Nightlife in Tokyo is a mixed bag; from intimate and tiny bars that only seat a handful of people to classic Japanese-style izakayas, and even unique themed bars, there’s something for everyone. In this megacity of flashing lights and towering buildings, there is a place for any number of niche interests. To find the perfect spot for that truly unique night out, check out these five ridiculously cool bars in Tokyo. While some of the Tokyo bars on this list definitely lean more towards the ridiculous side, others are more relaxed and chill, so whatever your style you’ll be able to find an awesome place to get drinks in Tokyo!
1. Albatross Bar in Golden Gai, Shinjuku
Albatross is a high-class establishment that is hidden amongst the many bars and eateries that line the streets of Golden Gai. At three stories high, Albatross is considered quite big for a Golden Gai bar, but with an art gallery on the third floor and a rooftop lounge and sepia-hued chandeliers dripping from the ceiling, it is also one of the classier bars in Tokyo. While the Albatross in Golden Gai is the most famous, there are also two other Albatross locations, in Koenji and Omoide Yokocho. Known for having a foreigner-friendly staff and some great drinks, Albatross is usually packed with international travelers. Albatross also has the distinction of once being featured on the late Anthony Bourdain’s show, Parts Unknown.
2. Penguin Bar in Ikebukuro
You might have heard of themed cafes in Tokyo, such as cat cafes and hedgehog cafes, where you can pay to get some quality time with cute critters. But did you know there are also themed bars in Tokyo where you can sip a cocktail while enjoying the company of your favorite animals? One of the more unique animal-based establishments in Tokyo is Penguin Bar in Ikebukuro. Here you can see some adorable penguins up close. With the bar situated right next to the penguin enclosure, you have the option of eating a course meal and some drinks for an affordable price, all the while being able to view penguins swimming and waddling about. If you come early enough, you’ll be able to feed the penguins yourself. Enjoy a nice drink at this cool bar in Tokyo while you view these cute critters in their element.
3. Progress Detective Bar and Cafe in Ikebukuro
If penguins aren’t your thing and you happen to prefer gritty crime shows, then stay in Ikebukuro and check out Progress, another cool themed bar in Tokyo. Just like Progress is a cafe by day and bar by night, this Ikebukuro establishment is run by real private detectives who solve cases during the day and tend to the bar in the evening. You’ll be able to imagine yourself as a private investigator as you handle the many gadgets that they have available. You can even learn how to fingerprint evidence, and if you ask nicely enough the bartenders are known to share stories of their work and lives as private eyes. Progress is also known for carrying some exotic meats such as kangaroo and alligator that you won’t be able to find anywhere else.
4. Kagaya Bar in Shinbashi
Kagaya is definitely the most ridiculous on the spectrum of ridiculously cool bars in Tokyo, famous for its eccentric owner and his various costume changes and silly, theatrical antics. The owner’s routines include a very rowdy Kermit the Frog and a teddy bear serving beers, to name just a couple. Though be forewarned that you might want to be a little bit inebriated before arriving since the show starts as soon as you arrive. This isn’t just a passive viewing experience, as the owner gets the whole room involved, with drink choices dictating the type of show you’ll be seeing that evening. His performance may be a bit too much to handle without having a couple of drinks first, but once you get into the spirit of things, you’ll be crying with laughter!
5. Tokyo Fight Club in Shibuya
Tokyo Fight Club rounds out the list of these five ridiculously cool bars in Tokyo, bringing the glitz and glamour of a Las Vegas fight night straight to the heart of Shibuya. Filled with neon lights and graffiti, the atmosphere here is unlike any other place in Tokyo and with a fight cage located in the center of the bar, you’ll be able to witness Mixed Martial Arts fights live. Established to bring in an international crowd, Tokyo Fight Club is well known for being foreigner-friendly and having a number of drinks and snacks from all over the world available for you to enjoy while you cheer on the fights.
Francisco is a student who is currently studying abroad in Japan. He enjoys walking around the streets of Tokyo and discovering great places to eat.