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Tantalizing Tokyo At Night

Tantalizing Tokyo At Night

The Incomparable Japanese Capital Comes Alive With These Nocturnal Delights

With its densely packed neighborhoods and endless options, Tokyo at night is not for the easily intimidated. Once the cloak of darkness descends on the sprawling metropolis, locals and visitors fuel their desires at an enviable collection of world-class bars, lounges, and venues.

High-Class Hotel Destinations

The Park Hyatt Tokyo lures an impressive volume of nonguests to its perch high above the city. Few Tokyo bars rival its 52nd-floor hot spot, the New York Bar. Made famous by the 2003 film Lost in Translation, the bar features striking decor, floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views, and nightly live jazz. In addition to cocktails, the menu encompasses one of the largest selections of American wines in all of Japan. Down on the 41st floor, the Peak Lounge’s skylit bamboo garden offers a more relaxed atmosphere.

The Bar at The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo, is a classy nightlife option 45 floors above the heart of Roppongi. In addition to views of Mount Fuji and the Tokyo Tower, the bar offers swoon- worthy environs filled with marble and rich woods. Whiskey aficionados select from more than 200 labels, including many of Japan’s most-prized varietals

Tokyo offers visitors a plethora of nightlife options to enjoy drinks, food, entertainment and often all three
Tokyo offers visitors a plethora of nightlife options to enjoy drinks, food, entertainment and often all three.

Modern Drinking Dens

Tokyo’s finest chefs and most legendary sushi masters are renowned for their unparalleled commitment to craft and detail. Such focus and dedication can be witnessed at Gen Yamamoto, a minimalist eight-seat bar where the eponymous, white jacket-clad bartender leads customers through multicourse, cocktail omakase menus. Served in memorable glassware, the low-alcohol concoctions feature fresh seasonal ingredients such as kumquats, matcha, and fava beans.

Named after its founder, the decorated bartender Shingo Gokan, The SG Club has quickly become a leading destination for serious cocktail enthusiasts. Gokan’s concept is spread across two floors. Guzzle, on the ground floor, presents a more casual option, while Sip, its subterranean counterpart, sports a speakeasy vibe. Guests enjoy professional shoe shine service while sipping on fine dining-inspired cocktails.

The personable Hidetsugu Ueno, one of Japan’s most famous bartenders, is often found mixing note-perfect drinks at his Ginza haunt, Bar High Five. There’s no cocktail list; bartenders ask guests their preferences before customizing something. With more than 200 options, the whiskey menu is worth checking out, too.

The Bar at The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo stands 45 floors above the city.
The Bar at The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo stands 45 floors above the city

World-Class Whiskeys

Serious whiskey lovers have been circling Japan on their maps for quite some time; fortunately, Tokyo offers several notable destinations where one can dive deep into the world of Japanese whiskey.

Nikka has been one of this century’s biggest success stories; having won numerous international competitions, the brand has introduced Japanese whiskey to waves of consumers. Tucked away in the basement of Nikka’s Tokyo headquarters, near the fashionable Omotesando shopping district, Nikka Blender’s Bar attracts serious collectors drawn by the opportunity to sip the latest releases, hard-to-find vintage pours, and special bottles exclusive to the bar.

Less than a five-minute walk away, the Tokyo Whisky Library’s walls of bottles look like something straight out of a movie. The bar’s bookcases are filled with more than 1,000 labels sourced from across the world. Seating options run the gamut from comfy leather sofas and social stools to classy private rooms.

A drink from the SG Club, a go-to spot for cocktail enthusiasts
A drink from the SG Club, a go-to spot for cocktail enthusiasts.

Live Performances

Beneath the grounds of the Fukutoku Shrine stands Suigian, a restaurant and lounge offering a vivid introduction to traditional Japanese arts. Patrons are served fine food and drink from the Edo, Meiji, and Taisho periods while watching performances of traditional Japanese performing arts; the daily program might include dance, comedy, drama, puppet theater, or ancient court music. In the evening, the restaurant turns into a welcoming lounge and bar with an extensive selection of sake and other Japanese cocktails.

The culturally curious shouldn’t leave Tokyo without experiencing Kabuki, and there’s no bigger stage than the legendary Kabukiza Theatre. With a capacity of nearly 2,000, it’s one of the largest in the country, with stately traditional architecture that stands in sharp contrast to its modern surroundings. Because shows can last for hours, many visitors opt for single-act tickets called Hitomaku-mi.Don’t miss the fifth-floor gallery’s incredible costumes and exhibitions.

For a more Western approach, the Cotton Club offers an elegant jazz club environment based on the namesake original, which flourished during Prohibition-era New York. Homegrown jazz talent often takes the stage, as do international touring acts and legends of the genre.

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