Easing Into Izakayas

Tokyo

After the usual nine-to-five grind, Tokyoites head to the nearest izakaya (居酒屋, Japanese gastropub) to cool down. Brave the fog (since most Japanese establishments allow indoor smoking), and you’ll be awarded with a glimpse of a well-loved tradition of sake (酒, Japanese rice wine) and classic eats. The city has an abundance of izakayas, but our selection of watering holes will have you leaving with a smile on your face—and it won’t just be because of the alcohol!

  • Drink
  • Date
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  • Local Experience
  • Izakaya
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Updated a year ago

Sasagin

3 saves

Tokyo, Japan • Recommendation • 

A Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant, Sasagin is known for its selection of artisanal sake and innovative dishes. Take a seat at the counter to get pairing recommendations from the sommelier, who chooses from a meticulously curated list of drinks. Sample some of the stand-outs like the ochazuke (お茶漬け, rice in green tea) and vinegared mackerel; or opt for an omakase (お任せ, “I’ll leave it up to you,” a meal made of dishes chosen by the chef) to discover Sasagin’s best!

  • +81354543715
  • 1-32-15 Uehara, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
    東京都 渋谷区 上原 1-32-15

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Gonpachi (Nishiazabu)

5 saves

Tokyo, Japan • Recommendation • 

Gonpachi’s interiors served as the backdrop for the iconic fight scene between The Bride (played by Uma Thurman) and Gogo Yubari (portrayed by Chiaki Kuriyama) in Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” (2003). While people come for its pop culture significance (including international celebrities and world dignitaries), everyone stays for this izakaya’s delicious Japanese and Western-fusion fares. We suggest making a lunch reservation, since dinnertime ushers in more guests.

  • +81357710170
  • 1-13-11 Nishiazabu, Minato, Tokyo, Japan
    東京都港区西麻布1-13-11

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Warayakiya

2 saves

Tokyo, Japan • Recommendation • 

One of the most unique izakayas in Tokyo, Warayakiya grills classic Japanese cuisine over straw instead of charcoal. It is a method that originated from the fishing villages of Kochi prefecture. The straw burns at extreme temperatures, leaving the meat or seafood lightly seared, juicy, and tender. Grab a space at the counter to watch the chefs expertly navigate through flames to cook their specialty Katsuo no Tataki (鰹のタタキ, seared skipjack tuna).

  • +81367785495
  • 6-8-8 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
    東京都港区六本木6-8-8

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Kotaro

1 save

Tokyo, Japan • Recommendation • 

Reservations are hard to come by at Michelin Bib Gourmand-awarded Kotaro. The lucky ones, however, are well-rewarded with small batches of sake from across the country, accompanied by chef Kotaro Hayashi’s traditional-meets-modern omakase. Try the pote sara (ポテサラ, potato salad), a show-stopping dish made of two kinds of spuds, cucumber, soft-boiled egg smoked over cherry wood, and a punchy Dijon mustard vinaigrette.

  • +81354285705
  • 28-2 Sakuragaokacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
    東京都 渋谷区 桜丘町 28-2 三笠ビル 1F

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Tatemichiya (Punk Rock Izakaya)

2 saves

Tokyo, Japan • Recommendation • 

Tatemichiya attracts two groups of people: the usual after-work crowd on the hunt for sustenance, and music enthusiasts yearning for a like-minded community. Enjoy a surprisingly scrumptious combo of Japanese food and sake (or beer), while you marvel at the walls adorned with old posters and scribbles by local artist Yoshitomo Nara. Since you're already here, you may as well jam to the tunes of Japanese rock!

  • +81354593431
  • 30-8 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
    東京都 渋谷区 猿楽町 30-8

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Galali

1 save

Tokyo, Japan • Recommendation • 

Built in a repurposed Japanese home, Galali is an elegant two-storey izakaya that specializes in Japanese sake. Once you enter, you'll notice their elaborate display of sake bottles, along with a specific recommended salt pairing. The sleek space is an ideal setting for casual get-togethers, while devouring yummy charcoal-grilled seafood and vegetables. You won’t have to worry about time as well, since Galali is open till the wee hours of the morning!

  • +81334082818
  • 3-6-5 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
    東京都 渋谷区 神宮前 3-6-5

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Shinsuke

1 save

Tokyo, Japan • Recommendation • 

Operating since 1925, Shinsuke preserves the old-school izakaya experience—complete with a long timber counter manned by a “master” decked in a happi (法被, traditional short coat) and hachimaki (鉢巻, traditional bandana). Get the signature Kitsune Rakuretto (deep-fried tofu stuffed with raclette cheese) and pair it with the restaurant’s solitary brand premium-grade sake, which they have been pouring out since its opening.

  • +81338320469
  • 3-31-5 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
    東京都 文京区 湯島 3-31-5

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Torikizoku (Shibuya Cultural Village)

2 saves

Tokyo, Japan • Recommendation • 

A hit amongst the budget conscious, Torikizoku provides a bang-for-your-buck menu of drinks and yakitori—all at JPY298 each (around USD2)! They have multiple locations across the city, many of which have a capacity of over 100 people (like their Shibuya Cultural Village branch). Lines should still be expected here, though. The convenient locations and late operating hours also make Torikizoku the ideal pre-game or after-drink spot!

  • +81364169177
  • 34-5 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
    東京都 渋谷区 宇田川町 34-5

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Uoshin (Nogizaka)

1 save

Tokyo, Japan • Recommendation • 

Uoshin invites you to its vibrant, open-air setting for a delectable seafood spread. You may end up sitting on a beer crate, but once you savor the already-peeled kegani (ケガニ, horsehair crab), you won’t even think about! There are no English menus, so you’ll have to rely on photos to choose your food—don’t worry, everything’s well-done anyway!

  • +81334050411
  • 9-6-32 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Jaan
    東京都 港区 赤坂 9-6-32

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Andy's Shin Hinomoto

1 save

Tokyo, Japan • Recommendation • 

It’s quite rare for foreigners to operate restaurants in Japan, but British Andy Lunt impressively delivers an authentic izakaya at Shin Hinomoto! He sources fish from Tsukiji Market everyday to create fresh seafood fares, on top of a classic pub menu. Its nostalgic setting is quintessentially Japanese, but the diverse mix of local and tourist regulars inject a global atmosphere into the foggy space.

  • +81332148021
  • 2-4-4 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan
    東京都 千代田区有楽町 2-4-4

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Uraya

1 save

Tokyo, Japan • Recommendation • 

Uraya houses over 150 kinds of sake from all over Japan, including some hard-to-find varieties! It’s sake heaven here, so sample as much as you (and your wallet) are able to! While you’re at it, complement each drink with some of the hole-in-the-wall establishment’s seasonal appetizers.

  • +81359607141
  • Ikebukuro Coast Building, 2-27-6 Minami-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo, Japan
    東京都豊島区南池袋2丁目27-6 第2佐々木ビル B1F

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Asadachi

2 saves

Tokyo, Japan • Recommendation • 

Come to Asadachi to experiment with exotic dishes! Raw pig testicles, grilled salamander, and turtle soup (call ahead to guarantee it's on the day's menu) are just some of the things that go well with a bottle of Sapporo beer! Located along the famous bar-filled area of Omoide Yokocho (also known as “Memory Lane” or “Piss Alley”), the couple-run joint runs through subjective operating hours; but it’s a safe bet to come after 3:00 PM.

  • +81333421083
  • 1-2-14 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan
    址1-2-14西新宿新宿区东京160-0023

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