Shinjuku is a special ward in Tokyo, the capital of Japan, and it also happens to be the spot with the best nightlife in the country. As a major commercial hub with the busiest railway in the world, you know you can find some great spots to sip wine and slam shots, whichever you are into, in Shinjuku bars.
At just over seven square miles, this tiny village has over 346,000 residents and even more visitors every night so it can get pretty cosy. But you can find some places where you can have your own space to relax and unwind or join in with the group on the dance floor. But don’t bring backpacks and purses along on your night out. Leave your things at a Tokyo Bounce location and go enjoy the best things to do in Shinjuku.
Best bars in Golden Gai, Shinjuku
This tiny district is booming with bars. In fact, there are more than 200 of them in one small area of six streets. So, you can literally go from one to another all weekend long without having to go anywhere else. Most of them serve food so you can grab some food every so often too.
Having so many bars in one small area, you know they are going to be tiny so if you are looking for a big dance floor with lots of people, Golden Gai is not for you. This place has small bars that seat about six to eight people with names like Aces, Albatross, and Death Match.
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Ace’s is one of the great bars in Golden Gai where you can get in without a cover charge, enjoy amazing music, and get affordable drinks. Also, the staff speaks English so you will not have to just guess what you are drinking. The atmosphere is friendly too with lots of tourists.
This place is very popular with the locals with its Gothic and Edwardian style featuring a disco ball, stag heads, and chandeliers. It is one of the larger ones in Golden Gai with two floors and a roof terrace for small groups. The cover charge is under $5, and the drinks are cheap.
No cover charge, loud music, and cheap drinks. What more could you ask for in a bar? You won’t find any seats or tables here as it is all just a counter, and you may have a hard time squeezing in on the weekend. If you enjoy death metal and horror flicks, you will never want to leave.
Best bars in Kabukicho, Shinjuku
Another tiny space with lots of bars to choose from, Kabukicho is more lit up than Golden Gai. It is full of nightclubs, hotels, shops, and neon lights. In the 1940s, it was being built up as a kabuki theatre area, but it never happened so now it is a colourful club area.
There are several movie theatres though, where you can catch a movie or a live performance and it is near Shinjuku Station, so it is easy to get around here. Today, the area is filled with discos, video arcades, and bars where you can kick back and have a drink.
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This is not a tiny side street bar like in Golden Gai. Warp has three floors with room for more than 1,000 people. The main level is known as the Universe Floor and holds 600 people in a Solar System entertainment space. The cover charge is higher than the small places but worth it if you want to party.
Rock Bar Crawdaddy Club
You won’t find many rock n roll clubs in Japan anywhere, so this hidden gem is a great find for those who like to rock. Most of the people here speak English, there is no cover charge, and the drinks are easy to pronounce. They also serve delicious food and free snacks.
This is your typical shot bar with lots of people, music, fun, and games. And of course, plenty of shots to be tried. The cover charge is under $5, and drinks are around $7 to $8 whether you get shots, cocktails, beer, or wine. The food is even cheaper at about $4. And the atmosphere is casual and friendly.
Best bars in Downtown Shinjuku
All around Shinjuku Station, you can find clubs, bars, restaurants, and shopping malls to enjoy. Besides all that, you can also find the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, which is also a fun place to relax and enjoy the city at night. The 144-acre park is stunning any time of day.
The Shinjuku Wald 9 Movie Theatre is located on the top five floors of the Shinjuku Marui Annex Mall and is the largest movie theatre in the country. But there are also a lot of clubs to enjoy with dancing, drinking, and entertainment.
This is possibly the only jazz bar in Japan and is considered an old-school subterranean jazz club with live shows every afternoon and evening. Opened in 1966, locals call it the most important jazz club in the country. Some of the major performers over the years include Keiko Lee, Otomo Yoshihide, and John Zorn.
So definitely, one of the more interesting Shinjuku bars you could visit.
Dub Club Reggae
If you are looking for reggae music, head over to the Dub Club Reggae where they play all night. It’s a small space filled with people every night drinking, dancing, and just listening to great music. The owner and workers speak English, and the prices are great with no cover charge.
The shelves are filled with beer and whiskey, the menu is full of delicious meals and snacks, and the staff speaks English. This may just be the closest you will get to a sports bar in Japan. Small and quiet, Road House is perfect for enjoying a brew while you watch the game on the big screen.
Hotels in Shinjuku
At the end of your night, or early morning, rejuvenate with some good sleep and food at your hotel before heading out to enjoy another night on the town. In Shinjuku, you will find hundreds of hotels ranging in price from $25 to $300. And many of them have bars and clubs of their own.
Read on about the best places to stay in Shinjuku and other areas of Tokyo.
Conclusion about best Shinjuku bars
Shinjuku definitely has some incredible places for enjoying the nightlife, doesn’t it?
But if after a long night dancing, drinking, and dining you’d like to enjoy something calmer, head on over to our Tokyo itinerary – you’ll find quite a few things to inspire you!
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