In Tokyo, there is no shortage of bars waiting to pour any variety of alcohol, however there are only some that offer more than the standard vodka-cranberries and mainstream beer. A drink should ease its consumer into joyful bliss, and the best way to accomplish this is to go somewhere in which the bartender really knows what they are doing. There is almost nothing worse than a half-assed cocktail; avoiding these is critical to having the perfect evening. Thankfully, the following is a collection of eclectic, quality Tokyo bars that offer a full range of options to suit any taste, from whisky to sake.
Bar Trench- for herb liquors and adventures
For those who put value in the details and nuances of their drinks, there is Bar Trench. This bar is like a secret hideaway, as it is located in a hidden alleyway near Ebisu. Combining this with Japan’s largest selection of bitters and a multitude of herb based liqueurs, Bar Trench is a center for restorative escape from reality. The cocktails that comprise the menu are sophisticated and inventive. These are meant to be savoured over a long evening of elevated conversation and cocktails.
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Twelv.- for all the best sake
At Twelv., Dmitry Bulakh, bronze prize winner at Sake Sommelier World Championship, pairs sake and food for an illuminating experience of the traditional Japanese liquor. The selection includes bio, premium, and craft sake in addition to organic, locally sourced fusion dishes. These are all served in a contemporary, minimalist space that allows the sake to truly stand out as the complex and enjoyable drink that it is; it is located directly off of the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line.
Ishinohana- for the ever-evolving vision of what a cocktail should be
Ishinohana, which is just a short walk from Shibuya Station, was founded by Shinobu Ishigaki, NBA Cocktail Competition winner and the Bacardi Martini Grand Prix Senior Champion. This bar offers a large menu of cocktails, but also goes beyond that. Every month, new cocktails are created and offered in a menu of recommendations. These come in the form of classic cocktails with modern twists as well as unique and new options, like the Claudia cocktail that is the favorite of many patrons.
Take a step outside of the city scene into Cabin Naka-Meguro, located just north of Meguro River Park. This bar features a massive selection of beverages, in fact it offers the quintessential options from every type of alcohol. They have beer, specialty cocktails, and house wines, including champagne du jour. The vibe ultimately is avant-garde, with warm lighting and rustic decor that is not commonly found in Tokyo bars. The drinks that are crafted and served here compliment the atmosphere perfectly, as they have an edge that exudes both style and comfort.
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This bar offers a wide variety of international craft beers. Mikkeller Tokyo, in the Shibuya area of the city, has a total of 20 beers on tap, with IPAs, ports, and everything in between. Each of these stands independent of any other beer in the world, as they are specifically chosen by Mikkel Borg Bjerso, renowned Danish beer aficionado, and his team for their distinctive flavors and recipes. For beer in Tokyo, this is the place to go.
The Hangar- for an evening of sake and art
This sake bar is unconventional as it combines the classic Japanese drink with its in-house art gallery. Exhibitions present pottery, glassware, and artwork accompanied by fine food and, of course, sake. The Hangar offers an elegant evening in this, to be found Aobadia section of Tokyo. Reservations for this experience are required, as the experience is so all encompassing of a Japanese cultural experience.
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Tokyo Whisky Library- for the whisky connoisseur
Another spot for whisky is the Tokyo Whisky Library, just a few blocks away from the Nezu Museum. 1,000 types of whisky make up the heart of the menu, but there is also a variety of cocktails. Each of these have been carefully designed by Michito Kaneko, who won the title World Champion of the World Classic 2015 Bartender competition. This venue offers a more edgy style, one that fosters intrigue and sass. This menu and setting makes its guests feel simply cool.
For more information on Do, Dine, and Spend in Tokyo, visit our Destinations page.