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The Best Bars in Tokyo

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From traditional Izakayas (Japanese pubs) to modern watering holes, Tokyo’s bar scene makes for a spectacular night on the town. High-end sake tasting bars with regional brands from all over Japan? Check. Whiskey bars that feature Japanese whiskey alongside hundreds of bottles covering every known distillery and vintage, single malts and much more from Scotland, Ireland, and the U.S.? You bet. Bars that focus on seasonal cocktails and logal ingredients? Of course. Brewpubs with the best local and overseas craft beers available? Affirmative. If you’ve got the thirst, Tokyo’s got the drinking spot.
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Japan, 〒107-0062 Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku, Minamiaoyama, 7 Chome−13−12 南青山森ビル 2F
Owner Nobiyuki Nakamura’s whiskey obsession is on display at his scotch bar. He has a full collection of traditional Irish whiskeys and Scottish single malts. The whole place is obsessive, right down to the hand-carved ice cubes that go into the...
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3-7-1-2, 3丁目-7 西新宿 新宿区 東京都 163-1055, Japan
Immortalized on celluloid in the film Lost in Translation, the modernist Park Hyatt may have the sexiest cocktail bar in all of Tokyo. The rest of the property—set on the upper floors of the three connecting columns of the 770-foot Shinjuku...
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Japan, 〒105-0013 Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku, Hamamatsuchō, 2 Chome−13−12 ライズウェルビル 1F
While the craft beer revolution was busy sweeping the US, Japan was getting left behind, content with admittedly tasty but decidedly stodgy national brew brands like Asahi and Kirin. Thanks to strict tax laws prohibiting brewers from producing...
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2 Chome Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0002, Japan
Ishi no Hana in Shibuya is one of the most progressive bars in the city. The mixologist, Shinobu Ishigaki, creates forward-thinking, modern concoctions from rare seasonal ingredients such as saffron syrup and lavender brought over from Hokkaido. —...
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Japan, 〒104-0061 Tōkyō-to, Chūō-ku, Ginza, 3 Chome−5−8 銀座らん月BF1
I was with friends who wanted to learn about sake. Our biggest challenge was finding someplace open for lunch. Sake no Ana in Ginza was not only a great find, the variety and selection of sake was amazing. The sake sommelier here, Sakamoto-san (no...
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1 Chome-20-20-13 Jingūmae, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 150-0001, Japan
American Bryan Baird makes some of the best craft beer in Japan at a brewery in Numazu, Shizuoka, with a few branches in Tokyo. The Harajuku Taproom is just off boisterous Takeshita Dori, packed with Japan’s kawaii youth and featuring...
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1 Chome-1-1 Uchisaiwaichō, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō-to 100-8558, Japan
The Old Imperial Bar is an old-school Tokyo bar favored by some of Japan’s political and financial elite, who come for its demure and consistent service. The popular bar snack kaki pi—spicy rice crackers and peanuts—originated...
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Japan, 〒160-0023 Tōkyō-to, Shinjuku-ku, Nishishinjuku, 1 Chome−13−7 大和家ビル 9F
Hiroyasu Kayama is both scientist and bartender at this bar on the ninth floor of an office building. Kayama has a collection of dried herbs, spices, and even bugs on the shelves behind the bar. The best seats are at the counter, where you can...
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Japan, 〒106-0045 Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku, Azabujūban, 1 Chome−6−4 アニバーサリービル1F
Specializing in seasonal cocktails and with just eight tables inside, this quiet bar sits on a narrow side street in Azabu-Juban. There's no music, and Gen Yamamoto’s presence is more like a mixologist monk than a boisterous bartender. The...
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Japan, 〒150-0021 Tokyo, Shibuya, Ebisunishi, 1 Chome−5−8 DISビル 102
And there’s the cocktails. Utterly unique (e.g., the South Americano, made of Gran Classico, Antica Formula and aged Cachaça) and based on recipes of a bygone era, they are the centerpiece of this teatro de alcohol and are blended...