In the last month, I’ve been to dozens of bars all over Tokyo, and I’ve loved every second of it—from the achingly hip bars in Shimokitazawa to the bold and garish glow of Shinjuku, and even the trendy bars in Roppongi—there’s so much to see and so much to, er, drink. Tokyo nightlife bars really are special—and for a whole host of reasons. As a Tokyo newbie, I have enjoyed every part of it and I want to share my experience with you!

Before we do a deep dive into the bars I’ve enjoyed, it’s worth sharing that the neighbourhoods of Tokyo are all distinctive and have their own unique character about them. The bars are quirky, and the people are kind and interesting. Tokyo feels very safe, so I’ve never felt worried about exploring a new place on my own. It’s also very easy to make friends.

Find out more about different Japanese drinks, Japanese beers, the special strong zero you can get in Japan, and how to prepare for a night out in Tokyo. Also check out our bar recommendations in Shinjuku, Shibuya, Roppongi, Akihabara, Asakusa, Nakano, Shimokitazawa, and Koenji.

One of the best ways to explore Tokyo is to visit the local areas and immerse yourself in the local culture. If you want to explore local areas, we have created scavenger hunt adventures personalised to your interests, filled with fun facts, clues and puzzles. If you’re curious, you can check out the games here!

Check out the Flip Japan Games here!

Bao Bab (Shinjuku)

BaoBab is the very first bar I went to in Tokyo and it’s definitely up there with the best. It was here that I was introduced to a Tokyo standard: the Moscow Mule. Up a staircase and sandwiched between plenty of other bars, you might not notice BaoBab at first; that’s often the case with bars in this city. Prepare to climb some staircases and feel self-conscious when you open that sliding door. Be brave!

BaoBab is a quirky place, influenced by North African and Mediterranean cuisine while still being, undeniably, a Japanese establishment. The music is fantastic and the owner has over 3,000 records! I dig any bar that’s not afraid to be utterly itself and BaoBab is just that. It has that buzz that interesting places always do.

Bar Ohana (Kichijoji)

Top 5 Tokyo Nightlife Bar Picks Bar Ohana
Credit: Timeout

A lot of restaurants and bars in Tokyo are family-owned, but this one had a very particular homely vibe to it. I felt extremely privileged to visit Ohana, because it kind of felt like I was joining the family for the hour or so that I was there. Kichijoji is a vibrant and very cool area, but it’s also populated by a lot of seedy establishments around the station — Ohana is the polar opposite of all of that.

If you, like me, like to get to know locals, then this is an ideal place to do just that. The owner is a wonderful and very fun Japanese lady who offered me a book of photos from her recent trip to Ireland and chatted with me about my hometown. The drinks had a tropical vibe to them and the food was Italian with a Japanese twist, bringing a world of flavour and quirkiness to somewhere that looks ostensibly like a traditional izakaya. I’ll definitely be back.

Plus, it’s one of the few places that doesn’t allow smoking indoors, so you’ll have a smoke-free night!

Mezzo (Roppongi)

Top 5 Tokyo Nightlife Bar Picks Mezzo
Credit: Moshi Moshi Nippon

Somewhere between a bar and a club, this bar in Roppongi is the kind of place where you can dance while snacking (my dream). With a mix of cool expat and Japanese clientele, it’s a really awesome place to chill for a few hours before you head to a club or a more energetic bar. Sometimes, you just want to dress up and drink with your friends—and Mezzo is the perfect bar in Roppongi to do that.

Exploring Tokyo’s Nightlife with These 3 Bar Recommendations

Discover Tokyo’s essence through the lens of its vibrant nightlife with these top 3 bar picks, carefully selected for newcomers—like me—to the city. From hidden gems to iconic haunts, each venue promises an unforgettable taste of Tokyo’s after-dark scene. W

Cheers to new beginnings and unforgettable nights in the heart of Japan’s bustling metropolis!

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