Undoubtedly, you’ve heard some unusual, possibly comical and always endearing things about Japan, the eccentric game shows, the overly buttoned toilets, dogs in prams, love hotels, the list goes on! The country is well known for sparking curiosity from tourists and always offering new and unconventional experiences.
Osaka is Japan’s second largest city and is popular among residents for offering a more laid back and comedic atmosphere with bright lights, animated signage and many, many bars offering unique themes and styles. If you happen to find yourself wanting the usual drink in a not so usual place, then here are 8 unusual themed bars in Osaka for you to check out.
For me, one of the most difficult things about being an adult is hiding my genuine excitement when I’m offered some candy. I try to keep my face calm and casually eat but inside, I’m riding a roller coaster of happiness, a place I’ve been familiar with since I was four years of age.
Luckily, in A-55 there’s no need to pretend anymore. This after school themed bar offers you an all you can eat candy fiasco, letting you relive your childhood, only it’s better because now you’re old enough to drink too.
There are over 200 ‘dagashi’ (cheap Japanese candies) and Ice-cream to choose from for only 500 yen an hour, which you get to enjoy while surrounded by colourful walls, gaudy cocktails, plush toys and school accessories, ensuring a night of reminiscing, general questioning and a lot of fun.
Address: 7-11 Taiyujicho, Kita Ward, Osaka, 530-0051
2. Bar Nayuta
This bar offers a different type of unusual experience in the unique tasting of it’s signature cocktails. This cocktail bar is particularly special because there’s no specific menu, the bar man will simply ask you how you’re feeling and some of your taste preferences before presenting you with a beautiful, gothic chalice leaving you feeling sophisticated and cultured as you get politely hammered, in this stylish modern yet antique styled bar.
Address: 〒542-0086 Osaka, Chuo Ward, Nishishinsaibashi, 1 Chome−6−17 マリオビル5F
3. The hearth
BOARD GAMES! ALL THE BOARD GAMES! An entire wall of board games. They have the classics, the abstract strategy, the legacies, the themed, the hidden traitors, the co-operative, the friendship destroyers and plenty of the silly. If there’s an expansion, they probably have that too. Games for every type of person and any amount of people are available to be played with all day for just 500 yen.
Ran by an Australian and Irish friendly duo, who besides providing extra entertainment with their shenanigans also have enhanced this Shinsaibashi based bar by providing some unusual seasonally diverse drinking options including liquor infused milkshakes and spooky smoky cocktails. There are many special events held throughout the year including pub quizzes, bad movie nights and even rooftop pool/BBQ parties.
It’s also the ideal bar to find some pub grub you may be missing from home with highly favoured dishes such as Lasagna, Chicken parmigiana, toasties and the best chocolate brownie I’ve personally had in Japan.
Address: 阪南ビル 4f, 14-25 Nanbasennichimae, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0075
VIDEO GAMES! ALL THE VIDEO GAMES! Despite the limited space within this unusual bar, the owner has managed to compactly and cleverly fit in as many console options as possible, from the dawning of nintendo to the latest X-Box with over 600 games to choose from . . . for. . . .free!
The walls are covered in vintage video game art, lit only by the surrounding TV screens and neon green lights. The bar is not only appealing to the eye but all the sounds surrounding you will surely spark some happy reminiscing, think Mario effects, think GTA soundtracks, think cheering and playful arguing as you sip your delicious and well priced cocktail.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/187209477967297/
Website: 2 Chome-13-3 Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0086
5. Shinka (Submarine bar)
The drinks are normal, the layout is very usual for a small Osaka bar, average crowd of people and traditional bar man, the one twist is the decor because from outside in, you are entering and drinking in a submarine.
Located away from a lot of the busier drinking spots in Osaka, this Japanese bar plays into the randomness you’ll learn to love while visiting Japan especially as you first encounter the large metal hatch of the submarine bar before finding yourself surrounded by silver, flashing lights, actual submarine parts for sitting on and a diver greeting you as you enter the toilet.
It definitely provides some unusual photo opportunities and a nice change of location for a night out.
Address: 1 Chome-1-7 Andojimachi, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0061
This bar takes unusual to a whole new and semi terrifying level. It’s a horror/fetish themed bar located in the Namba area. With full sized taxidermy animals, masks, doll heads, gothic drinking bowls, a blood soaked bathroom and eyes always watching, this bar is not for the faint hearted, however, if you are lacking the courage, absinth is readily available to make you feel at ease.
The owner is fluent in both English and Japanese, he’s always fully attired to suit the chilling ambience and his spooky band plays every Tuesday. For horror fans everywhere, particularly those familiar with Rob Zombie’s work, this is the bar for you!
Address: 1 Chome-19-8 Higashishinsaibashi, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0083
7. The lock up
An interactive prison themed bar! After being escorted to your table in a handcuff chain, you’ll find yourself locked up in your own little cell while the prison wardens (aka waitresses) serve you sinister food and alcohol. You may now notice the theme slipping away from prison and more into horror, the drinks have crazy scientist vibes while the izakaya style food is presented in more of a Biblical manner..
There is a show held every hour too with sirens, gunshots, monsters and criminals interacting with the crowd and when you’re ready to leave, a prisoner helps you escape. It’s a more expensive night out but definitely worth it for the unique experience!
Address: 〒530-0027 Osaka, Kita Ward, Doyamacho, 4−12 白馬車ビルパート１
8. The Drunken Clam
Okay, the family guy theme is a bit of a stretch as outside of the name, a few character photos and the ‘Stewie Griffin’ beer glasses, there’s not much going on but how can we not mention karaoke when discussing bars in Japan?
This is a very popular spot for foreign visitors to practice their public singing while reminiscing over they’re favorite family guy moments. Drinks are fair prices and the location is ideal as it sits in the heart of Osaka’s main nightlife area, Namba!
I have never gone to this bar without ending up in group singing sessions with all other customers, so it’s an ideal place for solo travellers hoping to make some friends while experiencing a slightly more unusual place to do it.
Address: 喜久ビル 3F, 6-26 Souemoncho, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0084
Saying you’re bored in Osaka is like a child saying they have nothing to do the day after Santa visits. These are a mere few of the creative and unique bars available around this lively city and honourable mentions go to Balabushka (Shinsaibashi) for it’s unusually large space, something very hard to come by in Japan and Cinquecento (Shinsaibashi) for it’s unusually cheap and deliciously creamy cocktails.
Hopefully you’ve found something on this list that sparks curiosity with you, where you’ll get some unique photos and semi hazy memories!