8 Cool Bars in Tokyo You Need To Check Out

With Japan finally open to tourists from around the globe and the weather warming up, now is the perfect time for a night out in the metropolis. Here is a list of cool bars in Tokyo we wholeheartedly recommend.

Photo courtesy of Gold Bar at Edition

Gold Bar at Edition

Located next to the entrance of The Tokyo Edition, Toranomon, Gold Bar at Edition is like a throwback to the Golden Age of Cocktails, when people loved to mix drinks. It’s not just a bar but a high-class social spot. Of course, you have the classic cocktails, but Gold Bar at Edition also takes traditional flavors and elevates them to new heights with a modern twist and local Japanese tastes.

It has a gorgeous interior with black tones and extravagant gold decorations. Plus, there’s also comfortable sofas, so it’s a great place to either socialize or enjoy some private time.

Open Book Tokyo

Located in Shinjuku Golden Gai, Open Book Tokyo is easy to overlook as there’s no sign. As a result, people sometimes have trouble finding it. A small and snug spot, it has the best lemon sours around and a great collection of Japanese books.

Open Book opened in the spring of 2016, and revolutionized lemon sours by utilizing the Randall filter for craft beer. If you want to try something different, try the Ocha Sour. It is made by adding wasanbon (Japanese refined sugar) to water-infused tea and poured from a pressure pot. You’ll never forget the taste.

The Whales of August

Named after the 1987 American drama film, The Whales of August, you may have an idea what this bar is all about. It opened in 1990 and is pretty hidden, so keep a sharp eye out for the small billboard. The menu is full of cocktails and other alcoholic beverages inspired by different movies. You can even request your own personal favorite movie if it’s not on the menu. As long as one of the bartenders has watched it, they can create it.

The Whales of August are located in the middle of Shibuya. It’s a snug little bar, so expect a bit of a wait on Friday nights and weekends. As well as being a perfect spot for dates and movie lovers, it’s also great for going alone as they have a bar counter as well. It’s a recommended spot to head right after watching a movie.

Photo courtesy of Dogenzaka The Church

The Church

Opened in February 2022 in Dogenzaka, Shibuya, The Church looks like an actual church with an aisle that leads to a DJ booth at the back. There are also rows of pews allowing visitors to sit down and casually chat with others. There are different DJs every week so feel free to dance as there’s a bit of space.

Photo by Lisa Knight

Nappa Gochiso Meguro

With the entrance hidden behind an unassuming bookshelf, Nappa Gochiso is a bookworm’s secret hideaway in Meguro. Only a few minutes from the station, it is located on the B1 floor of the Megroad building. You need a sharp eye to see the handle carved in the bookshelf, so you can pull the door open to a secret entrance.

To open the second door, you must press three green buttons in a row from the left. Then, the door slides open to reveal a dark, secret space. It’s like a hideout you would make during your childhood. There’s a table charge, for which you receive an appetizer. During our visit, this came in a traditional Japanese black lacquered box. We had to wait a few minutes to open it, and when we did, smoke engulfed us. Inside was a fresh and juicy hotate (Japanese scallop) sushi with mint.

Photo by Lisa Knight

Moss Dining Bar

Moss Dining Bar is located in Sangenjaya and the entrance is a cigarette vending machine. As you go into the bar, you are engulfed in a colorful collision of nostalgia and culture in every crook and cranny. There’s My Little Pony figurines, dream catchers, Teletubbies and many more fun gizmos. The interior is full of couches, rugs and blankets, giving it a chilled vibe. There’s also the option of shisha for those who want to take the comfort and relaxing experience to a whole level. Moss Dining Bar is the perfect place to drop by for a small casual drink after work.

Photo courtesy of Jazz Bar Amber

Jazz Bar Amber

In Shibuya, one of the symbols of Tokyo as a town for young people, a jazz bar was created against the backdrop of the times and that was Jazz Bar Amber. The name Amber was inspired by the same name of the fossil that shines brightly like an ore, silently trapping the intensity and passion of the sap as it undergoes various chemical changes over a long period of time. Jazz Bar Amber had the image of sweet sap overflowing through time. The hope was that even the mighty beetles of the night would be lured into the bar for a special evening.

Jazz Bar Amber is equipped with a drum set, a Fender Rhodes piano and an amazing sound system that can be used for live sessions. It’s the perfect hideaway bar with a superb mix of Japanese and jazz music. There are around 20 live music sessions here throughout the month.

The menu includes smoked whiskey, Amber’s very own homemade coffee shochu made from Udagawa Cafe’s original bean blend and sake sangria made from seasonal fruits soaked in sake.

Photo courtesy of Book Bar Lilliput

Book Bar Lilliput

When the Book House Cafe closes for the day at 6pm, Lilliput’s Book Bar opens at 8pm. As the front entrance is closed, visitors have to enter the bar through the back of the building where there is a sign that reads Lilliput. The bartenders sometimes do picture book readings and visitors can purchase picture books. Lilliput’s Book Bar is only open on weekdays and closes after 11pm so make sure to head there after a bite to eat.

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