites and one rosé choice per evening. Our visit saw a mix of New and Old World varieties, with a French organic Gamay and a Sauvignon Blanc from NZ’s Sileni especially attention-grabbing. However, the real attraction here is the domestic plonk, delivered straight from Yamanashi wineries and pumped from barrels into impressively clunky glasses – in amounts defying the ¥650 price tag. There’s no risk of leaving hungry, either: in addition to the popular Segovian jamón serrano (dry-cured ham), the menu is stacked with both meat and seafood bistro fare, from foie gras to baby squid, with most varieties costing around ¥700 per plate. A no-frills spot devoid of snobbery, One Heart satisfies both newbies and seasoned wine lovers with its straightforward approach. It’s the kind

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Isari Juu Hachiban
Bars and pubs

Isari Juu Hachiban

Make sure you book ahead for dinner at this popular spot, especially at weekends. A ¥500 cover charge is imposed in the evening to further discourage the hordes, but still they keep coming. The reason? A lively spot with big portions of tasty food that’s just a couple of minutes’ walk from Shibuya's Scramble Crossing. It takes a bit of finding, mind; a dark wooden sign in kanji is fixed to the second floor exterior, and entrance is by an elevator so tiny you’d not force a battery chicken into it. But do slip into a shared table to enjoy the seafood dishes from an extensive menu, also available in English. We skipped the ‘shark gristle with pickled plum paste’ this time in favour of the roasted tuna cheek (¥680), filleted and spread on a long plate, big enough for two to share. Better still was the deep-fried silken tofu (¥400), a huge portion buried under dried bonito shavings. Be warned that smoking here is the norm, and even a cup of oolong tea will set you back ¥350. Lunch sets are better value, nearly all in the ¥600-¥1,000 range. Home-spun, but fun.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
More bar reviews

The best bars and nightlife in Tokyo

Meet the masters
Bars and pubs

Meet the masters

Have your drink mixed by some of Tokyo's true bartending greats

The best Tokyo bars with a view
Bars and pubs

The best Tokyo bars with a view

Get a taste of the high life at these fine establishments

Alternative after-dark activities
Nightlife

Alternative after-dark activities

Try a booze cruise or the 'samurai pleasure boat'

Top music bars in Tokyo
Nightlife

Top music bars in Tokyo

Turn your evening tipple into something more soulful

Best bars in Tokyo
Bars and pubs

Best bars in Tokyo

The best places for cocktails, craft beer, wine, sake and more

Top 10 brewpubs around Tokyo
Bars and pubs

Top 10 brewpubs around Tokyo

The finest places serving homemade beer, in and out of the city

Top Tokyo clubs

Circus
Clubs

Circus

Taking over the space vacated by long-running underground haunt Amate-Raxi, which closed down in August after eight years in Shibuya, Circus is already generating buzz on the Tokyo club scene. Early lineup details have been released, and things are certainly looking promising: Mule Music's Cats party is moving here from Daikanyama's Air, while Massive Attack's Daddy G and Italian spinner Mr Ties will be among the first international guests. Open October 2, 2015

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.

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.

Oath
Clubs

Oath

With drinks for ¥500, an impressive sound system and a normal closing time of 8am on weekends, there are only two words to describe what you need to survive a night at Oath: club stamina.

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
See more clubs in Tokyo