Tokyo

The sheer diversity of nightlife in Tokyo is breathtaking. Rickety street stands sit yards away from luxury hotels, and wallet-crunching hostess clubs can be found next to cheap and raucous rock bars. Whatever your style, you'll find yourself in good company if you venture out after dark.

Most bars and clubs in the main entertainment districts have printed price lists, often in English. Drinks generally cost ¥800–¥1,200, although some small exclusive bars and clubs can set you back a lot more. Be wary of establishments without visible price lists. Hostess clubs and small backstreet bars known as "snacks" or "pubs" can be particularly treacherous territory for the unprepared. That drink you've just ordered could set you back a reasonable ¥1,000; you might, on the other hand, have wandered unknowingly into a place that charges you ¥30,000 up front for a whole bottle—and slaps a ¥20,000 cover charge on top. If the bar has hostesses, it's often unclear what the companionship of one will cost you, but you can bet a lot. Ignore the persuasive shills on the streets of Roppongi and Kabuki-cho, who will try to hook you into their establishment. There is, of course, plenty of safe ground: in hotel lounges, jazz clubs, Irish-themed pubs, sake bars, and sedate retreats where the social lubricant flows past millions of tonsils nightly.

Major nightlife districts in Tokyo include Aoyama, Ginza, Roppongi, Shibuya, Shinbashi, and Shinjuku. Each has a unique atmosphere, clientele, and price level.

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  • 1. Aiiro Cafe

    Shinjuku-ku | Bars/Pubs

    Almost every great gay night out begins at this welcoming street-corner pub with a large red shrine gate, where the patrons spill out onto the...Read More

  • 2. Arty Farty

    Shinjuku-ku | Bars/Pubs

    Cheap and cheesy, Arty Farty is a fun club, complete with a ministage and stripper pole. Those with aversions to Kylie or Madonna need not bother...Read More

  • 3. Dragon Men

    Shinjuku-ku | Bars/Pubs

    Tokyo's swankiest gay lounge, the neon-lit space would look right at home in New York or Paris. ...Read More

  • 4. GB

    Shinjuku-ku | Bars/Pubs

    Video monitors at this club show contemporary music hits. On weekends the place is packed with rather quiet and reserved gentlemen, mostly in...Read More

  • 5. Gold Finger

    Shinjuku-ku | Bars/Pubs

    This relaxed bar for "women who love women" is a cozy den of vintage lamps and cafélike ambience. Men are welcome on Friday; Saturday is women-only. ...Read More

  • 6. ArcHs

    Shinjuku-ku | Dance Clubs

    The spacious basement joint hosts a wide range of events for gays and lesbians every night. The events include thirtysomething nights and underwear...Read More

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