8 Recommended Cheap but Great Bars in Tokyo!

8 Recommended Cheap but Great Bars in Tokyo

The perception of Tokyo bars as expensive is less true these days. As belts are tightened and recession bites, people have less money for entertainments, so many low price drinking options have sprung up. Nomihodai (happy hour) has long been a part of Tokyo bar culture, while the senbero (get drunk for ¥1,000) boom and other drink-all-you-can offers have transformed weekday drinking habits. I’ve come up with a few suggested venues from my experience.



 

8 Recommended Cheap but Great Bars in Tokyo!

 

1. Hub: British Style Pub

8 Recommended Cheap but Great Bars in Tokyo hub

(flickr By James Willamor)

Hub, a chain of British Style pubs all over Tokyo, my ‘local’ being the one in Shinjuku! With their cosmopolitan clientele, realistic pub atmosphere, many foreign ales and good food, they’re a refreshing change from standard Tokyo bars. The prices are always cheap, with many special offers and a generous nomihodai between 4 and 7pm.

 

2. Hanbey: Izakaya

8 Recommended Cheap but Great Bars in Tokyo hanbey

(flickr By yamada kazuyuki)

Izakaya refers to traditional Japanese inns serving food and drink, somewhat like a tapas bar. There are thousands of these and, though not all are cheap, many offer cheap drinks and nomihodai. Hanbey, with 17 branches in Tokyo, including Shibuya, Shinjuku and Ebisu, is my husband’s choice for their cheap prices, amazing decor and hip atmosphere.

 

3. Kin no Kura: Izakaya

8 Recommended Cheap but Great Bars in Tokyo kin no kura

(flickr By Junpei Abe)

This Izakaya franchise, with a lot of shops all over Tokyo (several in Shinjuku, Ikebukuro and Shibuya) is easily recognized by the large red ‘¥270’ sign. Not quite everything on the menu is priced that cheaply, but most is, including beers. From a selected menu, a drink & eat all-you-can in two hours nomihodai is available for ¥3,280 with printable coupons from their website.

 

4. Mistral Bleu: Train Bar

There are a few train-themed Tokyo bars, but Mistral Bleu is actually set inside an old railway carriage somehow installed on the ground floor of the ROI Building, 5 minutes from Roppongi Crossing. Classic rock and cheap drinks have made this bar a popular, friendly and truly cosmopolitan venue.

 

5. Jumanji 55: Bar/Club

Another popular Tokyo bar in Roppongi, Jumaji 55 offers a number of nomihodai options, but most weeknights you can drink-all-you-can between 7 and 11pm for ¥1,000. Apparently, the nomihodai for women is even more generous.

 

6. Havana Café: Cafe Bar

Also in Roppongi, this popular Tokyo bar has one of the best happy hours in the city, where, from 4-11pm most drinks are between ¥200-400 each. Havana Café also serves very reasonably-priced and delicious Tex-Mex bar dishes.

 

7. Shinshu Osake Mura: Standing Bar

8 Recommended Cheap but Great Bars in Tokyo Shinshu Osake Mura

(flickr By Tranpan23)

Probably most people discover this ‘hole in the wall’ type bar by accident, or by word of mouth. Literally meaning ‘Shinshu Alcohol Village’, this small, standing only bar specialises in sake and craft beers from Nagano. As many as 40 varieties of sake are offered, including seasonal limited-editions. Most cost ¥300-500 for a 110ml glass, while bottled, canned or draft craft beers start at around ¥250 – a real bargain for serious drinkers. Find it in the ground floor mall, Shimbashi Ekimae Building, close to Shimbashi Station.

 

8. Uchidaya Nishiyama Fukunosuke Shoten: Kaku-uchi

I didn’t know this, but kaku-uchi means drinking at a liquor store. Uchidaya Nishiyama Fukunosuke Shoten, close to Mita Station, is just such a standing only bar. It offers beers and shochu (Japanese spirit) at extremely low prices, such as Sapporo Red Star lager at ¥350 for a large bottle! A limited range of bar snacks is also available, but it is the traditional style that is attracting many younger drinkers, especially as an evening of drinking can be had for around ¥1000.

 

Conclusion

I’m sure the above is nowhere near an exhaustive list of cheap Tokyo bars, but it’s the best I can do as one who rarely drinks anything stronger than Oolong tea. But with so many cheap drinks and nomihodai on offer, it’s a wonder drinkers can even remember where they’ve been or what they spent. Your dinner’s in the dog!

 

8 Recommended Cheap but Great Bars in Tokyo!

1. Hub: British Style Pub
2. Hanbey: Izakaya
3. Kin no Kura: Izakaya
4. Mistral Bleu: Train Bar
5. Jumanji 55: Bar/Club
6. Havana Café: Cafe Bar
7. Shinshu Osake Mura: Standing Bar
8. Uchidaya Nishiyama Fukunosuke Shoten: Kaku-uchi