Ginza in Tokyo is regarded by many as a cocktail bar mecca. In fact, the majority of the cocktail bars you can find in Tokyo’s kaleidoscopic capital are pristine institutions that have stood the test of time since the early days where aperitifs and cocktails were not even popular.
The bartenders who helm these joints take their craft very seriously, from making their own liqueurs and bitters from scratch to carving their own ice. So whether you’re seeking a minty mojito or a sophisticated martini, here are 8 best cocktail bars in Ginza to visit when the sun goes down and the neon lights light up.
Set in the heart of Shinjuku, Albatross is a two-storey bar that serves a variety of sake, shochu, beer and handcrafted cocktail options. Here is where you can find a trendy ambience to kick back, relax and soak up Tokyo’s night vibes.
The bar is located along a walkway just next to a train track. You won’t miss it because also located along the same stretch, there brims a variety of vibrant bars and restaurants that often sees a bustling crowd.
Sun to Thu: 5pm – 2am
Fri & Sat: 5pm – 5am
Nearest Station: Shinjuku Station
#2 BAR HIGH FIVE
Boasting an impressive back bar wall of spirits, Bar High Five serves up the most creatively tailored cocktails just for you. Don’t expect to be handed a menu because there is none. Instead, just let the bartenders know what your palate craves whether it is sweet, sour or strong and watch as they expertly mix a cocktail for you based on your suggestion—feel free to tell them what you want as a garnish because your wish is their every command.
Here is where you will find the legendary Hidetsuga Ueno, the man with the Elvis haircut who has a very impressive talent of carving blocks of ice into diamonds.
Efflore Ginza5 Bldg. B1F,
5-4-15 Ginza, Tokyo, Japan
(Closed on Sundays)
Mon to Sat: 5pm – 11.30pm
Nearest Station: Yurakucho
#3 BAR MUSASHI
In the sea of old-school bars in Ginza, Musashi is probably the youngest having only been established in 2000. Hiding out in the basement on a side street in the direction of Shinbashi, this upscale bar cum yakiniku restaurant serves up a stellar variety of cocktails, some beer and sake along with a selection of food to pair with your grog.
Tosei Bldg B1F, 8-10-7 Ginza,
Daily: 6pm – 2am
Nearest Station: Shinbushi Station
#4 GASLIGHT EVE
Established in 2015, Gaslight Eve is one of the rarities in Ginza in that the bar is run by a lady, Naomi Takahashi. Not long after she won the grand prize in the 2013 IBA World Cocktail Championships for her Wisteria cocktail, Naomi saw fit to open up her very own bar.
Whether it’s a plain-old martini with something a little fancier, you can bet that whatever concoction is mixed here, you will leave delighted.
Ginza Fujii Bldg 3F, 8-4-24
Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
(Closed on Sundays)
Mon to Fri: 6pm – 3am
Sat: 5pm – 11pm
Lupin can be considered a veteran in Ginza’s dynamic cocktail bar scene, having been around since 1928. In fact, this particular haunt was high frequented by many of Japan’s most esteemed authors during the Showa period—nothing inspires a writer more than a grog for the noggin.
The bar itself offers curious tipplers a blast to the past with many portraits of said authors adorning the walls, a relaxed and slow-paced vibe as well as a myriad of classic, properly mixed cocktails such as the Moscow Mule or an Old Fashioned.
B1F, 5-5-11 Ginza,
(Closed on Sundays & Mondays)
Tue to Sat: 5pm – 11.30pm
Nearest Station: Ginza
#6 STAR BAR
Compared to Bar High Five where tipplers are given full liberty to decide exactly what goes into their cocktails, Star Bar is slightly less flexible. Simply pick out a spirit and a fruit—the bar prides itself on only using fresh fruit—and the bartenders will whip something up for you.
B1F, 1-5-13 Ginza,
Daily: 5pm – 12am
Nearest Station: Ginza
Located on the 28th floor of hotel Conrad, Tokyo, bar Twenty Eight is a perhaps one of the best places to visit that will guarantee spot-on cocktails, great service as well as a spectacular view of Tokyo Bay. Comfortable seats and a fireplace set the scene for a rustic yet cosy spot to have a drink at after hours.
Whisky aficionados can find comfort in knowing that their range of the stuff is boundless.
Conrad Tokyo 28F,
1-9-1 Higashi-Shinbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Daily: 9am – 12am
Nearest Station: Shiodome
#8 TWO ROOMS GRILL & BAR
Two Rooms is a Tokyo cocktail spot which offers a Western-style dining experience and their frog’s legs and lamb chops come highly recommended. Choose from a variety of different settings here which includes a sophisticated indoor section, a lively bar as well as a spacious terrace, the perfect vibe to accompany your tipple of choice.
5F Ao Bldg, 3-11-7 Kita-Aoyama,
Mon to Sat: 11.30am – 2am
Sun: 11.30am – 10pm
Nearest Station: Omotesando