It’s very common for Japanese people, especially the working class type, to have a drink or two before heading home. It almost doesn’t matter what type of drinker you are, because Asakusa bars have environments perfect for solo drinkers, pairs, and groups of people. If you’re looking for the perfect spot to relax with a drink or a friend then Asakusa has something to offer you. There are many places in Tokyo where you can find these perfect spots and one of them is the beautiful district of Asakusa.
One can say that Asakusa has two personalities: it’s perpetually crowded during daytime where people frolic around the streets, visiting the famous Sensoji Temple, buying souvenirs for their loved ones, eating delicious street foods and getting caught in beautiful moments where rays of sun kiss against their skin. But come night-time, the district quiets down with its peaceful atmosphere and relaxed vibe. It has become a hub for those who seek a good, quiet time with their friends or maybe some alone time to contemplate life. You can take your pick of drink from the traditional sake (rice wine), beers, wine, and cocktails in any of the bars and izakayas you’ll find. You can pair it with available and delicious Japanese dishes which go perfectly with your drink.
So if you’re headed somewhere, be sure to drop by any Asakusa bar because there are plenty of places where you can have a good time and to get you started, we’ve listed 5 of the best Asakusa bars you can visit.
A great first stop will be Kamiya Bar (1-1-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku). This bar was first established during the late 1800’s and since then has become a witness to every change that has happened in Asakusa, a legend among all the bars in the district with the friendliest staff and old westernized style of the interior of Formica tables and bright lighting. Kamiya Bar was the first bar that ever opened in Asakusa, becoming the oldest bar and building in the district. The building is a national heritage and people from all over the world would come to visit the bar to sample their signature drinks. You’ll find a lot of familiar faces once you become a regular in Kamiya and will probably hit it off with some of the old locals who frequent the bar, sharing delicious stories of the past with a beer or sake in hand. Their signature cocktail, Denki Bran, is something you must try when you’re here. It’s made from the rather strange mixture of brandy, gin, wine, Curacao, and herbs and even cheaper than your regular cup of coffee. If you’re on a run but still want to avail the famous drink, they have pre-mixed bottles of Denki Bran available, good for omiyage (local gifts). Have a drink, grab a bite, and spend the night in this historical Asakusa bar.
Another well-known bar is Samboa (1-16-8 Asakusa, Taito 111-0032, Tokyo). It’s known for serving one of the best whiskey drinks in the city. You can easily acknowledge the relaxing vibe once you’re inside and hear the soft murmurs from people. If you’re not sure what type of whiskey drinks to order, you can always ask the staff. They can suggest you drink something locally made but if you’re feeling adventurous, a glass of an international brand of whiskey might tickle your taste buds right away. Not only do they serve great drinks but they also boast of their impeccable and attentive service to each and one of the guests. Drink up, relax, and enjoy a good time in Samboa.
Located along the beautiful Sumida river, BAR Doras (2-2-6 Hanakawado, Taito-ku, Tokyo) is your go-to bar if you want something intimate and quiet. There are only two tables with two chairs available and a bar where it’s preferable for most people who frequent the bar. Its specialty is cognac and whiskey and its barman, Mr. Nakamori, will happily help you pick your drink from their extensive menu of 50 different types of alcohol. Cocktails are also available and one of the popular drinks in the bar is their grape and cognac drink. This is the perfect bar for those who like to spend time drinking alone or maybe with a friend and have thoughtful conversations together.
If you want to go traditional, Zu-Lu (2-8-10 Kaminarimon, Taito-ku, Tokyo) is a great place to start. They serve delicious sake (rice wine) to their guests, doing it the traditional way when one pours the sake until it overflows into the recipient under it. Their menu is also extensive and they serve cocktails that won’t burn your pockets. If you want something to munch on while drinking, they serve homemade Japanese dishes that go well with almost anything. You can prefer sitting down on the floor with their low tables or maybe in the dining bar where it’s more enjoyable.
NinjaBar (1-1-12 Asakusa Taito-ku Tokyo) is another great place where not only you will score some of the best alcoholic concoctions in the city but you also get to cosplay different characters from anime series to sumo wrestlers and of course, as a ninja! Their alcoholic drinks range from beer, different types of cocktails, champagne, and their signature NinjaBar cocktails. If you’re not sure what to order, you can opt to try their all you can drink menu which won’t burn your pockets. But what’s really the highlight in NinjaBar is their extensive menu of sake. They have many varieties that came from all over the country and sampling each of them can bring you closer to the beautiful drinking culture in Japan. One of the best things about NinjaBar is that they don’t charge entrance fee so you can feel free to visit the bar anytime and maybe take a photo or two with their resident ninja.
She’s cooking and baking for her family and friends. She finds grocery shopping therapeutic, always takes the longest time in the Asian section and debates with herself whether she needs that extra pack of instant ramen. A lover of sweets, she dreams of owning a patisserie and publishing her book but most of the time, she’s just really thinking of what to eat for breakfast the next day.