Bars & Nightlife

All the best Tokyo bars, clubs and nightlife news

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

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 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 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 craft beer bars in Tokyo
Bars and pubs

Best craft beer bars in Tokyo

Great Tokyo beer bars for microbrew enthusiasts

Bars of the week

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.

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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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