The 5 Best Bars in Tokyo


Tokyo has some of the best nightlife in the world. The city’s size to population ratio means that they have to cram an unimaginable number of small businesses into a relatively restricted area. Most buildings have 5 or more floors that house anything from hairdressers to karate dojos, but it’s the bars we’re interested in here.

This Asian metropolis has more bars than the sea has fish and if you’re not familiar with the area you’ll never stumble across the same bar twice. After living in Tokyo for quite some time I became used to this and started documenting all my alcohol-influenced experiences. Here is a list of 5 of my favourite bars in Tokyo.

The BBQ Bar – All You Can Eat… and Drink!

The 5 Best Bars in Tokyo

All you can eat and drink. That’s all you should need to hear to want to visit a BBQ restaurant. The beer flows freely as does the food. There’s a small heater/bbq in the middle of every table and plates upon plates of the tastiest meats you can think of are brought out by the waiters upon request. Run out of food? Press the little buzzer on your table and as if by magic five more plates will appear. Bear in mind that there’s a three hour time limit in most of these places so eat and drink as fast as you can… if you can stomach it.

The Super Mario Bar

The 5 Best Bars in Tokyo

I came across this place purely by accident one evening when trying to avoid the rain. I didn’t quite know what I was in for until I walked through the door and was greeted by a treasure trove of Super Mario merchandise lining every wall. There were Goombas, 1-UP mushrooms and invincibility stars in every spare space. Even the drinks were named after Nintendo characters. Pull up a chair and play some Mario Kart with the owner – If he wins you have to buy him a drink. If you win… you still have to buy him a drink.

The Bar on a Boat

The Bar on a Boat

In Tokyo Bay, if you’re lucky, you’ll come across a horde of young Japanese queuing up at the docks. You’ll likely wonder what all the fuss is about and quite rightly so. They’re queuing to get onto the party boat that floats down the river and back again all the while serving drinks, hosting live music and accommodating the most elaborate of drunken antics. If you’re a foreigner you’ll be the talk of the night and everyone will want to say hello.The drinks are cheap and the views are spectacular, so be sure to get a ticket if you’re in town.

The Bar that’s a Prison

Prison Bar

At the entrance all seemed fairly ordinary; we asked for a table for five and were led into an odd-looking corridor that had moss and cobwebs aplenty. Then a woman dressed as a prison warden arrived, put us all in handcuffs and led us to our cell. We were at ‘The Lockup’ a famous restaurant/bar in Tokyo that serves your drinks to you in scientific beakers and syringes complete with floating eyeballs. Your table is set in a cell and you’re locked in while you eat. The waiters and waitresses dress up as prisoners and guards, and every so often there’ll be a jailbreak where monsters and prisoners run around the corridors frightening the patrons. Excellent fun and thoroughly recommended.

The Streets

The Streets

This isn’t so much of a bar as it is a special mention. It’s on the streets of Tokyo are where you’ll find most of your fun. I had plenty of nights out in various bars and pubs across the city, but the best times were had outside with a ‘street beer’, a group of good friends and a warm summer night ahead. Cheap, cheerful and most certainly charming.

Author’s Bio: Joe is the founder of He has an insatiable lust for travel and enjoys writing words in straight lines. If you want to see some examples of Joe’s straight-line travel words, check him out on Google +.

Editor’s Note: Text and all pics are provided by Joe Jamieson.



  1. There’s a Super Mario Bar? What on Earth am I doing not being there right now? That sounds great.

    Nothing funnier than spending some time with a few alcohol fuelled friends and playing computer games.

  2. Awesome! I think the most interesting one is the prison bar, looks quite cool. I’m not sure if this is the same one featured on Bizarre Foods Tokyo, but maybe?

  3. Whoa I think I’ve seen that Lockup bar featured in a GlobeTrekker episode a long time ago. It’s cool to hear that it’s still around and just as popular. Also just as bizaarre haha.

  4. I’m not sure if I’ve seen that show, but it might well be!

    It truly is a crazy place, but a lot of fun!

  5. Awesome! I’ll try to visit at least one when I get to Tokyo :) Thanks!


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