ALPHA STORIES, FOR THE SMART AND FREQUENT TRAVELER ABROAD
A Night Out In Tokyo
Tokyo comes to life after the sun sets. The light displays and opening of Izakya doors are just the beginning of the nightlife opportunities here. It is a very common practice for businesses to go out together after work so whatever day of the week it is, you will find tons of people out in the evening. You may even encounter a passed-out businessman or two, this is normal, and it’s customary to leave them alone and allow them to sleep. Whether you are looking to club all night or experience some cool cocktails at a lowkey bar, there are endless options here.
TRANSPORTATION AT NIGHT
Remember that the trains stop running at midnight, so I would either plan on ending or starting your night out around that time. If you plan on going to bars I would expect to be home at midnight. However, if you intend on going to a club, they usually start happening around 1 am, which means you should expect to be out until 5 am the next day. You can ask clubs to call you taxis if you want to go home earlier but be warned they are costly. If you aren’t into the all-night scene, I suggest staying in the Shibuya or Roppongi area as this is where a lot of the clubs are and it’s perfectly safe to walk home at night.
Izakayas are the traditional classic bars you’ll see in every neighborhood. You may enter some of these establishments during weekdays and be instantly turned away because you are a tourist. This is due to the businessmen who will come to the Izakaya after their work day. The bars are fiercely loyal to them, which means they don’t allow anyone else to dine there on working days.
GOLDEN GAI- SHINJUKU
Golden Gai is such an awesome going-out experience. It’s a section of Shinjuku with over 200 bars but each bar itself is tiny and often only has seating for around 7 people. This is an amazing place to bar hop as each establishment has its distinct atmosphere and the bartenders are very interactive! I recommend showing up around 5 pm when the bars open to avoid any waits.
(Via Tir Na NOG Website)
Tir Na NÓG – GINZA
This insanely gorgeous bar is hidden in the Ginza and feels as though you are being transported into a fantasy land outside of Tokyo. It is fairytale-themed complete with butterflies covering the ceiling and magic potions lining the walls. The cocktail presentation is even more impressive than the bar. Cocktails are on the pricer side here.
NEW YORK BAR – SHINJUKU
Famous for its scene in the film “Lost in Translation”, this iconic bar has a stunning view of Shinjuku and live jazz in the evening. They do have an extra charge for guests after 6:30 so I suggest visiting for a sunset cocktail.
(Via Mixology Instagram)
MIXOLOGY – GINZA
This bar is based on Japanese Tea Concepts! The cocktails are elaborate and I highly recommend getting their tasting menu, it’s so worth it. They take traditional Japanese teas and make them into a range of cocktails, hot and cold that are all delicious. This place is becoming increasingly popular so make a reservation in advance.
A10 – SHIBUYA
A10 is a speakeasy record store hidden behind green lockers in plain sight in Shibuya. The inside gives a 1920’s Gatsby energy but the cocktails are extremely modern and often a fun twist on unsuspecting foods like popcorn. They require reservations so be sure to book in advance.
(Via Bar Centifolia Intagram)
BAR CENTIFOLIA – MINATO CITY
Getting a drink here was almost like attending an art show. The cocktails are prepared in front of you to perfection with ice hand chipped for your drink and garnishes out of this world. Oh, and it’s common to see the entire bar lit on fire in the process. I suggest making a reservation and noting that this is a nicer and pricer bar but an incredible experience.
MIZUNOTORI / GEM BY MOTO BAR – SHIBUYA
This popular local bar is a Sake paradise. Many people ignore the menu and have the staff pick a sake for them based on availability. They also have a great food menu if you are looking for something to pair well with your drinks. You will want a reservation in advance here.
This members-only sake bar accepts guests upon reservation and it’s truly a special experience for sake lovers. Message them in advance to let them know you are interested in coming and they will have a sake tasting like no other prepared for you!
(Via The SG Club Instagram)
THE SG CLUB – SHIBUYA
The SG club is two bars in one. The upstairs is a more casual bar that anyone can walk into and is
named Guzzle and the bottom bar is a bit more upscale and requires a reservation (it’s called Sip). Both have really good cocktails but it’s worth it to sip in the basement to experience the prohibition-era vibe.
(Via V2 Tokyo Website)
Clubbing in Tokyo is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The clubs here are often multiple levels leaving you feeling as though you have been to multiple clubs in one night. If you are looking for a discount on tickets, I suggest messaging the headliners on Instagram and seeing if you can ask to be added to their guest list. Clubs here are so much fun but really strict regarding ID and dress code, so make sure to check your wallet and outfit before you head out. Go on Resident Advisor to stay updated on all the artists in town and where they are playing.
1oak is one of the older clubs in the city, similar to its other worldwide locations it often has fun headliners coming in and is a good place to find Western music.
V2 is one of the premier clubs of Roppongi, don’t show up before midnight. They usually have electronic music and you’ll catch a lot of Japanese locals partying here as well.
This was one of my favorite nightclubs to go out in when I lived in Tokyo. Each floor has a different kind of music so you’ll never get bored. Great place to dance all night long and the inside is very cool.
Strip Club in Shibuya (per the recommendations Kurt gave me)
(Via TK nightclub Instagram)
If you love EDM, this is the club for you. This club has three different bars and a massive dance floor. You’ll probably meet other Westerners/ tourists here because it’s not far from the Shibuya crossing.
Zouk is a famous club in Singapore that made its way to Tokyo. It’s known for being very high-end with luxury everything, amazing music, and a rooftop bar serving drinks until 4 am. The Ginza is one of the nicest neighborhoods in Tokyo so expect this club to be on the pricier side.
Written By: Tara Katims for Abroadeez