9 Of The Best Bars in Tokyo – Tokyo sometimes feels like it has more bars than any human population with normal drinking habits would actually need, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and stuck in a loop of going to that same bar you’re already used to every weekend. But if you’re getting tired of the same old, here’s a selection of the best bars in Tokyo where you can make friends with almost anybody really fast.
Bonobo is right next to Umi, and gives you a slightly different kind of vibe, though it attracts a lot of the same kind of people. There’s a DJ dancing room on the first floor and a Japanese tatami mat room on the second floor for people to chill and talk in. The crowd is about three-quarters Japanese, one-quarter foreigner on most nights, so even if you don’t speak a lick of Japanese, you’ll always have someone to talk to.
2. Rigoletto Bar and Grill
This is a pure “meat market” bar, the kind that people love to look down on but end up going to anyway. But the fact is it’s one of the best places to meet people on weekends. The Roppongi Hills location attracts a solid crowd of Japanese office ladies on Friday night who are trying to find the American/European investment fund manager of their dreams. If you’re an English teacher, you better be prepared to make something up. On weekends the standing only bar gets crowded and people spill on to the shopping mall hallways, making it pretty easy to talk to anybody you want to, whether they’re already taken or not.
3. What The Dickens!
This is the best bar in Tokyo for live music lovers who like meeting new people. A lot of live music spots in Tokyo tend to bring in a crowd of people that’s more interested in the music than chatting, but the patrons at What T
he Dickens are usually really friendly. And the fact it doubles as a British pub means it automatically attracts the type of Japanese people who are interested in foreign cultures. You shouldn’t have much trouble finding new friends or a future date here.
Website: What the Dickens!
Address: 〒150-0021 Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Ebisunishi, 1-13-3
This one is for the vinyl lovers. Spincoaster has a huge selection of vinyl records and you can request for any of them to get played in the bar. You can even choose if you want the record to be played by high-res sound speakers or with old-school analog sound. The bar also keeps personal shelves for regular customers where they can keep their own vinyl collections, so they can play them anytime they visit the bar. The ratio of Japanese people is pretty high here, but between music lovers, there shouldn’t be too much of a language barrier.
5. New York Bar
The New York Bar became famous around the world when it was featured in the film “Lost in Translation”, leading to an endless series of wannabes trying to reproduce Bill Murray’s ennui in the bar drinking scene. But let’s face it, we’re all wannabes in some way, and the view is a stunner in any case. The staff is pretty much bilingual as well, so it’s a great entry point when you first arrive in Tokyo.
Website: New York Bar
Address: 〒160-0023 Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Nishishinjuku, 3-7-1
6. Mr. Kanso
When’s the last time you ate food out of can? They seem to have gone out of style lately. But at Mr. Kanso, the trend is still going strong, and in fact that’s pretty much the only thing you can order at this chain of bars, which has six locations in Tokyo. Even if you can’t read the labels, what you’re ordering should be pretty clear most of the time.
This bar is run by a monk, which is really reason enough to go. It was opened by Yoshinobu Fujioka to spread the teachings of Buddhism to the younger Japanese generations, who seem to have mostly forgotten about them lately. They definitely welcome any foreigners who don’t hate Buddhism with open arms though.
Some theme bars like the Ninja bar, the prison bar or the vampire cafe are so famous it’s barely worth writing about them anymore, but this place has flown underneath the radar so far. It’s a totally science-themed bar that looks like a lab and serves drinks to you in beakers. There are more science-themed surprises lined up for you on the menu. Incubator tends to get booked up days in advance, so make sure to call in for a reservation.
If you’re looking for one of the rowdiest and most high-energy bars in Tokyo, you’ve come to the right place. Geronimo always gets wild on weekend nights, and you’ll probably feel like the locals you see there look completely different from the ones you see at your job or in the street. But that’s what makes the place so much fun.