Madeline and I have been to quite a few bars while living in Tokyo. Usually it’s for a light dinner of pub food that can be quite tasty in Tokyo.
If you’re going to drink in Tokyo, you’ll have to get used to the prices. To most Americans, a $10 glass of beer will shock the system more than the beer.
While we let the younger folks hang out all night, we’ve found some places we think are good for a drink or two and maybe some food. Enjoy!
Also check out our other Tokyo posts.
Legends Sports Bar, Roppongi
Legends is a great spot in Roppongi for watching international sports while enjoying a great burger and beer.
It’s a small restaurant and bar toward the edge of the Roppongi area. It has sidewalk seating, which adds to the space. Legend’s main draw is watching international sports, which you might not have in your hotel room. If the sport you want to watch was overnight, Legends will record it and play it later.
The burgers at Legends are good, and there’s a decent selection of beer. You’ll likely meet people from Australia and New Zealand watching rugby or soccer and you’ll learn a lot about those two sports.
Hobgoblin is next door to Legends. They’re on the main street in Roppongi. If you walk toward the Tokyo Tower, you’ll easily find it.
As you enter Hobgoblin, you’ll see a large English or Irish-style bar. On most nights, people will meet here and have a few beers.
Hobgoblin has several of their own special brews, but you can also order Heineken or other name beers.
We like their Sunday Roast, particularly if you’ve been missing American or English food. Hobgoblin also serves bangers and mash, pasties, fish and chips and the usual pub fare. I’d rate the food as average, but the beer selection and the comradery make the bar work.
Beer, particularly in Roppongi, is expensive by American standards. A pint will set you back $8 to $10. Lots of expats go to Hobgoblin to watch football (or soccer) or rugby or American sports on tape delay.
Hobgoblin is a great place with its own unique atmosphere. We think you’ll like it. If you do, look for their other locations around Tokyo.
Mistral Bleu, Roppongi
Mistral Bleu, or Train Bar, is so small you’ll likely miss it before you find it. It’s the size of a small Metro car. But on busy nights, 30 or 40 people will pack themselves in drinking and telling stories. Mistral’s staff are very friendly; we’ve frequently played dice games with them!
Thousands of pictures adorn the walls, ceiling and just about anywhere else you look.
If you come for happy hour, the beer and cocktails are cheap. Mistral opens at seven o’clock in the evening and stays open until the wee hours. You’ll see lots of pictures of happy customers all over the place. There are so many pictures they are stuck on top of each other forming a kind of wallpaper. You’ll see signed local currencies from all over, too, stuck to the ceiling or the walls. It’s a great stop if you’re in Roppongi.
When we’ve visited, streaming music was available, but the bar owner prefers his selection of CDs. He has hundreds of them, and he asks what people want to hear. A minute later, it was playing. Mistral is a fun place. I recommend going for happy hour, eating at a restaurant on the avenue, and then going back for a nightcap. Don’t miss the Train Bar!
Dubliners' Irish Pub, Shinjuku
Dubliners' is a small pub in the Shinjuku area, very near Shinjuku Station. This pub has a nice assortment of typical pub fare along with very good choices of beer.
The interior of Dubliners' feels like you are in Ireland at a local pub. The bar looks authentic, and signs on the wall advertise Guinness, Harp and other brews from Ireland.
Unfortunately for nonsmokers, there is no ban on smoking. You might get a spot close to smokers. Ask if to be moved if you feel you’re too close.
Dubliners' is a nice spot to stop if you are around the Shinjuku Station before heading to your hotel.
The Rose & Crown, Shinjuku
At the Rose & Crown you’ll feel like you’ve entered a British pub but with a Japanese sense of style. Yet it's located in a huge, modern high-rise building.
Some items are recognizable as typical pub fare, but most are for Japanese tastes. But the beer is good, and you’ll find something to eat or snack on whatever your tastes.
Just outside the Rose & Crown is a huge mechanical clock in the atrium of the high-rise building in which the bar is located.
The Tipplers Arms, Azabujuban
The Tipplers Arms is a great little British-style pub in Azabujuban.
We went to grab a pint on a Sunday, and they offered many appetizing menu items: traditional roast beef and gravy, fish and chips, Guinness beef pie and many others. The women that run the Tipplers Arms are cheerful and they hustle to quickly serve all their patrons.
It’s a small pub that holds maybe 30 people. But the Tipplers Arms is a great place to go while you’re in Azabujuban. We recommend it!