The six best happy hours in Ni-chome
Set off from the main road, Gold Finger is focused on women, with their Saturday-night events admitting only ladies. During the week, however, they open their doors to everyone and you're likely to end up sharing drinks – and singing karaoke – with people from all over the world. The bartenders, who are all female, will serve you two drinks for ¥1,000 between 6pm and 8pm from Monday to Friday.
With its cosy Irish pub atmosphere and friendly staff, Paddy’s Junction is a welcome respite from the dark and loud bars of Ni-chome. The pub is tucked away off the main street and boasts alfresco seating as well as a large indoor space where they host international mixer parties. Paddy’s also offers open-mic karaoke on Fridays and is decked with an 80-inch screen for sports fans. Their happy hour runs Monday to Saturday from 5pm to 7pm, with 50 percent off on all cocktails.
Set in a large space on the edge of Ni-chome, Dragon Men’s dancefloor gets packed at the weekends. The friendly crowd is a mix of Japanese and foreign men and women. As for the happy hour, it runs all week long: from Monday to Thursday, 6pm to 8pm, you get ¥200 off all drinks; from Friday to Sunday, the fun lasts until 9pm. In addition, Sunday also features Dragon’s famed Beer/Cocktail/Wine Blast, which is an all-you-can-drink special for just ¥1,000.
On busy nights, you'll be welcomed by Aiiro's motley crew of revellers – young, old, gay, straight, male and female – spilling out onto the bustling street under the red torii gate that guards its entrance. Aiiro provides a perfect vantage point to indulge in some people watching as the curious characters of the night emerge for their nocturnal stroll out on the main street. Aiiro's all-you-can-drink beer blast, offered daily from 6pm to 9pm for ¥1,000, makes it the perfect place to start a fun-packed night in Ni-chome.
Alamas Café sits right on the main street opposite the famous Shrine Mart convenience store. This relaxed Southeast Asian bar has a great vibe thanks to its ever-changing DJ sets and cool wooden interior where drag queens mill about the crowd. Alamas also serves nibbles from ¥400 alongside its wide selection of cocktails. Happy hour draws the crowds daily from 6pm to 9pm offering drinks for ¥500.
Ni-chome has its big bars full of people but the best places are usually hidden away and can accommodate only a few customers. Easily overlooked in a building packed with bars is MofuMofu, a quaint spot themed after the band Momoclo (perhaps explained by the fact that its owner Mo-Co is a member of a Momoclo drag tribute act). Its friendly staff have a knack for creating an intimate atmosphere over small talk with their customers, numbering no more than a dozen at a time. The bar offers free karaoke and an all-you-can-drink happy hour from Monday to Saturday between 8pm and 10pm for ¥2,000.