Tokyo is Japan‘s kaleidoscopic capital, a place brimming with neon skyscrapers, vibrant lights and an infectious energy. Home to numerous drinking spots that have an array of beer, wine, shot and sake options, thirsty visitors will be spoilt for choice in Tokyo. From charming cocktail spots to luxurious lounges, here’s our guide to the 10 best bars during your stay in Japan’s capital.
Bar High Five is a speakeasy bar set in the lively Ginza area. Its a venue with an old-style charm serving some of the best cocktails in the city. There is no menu here, instead customers tell the bartender their favorite drink flavors, and he or she creates a personalized, delicious beverage to suit. The crystal stemware glasses in which the drinks are served are elegant and lavish. Don’t miss the White Lady cocktail, a mixture of gin, triple sec, lemon juice and sugar syrup.
Situated conveniently at the vibrant Roppongi crossing, Geronimo Shot Barcelebrates everything to do with shots, and offers plenty of liquor options for daring customers to down in shot form. Whiskey, gin, vodka and rum varieties abound here, and there are also some more creative shot choices available, such as the intriguing Slippery Nipple, made with Baileys and sambuca. Happy hour is from 6-9pm daily, and with a closing time of 6am, there’s plenty of time to try every different shot on offer.
8bit Café takes customers back to the vibrant early 90s, with all kinds of nostalgic paraphernalia found in the venue including Super Mario merchandise, Sonic posters and Legend of Zelda items. All cocktails here are also named after different video games and characters, and there are screens set up across the bar so customers can play their favorite game while enjoying a top beverage.
Zoetrope is a cozy, warm watering hole that has a whiskey selection like no other in Tokyo. An incredible selection of single malts here draws crowds from all over the region, top picks of which include the Bowmore and the Deveron varieties. The dim lighting here is atmospheric, creating an intimate setting in which to recline with a whiskey, and there is also a good selection of Japanese rum, brandy and beer available.
Gen Yamamoto is a small, exclusive Tokyo bar offering a selection of seasonal cocktails made from only the best locally sourced ingredients. The focus for every drink here is not on the alcohol content, but on the harmony of the flavors, and the establishment aims to serve creative and refreshing taste combinations with every cocktail it offers. The mandarin, kiwi and akane apple drinks here are divine.
Brooklyn Parlor is a great place for individuals to relax on a comfy armchair, surf the web or read a book while enjoying an ice cold beer or a great glass of wine. A trendy Tokyo coffee shop, this place is a hit with students in the day because of its relaxed atmosphere and cozy seating, and is a place which draws a lively crowd in the evenings too. Djs perform energetic nightly sets here playing techno and house music, and if peckish, don’t miss the chargrilled burgers on offer.
Bar Ben Fiddich is a laid back cocktail lounge and a charming spot which in part resembles a Japanese apothecary. Dim lighting and low key, traditional music adds to the peaceful atmosphere here. With only 15 seats available, there is an air of exclusivity about the joint too. The expert bartender, Hirosuya Kayama, is trained in the art of mixology, and serves up tantalizing concoctions often incorporating very potent absinthe.
Goodbeer Faucets is situated right in the heart of the lively Shibuya district. There are plenty of Japanese and international craft beers on offer here, ice cold ales sourced from all over the globe. The manager here, Dede, is frequently seen in the venue chatting to customers and offering tasters of the beer on offer. The chai beer, a slightly spicy version of the classic beverage, is a must try.
Meishu Center Tokyo-Sake Tasting Bar is a real hidden gem specializing in sake – it sells over 500 different versions of the Japanese rice wine. The walls here are lined with hundreds of empty sake bottles, and the bar serves a wealth of varied options including banana, pear, melon and lychee varieties. The sake is sourced from small independent traders based all over Japan, and so by sampling, sake customers are experiencing a true taste of what the Japanese drink.
Tokyo Pub Crawl is not a bar, it is actually Tokyo’s largest and longest running nightlife bar tour. Participants get to visit at least three different bars and clubs on this trip, with drink discounts, free shots and a dynamic atmosphere all night. If Tokyo visitors want to have a great time and meet interesting people, then this is the place to be.