Asakusa is well versed for its daytime activities and traditional sites, but what about its nightlife? Believe it or not, the top 8 bars in Asakusa also have a lot to offer, and before you head to Shibuya, Shinjuku or Roppongi, why not give them a try. If not for its cool atmosphere, laid back vibe and down to earth hospitality, the area sometimes reminds me of Osaka’s awesome drinking scene.
Here are our picks for Asakusa’s Top 8 bars to check out:
Tokyo Knowledge is a laid back, chilled, comfortable and totally downtown bar. It is small in size and to its benefit makes it feel intimate and homey. When you first enter the bar, you will be greeted by the super friendly and accommodating host, Kyohei. He is bilingual, from his experience living abroad, and will take care of all of your drinking needs. Expect to gain some knowledge from this host, as his bar name implies, as he should be able to answer most of your Japan-related questions.
The bar holds regular DJ events and other meetups every month, so be sure to follow him on social media too. You can also use the bars free Wifi. For more info about his bar, you can check out our dedicated post on Tokyo Knowledge.
God Chappie is a small unassuming bar that sits amongst the quiet alleyways of Asakusa. A short walk from Donki Hotei, Kaminarimon Street and Hoppy Street, it is also a Heavy Metal Themed place. Kota the owner is chilled, reserved and quite easy-going too. In fact, his skills in the Kitchen should also be praised. His menu borders on a mix of Korean, Sapporo and general Japanese cuisine, and every dish I have tried is genuinely amazing.
As a Heavy Metal themed establishment, the music and videos he plays are predominantly Metal inspired too. He does allow requests, as long as you ask nicely and his bar has free Wifi too. You can find out more via our article on God Chappie.
Cafe Byron Bay
Byron Bay is the hippie, laid back coastal town of NSW, Australia, and so Cafe Byron Bay in Asakusa tries to create a similar vibe, to a point. The actual point of the cafe even if Australian inspired, is to create a comfortable atmosphere for Japanese to practise their English. All staff are fluent English speakers, and they converse with the guests to help them boost their speaking confidence and ability. Of course, foreigners are welcome, and that only adds to the dynamic where the Japanese clientele can converse with other people from different backgrounds.
The bar itself is reasonably sized and offers a full menu of food and drink options. Especially, for any vegetarians out there, there are a number of friendly choices on their menu. The bar has established itself in Asakusa over the past 5 years and built a strong community with it. For more information check out our page on this bar.
Nui – Hostel and Bar Lounge
Closer to Kuramae, and around a 15-minute hike from Asakusa station is Nui a fashionable hostel, which also houses a stylish and reasonably spacious bar and lounge. The rustic look extends to this comfortable bar, with wooden style tables and cheers. The bar plays home to a mixed variety of guests including local Japanese, foreigners and the hostel’s guests too.
Highlights of the bar include the fish and chips, which is actually quite decent and always an enticing option. In addition, you can order pints of many kinds of international and local beers on tap. They also offer a cafe menu in the daytime. Check out more at Nui’s website for more information.
If you’re looking for a more Japanese inspired bar, with a comedic take on its traditional form of martial arts, try Ninja Bar. Located very close to Asakusa Station, this bar features a highly international crowd, and sometimes a stealthy ninja to boot. The novelty of the bar is simply the ‘Ninja is waiting for you’, to drink that is. They offer some cosplay options for the costume inclined, and they have some bar discounted specials too.
The novelty of the bar seems to attract a mainly international crowd, with some Japanese guests visiting from time to time. Moreover, there are photo ops with the in-house ninja, to get your authentic experience of Japanese culture. For more information about this quirky, but interesting bar you should visit their website.
For those who like their reggae music, and tiny intimate bars there is Rastaman’s cafe. The Jamaican inspired theme starts with its colour scheme of the bar and countertop. The staff are also extremely easy going, and this helps to set the bar’s laid back vibe. That plus the invasive ‘background music’, tells you straight away this is one cool place.
The bar itself is quite small and intimate, it is easy to strike up a conversation with other guests and staff for that matter. The space is just wide enough too, that you can weave between other guests when you enter or exit the premises.
The Jamaican theme also inspires some Jamaican cuisine – Jerk Chicken to be exact, which is heralded as their signature dish.
For more information about Rastaman’s cafe – you can visit their website.
If you’re into your craft beer, then you should visit Campion Ale. This British style pub has various styles of craft beer, which always change depending on the day. In addition, they serve British style food too, with a menu that changes with the season. The clientele tends to be a mix of foreigners and Japanese.
On the second floor, they also offer a generous space that can be used for events. The venue has seating for up to 25 and can cater for up to 40 people. For more info, you should visit their website.
Similar to Nui, Smile Bar is another Hostel accompanied by an ample spaced bar. The bar is reasonably priced and attracts an interesting crowd, not just because of its in-house guests. In fact, the bar holds of a number of interesting events including a comedy night, bar crawl, various food nights and even a haircut function. As a result, this attracts an interesting variety of local guests too.
The comedy night is perhaps one of the more attractive points for foreigners, especially as it is conducted in English. The food nights are also a decisive hit with tourists and locals alike, as they can bond over a common theme. To check out more about this bar, check out their facebook page. By liking their page you can also keep up to date with all their latest events.
There are some other bars that didn’t quite make our top 8 but are still well worth a visit.
This bar attracts an interesting mix of Japanese and Foreign clientele. Located a short walk from Sensouji Temple, they hold regular events which encourage cultural and language exchange. You can find out more from our article.
ASAB – As Soon As Beerable
Located close to Donki Hotei, this bar is quite spacious with a long counter and a private party room. The owner is bilingual and speaks both Japanese and English, and offers a large variety of drinks including Guinness on tap. You can find them on google maps here.
For a more traditional feel and vibe, Kamiya bar is one of the oldest bars that still exists in Asakusa today. Dating back to the late 1800s, it is also responsible for the Denki Bran (Electric Brandy) a sweet form of brandy. This concoction is a recipe comprised of wine, brandy and gin, and while it may seem a little off, it is actually quite a smooth taste. Check out more via the google maps link. (Their website is in Japanese)
If you’re planning your travels in Japan, we invite you to join our rapidly expanding Travel in Japan Discussion Group via facebook.