From precision-crafted classic cocktails to fresh fruit concoctions, from well-curated wine bars to the world's best whisky and sake, Tokyo has a drinking scene to match your style.
Rooftop Bar, Andaz Tokyo
From the 52nd floor of the new Toranomon Hills building, the expansive views from the rooftop bar of Andaz Tokyo are heart-stoppingly lovely.
Decorated in wood and earth tones, the ambiance recalls the traditional Japanese tearoom. Some of the original drinks also draw on this theme, using tea and fresh fruit as ingredients. Live music is usually on offer in the evenings (not available during the winter) and they also regularly host special dining and drinking events, so check the website.
52F, 1-23-4 Toranomon, Minato-ku, +81 (0)3 6830 1234, restaurants.andaztokyo.jp/jp
© Jessica Kozuka
The barkeep and eponymous owner honed his bartending skills in some of New York's hottest watering holes, but the approach at his wood-toned eight-seater bar in Azabu Juban is pared down with a Zen simplicity, craftsmanship and attention to detail to rival the strictest kaiseki chef.
Yamamoto creates daily flights of four or six cocktails that focus on seasonally available produce and unique spirits, blended to produce interesting flavour progressions and an overall harmony. Enjoying one of his courses as an aperitif is the absolute best way to start a luxurious night out in Tokyo.
1-6-4 Azabu-Juban, Minato-ku, +81 (0)3-6434-0652, www.genyamamoto.jp
These Library Lounge
Courtesy of Facebook/These
If you have ever harboured fantasies about partying after hours in the library, These—pronounced in the German way—will be a dream come true. Hidden on a back street and behind an unassuming entrance, this bar offers two floors of moody lighting, wall-to-wall books, and even a secret room behind a bookshelf.
Since it is open to the early morning, it is a popular place to end the night among the expat crowd. They specialise in cocktails made with fresh fruit: choose a piece from the fruit bowl, select an alcoholic mixer and let the bartender concoct something memorable.
Nishi Azabu 2-15-12, Minato-ku, +81 (0)3 5466 7331, www.these-jp.com
Two Rooms Bar and Grill
Courtesy of Two Rooms
Inside, you have a sophisticated wood and leather decor with 50,000-year-old New Zealand swamp kauri, and out on the terrace, you have spectacular views of the Tokyo skyline. Whichever you choose, Two Rooms offers exquisite ambiance to enjoy your tipple in.
Wine drinkers will appreciate the 1800-bottle cellar pulling from the New World and Old. Try the 2003 Sin Qua Non "Papa" Syrah to see just how good Californian wines can be. Those who prefer cocktails will enjoy their extensive selection of whiskies and their summery mojitos instead.
5F AO Building, 3-11-7 Kita-Aoyama, Minato-ku, +81 (0)3-3498-0002, www.tworooms.jp
The BAR, Xex Daikanyama
Courtesy of Facebook/XEX
The BAR at Xex Daikanyama feels more like a South East Asian resort than a bar in the heart of one of Tokyo's trendiest neighbourhoods. With wood lounge chairs clustered around a central fountain, you could be excused for thinking you were poolside in paradise. However, although Singha is on the menu, the real name of the drinking game here is champagne, whether by the glass or the bottle. The nightly live music is also more Manhattan than Maldives. But wherever or whatever this bar is, it is definitely a hit with Tokyo's urban professionals.
3F La Fuente Daikanyama, 11-1 Sarugaku-cho, Shibuya-ku, +81 (0)03-3476-0065, www.xexgroup.jp/en/daikanyama/bar
Bar High Five
Courtesy of Bar High Five
Bar High Five consistently makes the list of Asia's top bars, thanks to the skill of owner Hidetsugu Ueno, a legend in the Tokyo scene and a master of hand-carved ice. The bar itself is rather simple and not unlike many of the other small drinking establishments you'll find in Ginza, but the cocktails are something else entirely.
Rather than offer you a menu, Ueno or his head bartender Kaori Kurakami will quiz you on your likes, dislikes and mood and then craft a perfect cocktail for you at that moment. Simple or complex, they are executed with flair and precision, satisfying a thirst you didn't even know you had.
Efflore Ginza5 Bldg. BF, 5-4-15 Ginza, Chuo-ku, +81 (0)3 3571-5815, www.barhighfive.com