While it offers a lot of daytime activities and is easy on the eyes, Shinjuku will always be the place you want to come to after a long exhausting day at work. Described as a paradise for drinkers, the fine architectures of Shinjuku bars always surprise its guests. Known for its skyscrapers, working-class people in their suits and briefcases, and the famous tumble of big and miniature bars in Golden Gai, nightlife in this city will always be sleepless and bustling.
Shinjuku bars have a lot of drinks to offer to its guests. Just a visit to Golden Gai will prove it to you. Whether your choice of drink for the night is beer, wine, or cocktails, there’s always a hole-in-the-wall tiny bar located in some basement with the perfect vinyl line up or a fancy lounge located in the heart of the city. From traditional and familiar territories to downright outlandish concepts, the great thing about these Shinjuku bars is that each bar has its own unique charm and quirkiness to it. It’s a rollercoaster ride, really, because there’s always something new and fun to try every time you visit one of these bars. And of course, it’s not just the alcohol and the booze that really makes visiting Shinjuku and its bars that caps off the night but the experience of setting foot to these bars, ordering your drink, and enjoying the night away with your company of friends.
One of the things to remember while visiting these Shinjuku bars is that some of the bars, because of the size of it, only allows regulars and don’t accept new patrons especially if they are gaijin (foreigners). You can easily spot these bars because their exteriors are not flashy and unwelcoming. However, this shouldn’t discourage you from scoring some of the best alcoholic drinks in the city because there are a lot of other Shinjuku bars out there and some of them are specifically made to cater to foreigners. One more thing, don’t forget to order some delicious and mouth-watering skewers to pair with your cold drink.
Best Bars in Shinjuku
Shinjuku is a city that doesn’t sleep and a night in it isn’t without having to visit these great bars spawled all over the city. There are countless choices of bars and drinking spots open until past midnight. Some of them are best with companions but if you like to keep it low-key, you can always find a rather intimate bar to share you’re your partner or maybe by yourself. Curated down are five of some of the best Shinjuku bars you should try.
- One of the first Shinjuku bars you should try is Albatross (Golden Gai 5th Street, 1-1-7 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo). Foreigner-friendly and definitely one for the locals, it’s filled with one of a kind art pieces, lots of personalities, and of course, their great choices of booze. You can pick your way up if you like beer or sake. Or if you’re feeling fancy, maybe some cocktails or sparkling wine. Uniquely charming, Albatross offers more than the drinks and the food but the life experience of sharing conversations and quality time with your company.
- With the faint smell of lit cigars, dim lighting, and the use of old hardwood furniture, you can easily detect the inspiration behind the beautiful Bar Le Parrain (3-6-13 Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo), which is The Godfather. You can already imagine the famous Don Corleone sitting down one of the couches and having soft conversations with his men. The bar may have that serious, adult atmospheric vibe in it but one can easily pick a classic drink and enjoy a wonderful night basking in the quiet. It’s one of the perfect places to cap off the night.
- Totokichi (3-6-13 Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo) is a classic izakaya bar which offers various selections of rare bottles from all over Japan. It lives up to its specialty, which is the Japanese sake and makes sure you get the best bottle in the country. One of the rules is that you can’t get it if you don’t drink sake. If you’re a first time, then this is the perfect place for you to get schooled with Japan’s favorite alcoholic drink. The food menu is also top quality and the house specialty is seafood, which is the perfect food to pair with your cold or warm Japanese sake.
- If a quick drink is all you need, then Berg (3-38-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo) is the one to go to. This casual place offers not only drinks but hearty meals from breakfast to dinner so basically, it’s the perfect place to visit when you want to eat and drink. If you’re one to enjoy some booze in the morning, they offer tap beer which is usually combined with food such as German sausages. Affordable and is located in such a convenient place, Berg is your go-to hangout place if you want to unwind, dine, and drink. Perfect for groups too.
- The Peak Lounge and Bar (41F Park Hyatt Hotel 3-7-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo) has a majestic view that will never go out of style. Used in Lost in Translation, a famous movie set in Japan, The Peak Lounge and Bar is always mentioned in top bars to visit in Shinjuku. What’s not to like? It has the perfect view, has a free-flowing wine, cocktails and finger food to offer, and that classy vibe into it. The best time to go here is at twilight to enjoy when you’re just in time for the happy hour.
- If you’re looking for something intimate, Caruso (Hirata Building 2F, 3-8-8 Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo) is the place to go. Enjoy top-quality liquor while listening to classical and opera music. With their soft and almost dim lighting, the place is perfect for those who like quiet times shared with their partner or few of their friends. Definitely not a bar for party drinking. It’s also a great place if you like to drink and enjoy a quality time alone.
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.