The 6 Best Bars in Shinjuku Golden Gai – Time Travel to the Early 20th-Century Tokyo | FAST JAPAN
Shinjuku Golden Gai
Shinjuku

The 6 Best Bars in Shinjuku Golden Gai – Time Travel to the Early 20th-Century Tokyo

Enjoy the night life here in Tokyo by visiting Shinjuku's Golden Gai where close to 300 bars and eateries exist in the narrow alleyways, preserved in the early 20th century.

Shinjuku Golden Gai
Photo Credit: kennejima@flickr.com

Among the dense high rise developments with much wider roads there is a tiny section, about 6 narrow alleys connected by even narrower passageways, in Shinjuku that remains in a time warp from the early 20th century. This tiny area of Shinjuku is known to the locals as Golden Gai and is gaining popularity among the foreigners. The “secrecy”  of Golden Gai makes foreign visitors feel like they have found an unexpected treasure here in Tokyo.

Shinjuku Golden Gai

Believe it or not there are close to 300 bars and eateries packed in this tiny space; tucked away in between the Shinjuku City Office and the Hanazono Shrine. Most of them are tiny bars with some of them only big enough for 4-5 customers. Each bar and eatery, however, has its own unique concept and theme which you can observe from their decors or bar atmosphere.

Shinjuku Golden Gai
Photo Credit: kennejima@flickr.com

Though the time stands still in the early 20th century era here in Golden Gai, the drinks and food are no less than any high-end bar in quality. Let’s check out 6 bars that are recommended.

 

#1. Kenzo’s Bar

Kenzo's Bar
Photo Credit: the-goldengai.com

Kenzo’s Bar welcomes you into a world of leopard print patterns with its exterior and interior decor! To say that Kenzo, the owner of Kenzo’s Bar as you could have guessed it, loves leopard prints is an understatement. Other than his leopard prints, Rock and Popular music from the 80s genre, Politics, and Stage Play are the themes here at Kenzo’s Bar. His customers, many of them foreigners, are entertained by his “small talk.” His friendliness and the atmosphere of his bar makes it comfortable even for non-regulars to stop by. Come and experience Kenzo’s world yourself at Kenzo’s Bar while enjoying beer and sake.

Kenzo’s Bar

Address: 2F, 1-1-7 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo

Opening Hours: 8:00pm – 5:00am

Seats: 13

Reservation: Yes

Estimated Cost: 2,000 yen +

Phone: 090-9847-5563

Website: KENZOS BAR (twitter)

 

#2. Bar Darling

Bar Darling
Photo Credit: the-goldengai.com

The number one recommended female friendly establishment is Bar Darling. This is a very reasonable shot bar that welcomes adults as long as they have a good common sense. The owner of Bar Darling is an actor who has been in many different theatre plays, movies, and shows. Because of that, many media related personalities visit the bar often. There are more than 100 kinds of alcoholic beverages to choose from. There is also an abundant amount of liqueur and single malt drinks prepared to your liking. On top of all that, their daily appetizers also receive good reviews. The female staff is very easy going and full of personality which is an added feature of this bar.

Bar Darling

Address: 1-1-5 Kabukicho,  Shinjuku, Tokyo

Opening Hours: 09:00 PM- 06:00 AM
08:00 PM – 06:00 AM (Saturday)

Seats: 8

Reservation: Yes

Estimated Cost: 1,300 yen
*No credit cards

Phone: 03-5272-1270

Website: Bar Darling

 

#3. Albatross

Albatross
Photo Credit: the-goldengai.com

One of the most fancy interiors at the Golden Gai can be found here in the Albatross. Gorgeous crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling asthe disco balls cast light and shadows across the room. Albatross certainly makes a bold impression to its customers. The deer head hanging on the wall also gives a big impression. On the second floor, customers can enjoy different art exhibits of photos, paintings, illustrations, etc. For art lovers this the perfect place to visit. Albatross is where you can enjoy some nice drinks as well as viewing art pieces all at the same time.

Albatross

Address: 1-1-7 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo

Opening Hours: 07:00 PM – 5:00 AM

Seats: 8

Reservation: No

Estimated Cost: 1,500 yen
*No credit cards

Phone: 03-3203-3699

Website: Albatross

 

#4. Bitter Orange

As you step into the Bitter Orange bar, you are welcomed by very soft orange glow of light enveloping the whole bar and the staffs’ warm smiles. The staff at Bitter Orange are attractive and dream to be actors one day. There are many kinds of sake, fruit wine, beer and cocktails to choose from, which the owner has specifically picked. Bitter Orange wishes to be a place where its customers can have fun and relax. A bar immersed in a warm hue of orange light certainly helps to create a relaxing atmosphere.

Bitter Orange

Address: 3rd street, 1-1-7 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo

Opening Hours: 21:00-5:00

Seats: 7

Reservation: Yes

Estimated Cost: 2,000 yen~4,000 yen
*No credit cards

Phone: 03-5285-8841

 

#5. Bistro Pavo

Bistro Pavo, as its name suggests, is a bar restaurant where you can enjoy delicious dishes with your favorite drinks. Every dish is only 500 yen and each glass of drink costs only 600 yen, making it reasonable for customers; even for those who visit alone. There are varieties of daily specials and it’s worth mentioning that their pasta and risotto dishes are very popular.

Bistro Pavo

Address: 1-1-5 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo

Opening Hours: 05:00 PM – 03:00 PM

Seats: 12

Reservation: Yes

Estimated Cost: 2,000 yen

Credit cards: VISA, JCB and others

Phone: 03-6273-8282

Website: Bistro Pavo

 

#6. Happy

Happy
Photo Credit: the-goldengai.com

Feeling nostalgic? Miss the good old days? Here at Happy bar, Rock, Soul, and Blues music from the 60s to the 80s are played every night on JBL speakers at full volume. Japanese rock music from the Showa era is another category well loved. You can also find a large collection of around 3,000 analog records from bands such as the Beatles, Rolling Stones, N.Y. Dolls, or Japanese bands such as Down Town Boogie Woogie Band, The Roosters, etc. If you also like to dance, don’t miss their Disco Night held every last Friday of the month. Its a fun and happy way to end the week for sure.

Happy

Address: Maruha building 3F, 1-1-7 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo

Opening Hours: 09:00 PM – 06:00 AM

Seats: 10-15

Reservation: Yes

Estimated Cost: 1,300 yen~3,000 yen
*No credit cards

Phone: 03-3208-3171

 

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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Golden Gai, a noite alternativa no coração de Tóquio (são mais de 200 bares!) | Alma de Viajante

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