Japan’s third largest city, Osaka, may be a tourist hot-spot by day, but the city truly shines at night. With a sprawling bar scene made of a mix of traditional izakaya, upscale joints exhibiting expert mixology, casual video game bars, and karaoke, the city is never short of fun options. Here are the best places in Osaka to drink a cocktail (or six!).
Bar, Japanese, $$$
Located just adjacent to Triangle Park in Amemura, Bar Nayuta is one of the coolest and most cosmopolitan bars around. The atmosphere is gothic and mysterious, perfectly suited to this “nocturnal apothecary.” You can expect to find people from all around the world at Nayuta indulging in shisha and the glorious cocktails, which the owner will concoct for you based on your tastes and requests. The staff is incredibly friendly, there are regular live DJs, and there is no cover charge.
Space Station is a local staple; it’s packed with both locals and tourists almost every night of the week, so it’s a great place to meet people from all over the world. Space has 13 consoles and scores of games that are all free to play. Space Station is also the only game bar in town that doesn’t have a cover charge – you only pay for your drinks, many of which are named after video game characters, like the “Floating Peach” and “Gin Sonic.” To find it, just look for the flashing, animated LED staircase at street level, and climb on up!
Moonshine is the perfect place to go if you’re feeling outgoing and want to make new friends; the combination of karaoke, good booze, and the cozy space always seems to bring people together at this popular bar. Both locals and travelers gather here every night of the week for a good time. The bar features drinks based on Prohibition recipes and Western food, and on certain nights you may find the owner grilling up cheap and tasty hot dogs outside.
Located just a street away from the Dotonbori Canal, Moon Tower is perfect if you’re looking for a lively night out in the heart of downtown. The bar is reasonably priced with incredibly potent drinks, especially their signature beverage, the Moon Tower. This bar often hosts live events with DJs and other performers entertaining the crowds almost every night of the week. With a bilingual staff, good food, and shisha, Moon Tower always attracts a large and diverse crowd.
This chic restaurant serves authentic Mediterranean fare and cocktails, which has made it a popular nightlife spot with locals, expats, and travelers alike. Like its name suggests, the establishment is famous for its absinthe cocktails. Other cocktails, beer, and wine options are also on the menu. ABSINTHE is also one of the only places to get shisha in Horie. In an effort to support local artistic talent, a different local artist is invited to display their work in Café ABSINTHE every month, turning the space into an art gallery.
Expect more from this Western-style pizza place than just the famous Italian pie. Slices’ drink menu is extensive, with fantastic and fresh versions of favorites, like the mojito or Bloody Mary, as well as less common but equally delicious concoctions. The owners regularly introduce original limited-time mixes to the menu as well. They also sell non-alcoholic cocktails and tasty treats like smoothies and shakes. If you’re looking for a light meal, you can order by the slice, but whole pizzas are available, too.
A charming bar found on the lively streets of Kitashinchi, Bar K is well-known for its broad range of Japanese whiskeys. The feel of the bar is very refined, with the main focus being on the drinks. The bartenders put a lot of pride into their work, as seen in their artfully executed cocktails. If you really want to appreciate a dram of whiskey, Bar K is the place to go.
A high-end cocktail bar, Kaara is the place for a classy evening of good company and appreciating the art of mixology. With low lights and brick walls, the décor of this venue is classy yet comfortable, with a slight industrial feel. A house speciality at Kaara is their gin and tonic, which is served in a lime skin, allowing the sour and slightly bitter flavor of the lime to infiltrate the drink for a unique taste. If you would like to try something exotic, then ask one of the mixologist bartenders for a suggestion.
Located in the St. Regis Osaka, the St. Regis Bar is a classy, elegant place for dinner followed by a fancy cocktail, or just for some drinks at the end of a day of sightseeing and shopping in nearby Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori. The Bloody Mary was supposedly created at the St. Regis New York, and each branch of the famous hotel has its own variation on the classic cocktail. The St. Regis Bar at Osaka offers the Shogun Mary – local flavors like yuzu and wasabi blended with vodka.
Established in 1931, Bar Yoshida is a family-run establishment that serves a fabulous variety of drinks. From shots like rum and aged whiskey, to original cocktails and Japanese shochu, you are sure to be both impressed and satisfied. They have a new cocktail every month, made from local fruits available according to the season. This vintage bar is well worth a visit.