Bars & Nightlife

All the best Tokyo bars, clubs and nightlife news

Where to drink hot sake in Tokyo
Bars and pubs

Where to drink hot sake in Tokyo

Hot sake is a perfect antidote to the winter cold, and you can sip on some to warm up at these sake bars

Interview: DJ Nobu
Music

Interview: DJ Nobu

World-acclaimed DJ Nobu on how to save Japan’s club scene

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 things to do in Asakusa after dark
Nightlife

Best things to do in Asakusa after dark

Tokyo’s most touristy neighbourhood is getting used to staying up way past midnight

Best craft beer bars in Tokyo
Bars and pubs

Best craft beer bars in Tokyo

Great Tokyo beer bars for microbrew enthusiasts

Nightlife events

Solid 6 1/2's Reunion Show
Music

Solid 6 1/2's Reunion Show

One of Tokyo's favourite homegrown punk bands, Solid 6 1/2's is coming to Koenji's Sound Studio Dom for a reunion show...

Japanese Tea Cocktail Experience
Bars and pubs

Japanese Tea Cocktail Experience

The SG Club Full Moon series presents a night of roasting, blending and umami-rich Japanese tea cocktails...

Ginza Theatrical Night Tour
Things to do

Ginza Theatrical Night Tour

Ginza is not just a shopping district. There's a different scene to this glitzy 'hood after the sun goes down and this night tour aims to let you experience a lively evening in Ginza...

Wiggle Room presents Sandrien & Anastasia Kristensen
Nightlife

Wiggle Room presents Sandrien & Anastasia Kristensen

The Wiggle Room is bringing together two hits from the European techno scene – Anastasia Kristensen and DJ Sandrien – to Shibuya's underground club, Contact...

Bars of the week

The SG Club
Nightlife

The SG Club

Named for its legendary bartender, Shingo Gokan, The SG Club takes its cocktails extremely seriously...

Tokyo Whisky Library
Bars and pubs

Tokyo Whisky Library

Anyone not very familiar with but willing to learn more about whisky best head straight to this Aoyama hideout...

Ishinohana
Bars and pubs

Ishinohana

Seasonal cocktails are the speciality at Ishinohana, Shibuya's answer to the high-end cocktail bars of Ginza. At a basement location just a minute's walk from Shibuya Station, owner Shinobu Ishigaki wields an array of fresh fruit and vegetables when creating his distinctive drinks: a gin and tonic is enlivened with kumquat, a margherita gets an injection of housemade cassis confiture. There are entire menus devoted just to mojitos and martinis, plus a sizeable list of originals including Ishigaki's award-winning Claudia (martini with pineapple juice and caramel syrup) and Polar Star (aquavit, apple syrup and lemon juice). The quality is generally very high indeed, and first-time visitors should find the atmosphere considerably less intimidating than at Ginza's bartending temples.

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...

Star Bar Ginza
Bars and pubs

Star Bar Ginza

Kishi's kingdom is called Star Bar, a quiet basement spot on Namiki-dori, where everything – from the handcrafted ice cubes to the exclusive leather stools – exudes a desire for perfection.

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

More bar reviews

The best bars and nightlife 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

Guide to Harmonica Yokocho
Restaurants

Guide to Harmonica Yokocho

The best alleyway restaurants and bars at Harmonica Yokocho in Kichijoji

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

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 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 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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