Best bars: Tokyo's top happy hour deals
Whether you prefer a luxury hotel with views over Tokyo’s glittering skyline or a cosy dive bar decked out with paper lanterns, here’s where to get the best happy hour deals in Japan’s capital.
- October 2018
For great views visit Peter: The Bar
At the top of The Peninsula Tokyo hotel, the sleek gold and chrome décor of the bar competes with the city views. You’ll feel like a celebrity up here but from 5-8pm on Sunday through to Thursday, the prices are a bit more down-to-earth – all drinks are about AUD $9. Try the signature Tokyo Joe, a potent blend of plum liqueur, gin, Drambuie and cranberry juice. Afterwards, head to “yakitori alley” – a hundred-metre stretch of tiny restaurants located under the train tracks nearby – and end your night dining on smoky yakitori skewers (Japan’s delicious take on fast food).
Craft brews are found at Goodbeer Faucets
With 40 microbrews on tap, plus a great selection of Japanese and American craft beers, you’re sure to find a new favourite in this relaxed bar. With its bare interior, Goodbeer Faucets focuses entirely on the crisp, refreshing draught beers – including Baird Beer from Shizuoka and Atsugi Beer from Kanagawa – that spill from the glistening taps. Happy hour runs from 4-8pm, Monday to Thursday and 3-8pm Sunday, with about AUD $2.50 off pints. Don’t miss the house GBF Gyaru Blond, named for the Shibuya neighbourhood’s famously outrageous fashionistas.
Movie magic happens at The Peak Bar
Settle into the bamboo grove on the 41st floor of the Park Hyatt, forever known as the Lost In Translation hotel. With views across the twinkling towers of Shinjuku and out to Mount Fuji, happy hour, or “Twilight Time”, at The Peak Bar is a must. From 5-8pm nightly, enjoy free-flowing drinks and canapés for about AUD $58 per person. Try the Bamboo Adventure, watermelon juice and matcha tea spiked with rum, it might just help you work out what Bill Murray whispered at the end of the 2003 film.
Beer Saurus is a sports bar with a twist
After a day exploring northern Tokyo, soak up the moody Jurassic Park-style atmosphere with the locals at Beer Saurus. Watch some baseball on the big screen and toast the dinosaur figures plastered on the wall and scattered around the bar. Dinosaurs and beer – what could go wrong? There’s a rotating selection of Japanese and American craft brews on tap, which are half-price during happy hour, every day from 5-7pm. Food at this student hangout in the Ikebukuro neighbourhood is above average for pub grub, ranging from oysters to kangaroo steak, plus a few vegetarian options.
Experience the local vibes of Dizz
West of Shinjuku, the Koenji district is a maze of narrow streets, lined with cool little bars and restaurants. Paper lantern-festooned Dizz, close to Koenji Station, is a local favourite. Happy hour runs from 5-7pm on weekdays, with discounted sets starting at AUD $12 for an appetiser, drink and three yakitori skewers served with rich miso sauce – it’s a house speciality. Don’t be surprised if you end the night with 20 new friends!
Get street smart at 6th by Oriental Hotel
Named for its location six streets from Tokyo Station, 6th by Oriental Hotel offers street-side dining – a rarity in Tokyo. Located in the moneyed Marunouchi district, this lively bistro is decorated with sailing paraphernalia in a nod to the original Oriental Hotel (orientalhotel.jp) in the port town of Kobe. From 5.30-7.30pm on weekdays, enjoy drinks and small plates with an Italian twist for about AUD $6 each. Try one of the more offbeat cocktails such as the Earl Grey Cosmopolitan.
When it comes time for sake, don’t miss Kurand Sake Market
Every hour is happy hour in Ueno. For about AUD $39, you can drink as much sake as you want, for as long as you want – or can handle – at Kurand Sake Market. With more than 100 varieties of sake on offer and industrial-sized refrigerators stocked and ready to go, there’s a good chance you’ll be headed for a serious hangover. To remind patrons to keep hydrated, there’s a call for water every hour. Plus, they encourage you to bring your own food so load up on snacks! If the idea of limitless sake is a bit much, they have lighter offers. About AUD $12 will buy you 30 minutes of sake-sampling fun, while AUD $24 gets you 90 minutes.
Wine o’clock at MarugoThis chic wine bar near Tokyo Station has two very attractive features – over 600 French wines by the glass and one of the city’s earliest happy hours, running from 2-6pm daily. Sip on a glass of red or white and enjoy small plates for about AUD $6 each as you lounge in Marugo’s leafy courtyard. There are also wine tastings of two or three selected wines starting at about AUD $12. If you needed any more reason to stop in, the bar is next to the famed French Echire butter shop, and the French art-filled Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum.