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Tokyo may appear buttoned-up by day, but it knows how to let its hair down at night. Party districts such as Roppongi quiver with energy from western-style bars and nightclubs. There are plenty of ways to sample sake as well; many restaurants serve the same purpose as pubs do elsewhere. And be sure to check hotel listings as many have fab bars with fab views.

Tokyo Nightlife

Blue Note

When big-name jazz performers like Michael Feinstein, Lee Ritenour, and Dave Koz come to town, they play at this Tokyo outpost of New York’s best-known jazz venue.

6-3-16 Minami Aoyama, 011-81-3-5485-0088,
Tags: nightlife | lounge | jazz


Many of Tokyo’s gay nightspots are private clubs that don’t allow non-members (either Japanese or foreign), but this crowded, friendly little box of a basement bar is pretty much a mandatory stop for gay visitors to Tokyo. Look for videos, disco beats, and Japanese men who love foreigners.

2-12-3 Shinjuku, 011-81-3-3352-8972
Tags: nightlife | bar | gay | disco

Standing Bar Joe

The name comes from a long Japanese tradition of tachinomiya (literally “standing-while-drinking house”), and this one offers a traditional Japanese aesthetic of lanterns and exposed beams, plus cheap drinks (try the shochu, Japanese vodka).

4-1-15 Nishi-Azabu, 011-81-3-3400-7797
Tags: budget | nightlife | editor pick | great value | open late | bar


One of the city’s top spots for sampling sake, in a long, thin space with lacquered countertops. An English menu helps you make sense of it all, and pub treats like grilled skewers go great with sake.

Tokyo International Forum Building, 3-5-1 Marunouchi, 011-81-3-5223-9888
Tags: nightlife | bar | bar menu | sake

Tokyu Honten Rooftop Beer Garden

In summer, beer gardens spring up all over the city: in parks, atop buildings, and even on empty lots that will be gone by fall. The one on the roof of Tokyu Department Store has greenery, cheap beer, and yakiniku (Korean barbecue).

2-24-10 Dogenzaka, 011-81-3-3477-3111
Tags: budget | nightlife | bar menu | beer

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