Header image courtesy of Tokyo Whisky Library
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the bustling, buzzing Tokyo is home to an abundance of eateries and drinking spots. Tourists may flock here primarily for the sushi and ramen, but the nightlife is just as hot on the radar. Serving specialities from premium Japanese whiskey to fruity sake, here are the best bars in Tokyo to drink in gourmet glory.
Decked in sepia-tone, Bar Trench pays tribute to authentic cocktail culture. Headed by bartender Rogerigo Igarashi Vaz, the Japanese-Brazilian co-owner, the bar is well-loved for its innovative drinks, which include the iconic Black Manhattan and the Monkey Gland. A tiny watering hole with a big reputation, the bar is frequented by locals and tourists alike, looking for an ambient setting to devour their drinks. It’s located in the Ebisu neighbourhood, and exudes a chic, cosmopolitan atmosphere. Its nearby partner, Bar Tram, is also worth a visit, and both of which have been featured on numerous internationally-acclaimed best bar lists.
Bar Trench, 1F, 1-5-8 Ebisu-Nishi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan | (+81) 3 3780 5291
Are you a sake fan? Then Gem by Moto is your go-to destination. The izakaya space is drinks driven, and if you ask bar manager Marie Chiba for recommendations, they’ll curate one specifically to match your mood and taste. The counter-only space also serves delectable bar snacks, best for a well-deserved, post-work or post-day-out treat to accompany some good sake. Whether you’re out celebrating, or just having a tipple on a Friday night, this casual spot will make for a memorable night, thanks to its friendly staff and quality cocktails.
Gem by Moto, 1 Chome-30-9 Ebisu, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0013, Japan | (+81) 50 3462 5404
Feel the buzz of the vibrant 90s at 8bit Café, which takes nostalgia to another level. The venue features Super Mario merchandise and old-school posters plastered around the walls. If you’re a gamer, you’d be happy to know that all the cocktails are named after video games and characters. Kick back and relax with a taste of yesteryear, and play a few games whilst you’re at it. The bar and café will keep you preoccupied for hours on end.
8bit Café, Q Building. 5F, 3-8-9 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan | (+81) 3 3358 0407
For a taste of the pub atmosphere in Japan, head to Goodbeer Faucets—you'll be taken on a beer-driven journey. Featuring a selection of Japanese and international craft beers, the bar is nestled in the heart of the bustling Shibuya district. The spacious, chrome-coloured venue is the work of Teruya Hori, who runs the online retailer Goodbeer and built the bar’s own incredible tap system. Test the waters by trying an innovative beer—the chai beer, for example, is a must.
Goodbeer Faucets, Shibuya Crossroad Building 2F, 1-29-1 Shoto, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan | (+81) 3 3770 5544
Deemed as Japan’s modern-day alchemist, Hiroyasu Kayama is the brains behind the bespoke botanical infusions and cocktails at Ben Fiddich. Serving seasonal mixes and classics, the bar focuses on using natural ingredients to build refreshing remedies for thirsty souls. The service is as hospitable as it gets, and the ambience retains a quiet, moody feeling. Try something vintage from the shelf, or of course, one of Kayama’s highly-prized recipes, to see what the fuss is all about.
Ben Fiddich, Yamatoya Building. 9F, 1-13-7 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan | (+81) 3 6258 0309
Spread across a vast and glamorous space, Tokyo Whisky Library specialises in exactly what you’d expect—premium whisky. Carrying over 1,000 international varieties, displayed upon sleek bookshelves, the bar is helmed by award-winning mixologist Michito Kaneko, who curates unique cocktails based on the classic whisky-based Old Fashioned. Whether you’re a beginner or a total fanatic, the bartenders will be more than happy to cater to your personal palate. Plus, the plush, comfortable sofas at the bar make for a relaxing ambience, matched with the dark wood and brick walls for a sense of mystery—bring a date here, or head out with friends for some pre-night-out indulgence.
Tokyo Whisky Library, Minami-Aoyama Santa Chiara Church 2F, 5-5-24 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan | (+81) 3 6434 1163