Best DJ bars in Shibuya – updated

Whether you're into techno, house or jazz, there are plenty of DJ bars and event spaces to get a drink and maybe dance a little in Shibuya – every day of the week

By Kunihiro Miki and Mari Hiratsuka |
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デブリDebris
1/4
頭バー zubar
2/4
Sankeys PENTHOUSE
3/4
DEUS EX MACHINA
4/4

A night on the town in Tokyo is more about being able to choose the right place from a myriad of options rather than having a lack of options. If you're just looking for a drink, good music and perhaps a little dance, so-called DJ bars are your best bet. Smaller than full-on clubs but still featuring DJs on decks, they're cosy spots for whiling away the evening in style. Shibuya has a particularly impressive concentration of these little gems, so we've rounded up our faves – most of which are open at least six days a week. Who says partying is only for the weekends?

The top Shibuya DJ bars

Shopping

Deus Ex Machina Harajuku

Harajuku

The folks behind Australian apparel brand Deus Ex Machina have their fingers in many pies. To motorcycles, surfboards and records, they can now add this renovated Tokyo outpost, with its basement now a lively DJ bar. Its entire sound system is built with Japanese components, from Taguchi speakers to Alpha Recording System mixers. Every Thursday and Friday from 7pm, house and disco artists take the equipment for a ride...

Bars and pubs

Sankeys Penthouse

Harajuku

Manchester-born club franchise Sankeys has been a Tokyo fixture since 2015, and this bar and lounge is the latest link in a chain that also includes clubs in several UK cities and an outpost in Ibiza. Occupying the top floor of the Q Plaza building in Harajuku, the Penthouse boasts eye-popping views, in addition to a top-of-the-line Alpha Recording System and a VIP bar occasionally manned by a mixologist formerly employed by Ginza’s Tender. The programming is heavy on house, techno and new disco, with events centred on the weekends...

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Nightlife

Débris

Daikanyama

Established by the crew behind annual electronic music festival Zipang, Débris in Daikanyama puts on a wide range of events, from club nights to art exhibitions and film screenings. The interiors and sound system were built with the help of artists and other creatives who earned their stripes at Japanese outdoor festivals, and the result is a quirky crisscross of tastes and sensibilities...

Bars and pubs

Zubar

Shibuya

Formerly located between Ebisu and Shibuya, the much-loved miniature DJ bar Zubar has moved to the south side of Shibuya Station. A favourite with the underground crowd, its regulars include renowned Tokyo DJs and musicians, who come for the eclectic programming: you might hear electronica one night and kayokyoku (Showa-era Japanese pop) the other. Thankfully the Taiwanese flavours on the food menu have also been retained, so you can make rapturous noises after trying their minced pork rice, boiled gyoza dumplings and other delicacies...

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Bars and pubs

DJ Bar Bridge

Shibuya

Movers and shakers from Global Hearts, the folks behind Shibuya clubs Vision and Contact, moved boldly in opening this shiny spot on the top floor of an office building right in front of Shibuya Station. The spectacular views are combined with a lengthy list of residents, including Tokyo scene veterans Nori and Toshiyuki Goto, who spin tunes on weekdays too...

okamabu
Bars and pubs, Café bars

Bar Music

Shibuya

Owned by DJ Tomoaki Nakamura, this bar features everything from jazz to Brazilian music, along with a great selection of wine. The owner's aim was to create a place where you'd be able to listen to both new faves and golden oldies that feel equally relevant. On certain nights you'll find local spinner Calm behind the decks...

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Clubs

The Room

Shibuya

The Room is well hidden, so look for a red street light poking out from the basement. Owned by members of Kyoto Jazz Massive, it’s a small venue split in two: one half is a concrete-walled bar, the other a pitch-black dancefloor. The flavour is usually house, jazz, crossover or breakbeats, with live sets being held on weekdays. Top DJs sometimes come here to try out new sets on their nights off...

Bars and pubs, Café bars

Café Apres-Midi

Harajuku

A Shibuya golden oldie: not many places in this fast-changing bit of town can lay claim to that title, but Café Apres-Midi can. Opened during the area's original café boom, it's owned by Toru Hashimoto (no, not the Osaka mayor of old), a DJ known for his slightly free spirit and selection of compilation CDs. The cosy interior manages to fit both a countertop bar and sofas, with antique furniture and unobtrusive lighting...

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Nightlife, Late-night bars

Aoyama Tunnel

Aoyama

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 here: club stamina. You're bound to bump into an interesting mix of regulars, club-happy locals and out-of-towners here... If you need a change, just pop upstairs to Red Bar, which is located in the space vacated by popular club Oath.

Nightlife, Late-night bars

Koara

Shibuya

This DJ bar in the backstreets of Jinnan is known for hosting the occasional secret set from big-name spinners. No matter who is playing the small dance floor, 20 is a crowd here, meaning more enthusiastic foot tapping and less aggressive booty-shaking. The capital’s audiophiles praise Koara’s sound system as one of the finest in town – hear it for yourself on the weekend, when up-and-coming locals usually take charge of proceedings...

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