Tokyo gets a bit of reputation for being an expensive city to visit, but in a lot of respects that reputation is rather unjustified. Generally, food is cheap, and drinking is even cheaper, but you just need to know where to look. From bars to clubs to regular BYO-style parties, here are some places fit for partying on the cheap in Tokyo.
Coins Bar, Shibuya
It’s called Coins Bar because you can well and truly get your fill with just a pocket full of coins. Located in the heart of Shibuya, this little dive bar is frequented by budget-wary travellers and locals alike, making it an eclectic crowd. During the week it’s your typical Tokyo dive, but weekends become a bit more party-focused with regular DJs performing to the boozed up patrons. Most drinks and small dishes here sit around the 300 yen (US$3) mark, so it’s a no-brainer.
36-2 Udagawacho, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan, +81 3 3463 3039
300 Bar, Ginza
Like Coins Bar, everything you need to know about 300 Bar is in the name. Though it’s situated in the typically high-end suburb of Ginza, 300 Bar is one of the cheapest bars you’ll find in the whole city. Here at 300, all drinks, cocktails and food costs an incredible 300 yen (US$3) (plus a tiny sales tax), and with no cover charge it’s arguably the cheapest night out in Tokyo. The way it works is you buy drink tickets and exchange them for anything on the menu, meaning that it’s less likely for you to lose your wallet or drop all your cash after you’ve had a few.
Fazenda Building B 1, 5 – chome 9 – 11, Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo, Japan, +81 3 3572 6300
If you’re kicking around Tokyo late at night and you don’t know where to go, Bar Oath is always a safe bet. A guaranteed fun night out, this hidden Shibuya mainstay has been supplying regulars with incredible techno, dance and house music and cheap drinks for a while now, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down. Be warned usually there’s a 1,000 yen (US$9) cover charge, but that comes with a free drink ticket so it’s worth it.
4 – chome 5-9, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan, +81 3 5888 5847
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Sound Museum Vision, Shibuya
Clubbing all night is always a pretty pricey affair, no matter how budget-savvy you’re trying to be. Going out can get a little steep, especially when nightclub cover charges often sit between the 2,500 yen (US$23) to 4,000 yen (US$36) mark. That said, Vision is a hot tip when it comes to serious clubbing, because not only is the music consistently good, but they have beer in vending machines. If the lines at the bars are too long, just feed 700 yen (US$6.25) in one of these bad boys, and you’re good to go.
Shin Oji Bill B1F, 2-10-7 Dogenzaka, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan, +81 3 5728 2824
Jumanji 55, Roppongi
Roppongi has a reputation for being a little more wild than many of the other mild mannered suburbs of Tokyo, and that’s probably because it’s EDM club central. If you haven’t got the budget for the VIP EDM club life, but still want to soak up the atmosphere, then head over to Jumanji 55, as the bar has a pretty impressive happy hour deal. From 7-11pm they host ‘all you can drink’ for 1,000 yen (US$9), which includes seating in the VIP lounge. Be sure to get in early though, because after 11pm the entry fee kicks in.
3 Chome-10-5, Marina Building, Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo, Japan, +81 3 5410 5455
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Aoyama Tunnel, Shibuya
Tucked under Bar Oath in Shibuya, Aoyama Tunnel is a bit of a hidden gem. Similar to its upstairs neighbor, the Tunnel is all about late-night partying but with a more house and disco music focus. Entry here is generally free no matter the night of the week; however, there may be a drink requirement, but that’s why you’re there. The super chill staff will keep you running with their carefully crafted, yet affordable cocktails well into sunrise.
Shibuya 4-5-9, Tokyo, Japan, +81 3 3572 6300
Havana Café, Roppongi
This little Cuban-themed hangout in Roppongi has one of the cheapest happy hours in the city, so if you’re preparing for a big night in the neighborhood, look no further. This expat hotspot used to sell gin and tonics for 100 yen! These days, the place has undergone a bit of a facelift and with it new happy hour menus, but that said you can still get a lot for 500 yen during happy hour.
Dragon Men, Shinjuku
Located in Shinjuku’s gay district of Nichome is the iconic Dragon Men. This packed out nightclub is one of the area’s most popular hangouts and, given its cheap drinks and no-fuss party atmosphere, it attracts a wide range of clientele. If you’re visiting during the week, the club cuts 200 yen off all drinks from 6pm until 8pm Monday to Thursday. On Sunday, they also host the dangerous all-you-can-drink special for 1,000 yen (US$9), so it’s worth checking out!
2 Chome-11-14, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan, +81 3 3341 0606
Gold Finger, Shinjuku
Another Nichome icon, Gold Finger is home to some of the best happy hour specials in the area. From 6pm to 8pm from Monday to Friday, you can grab two drinks for the friendly price of 1,000 yen (US$9), while enjoying the infamous communal karaoke session.
2 Chome-12-11 Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan, +81 3 6383 4649
House Party at DOM Studio Koenji
Technically more of a regular party than a nightclub, House Party at the Dom music studio in Koenji has amassed a pretty big and loyal following in the past few years. Here you can catch regular DJs spinning an eclectic mix of tunes as well as live bands, but the best bit? It’s BYO-alcohol, so all night is happy hour! Entry is 1,000-2,000 yen (US$9-18), but once you get there you’ll agree that it’s still a pretty incredible value for a long night of partying.
4 Chome-25-7 Kōenjiminami, Suginami, Tokyo, Japan, +81 3 3318 3569