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NIGHTLIFE

Bars

AGAVE
Clover Bldg. B1F, 7-15-10 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone: 03/3497-0229
Bar
Roppongi

Tucked away in a basement just off Roppongi's main drag, Roppongi-dori, is the perfect place for anyone who craves mariachi and a margarita. With more than 400 types of tequila on offer at Agave, lovers of Mexican firewater won't be disappointed. You can line your stomach with a selection of nachos and other snacks before a slammer session. Drinks from ¥800. OPEN: Mon.-Thurs. 6:30 PM-2 AM, Fri. 6:30 PM-4 AM, Sat. 6 PM-4 AM. Subway: Hibiya Line, Roppongi Eki.

CHARLESTON

3-8-11 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone: 03/3402-0372
Bar
Minato

For years this has been the schmoozing and hunting bar for Tokyo's single foreigners and the young Japanese who want to meet them. It's noisy and packed until the wee hours. OPEN: Nightly 6 PM-5 AM. Subway: Hibiya Line, Roppongi Eki.

DEN

DST Bldg., 1st floor, 4-2-3 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone: 03/3584-1899
Bar
Minato

Launched by the mammoth beer and whiskey maker Suntory, Den is partly an exercise in corporate-image making. Meant to express the company's ecoconsciousness and its roots in traditional Japanese culture, the motif here is a confection of stones, trees, and articles of folkcraft. Den draws a fashionable crowd from the TV production, PR, and design companies in this part of town. OPEN: Mon.-Thurs. 6 PM-2 AM, Fri. 6 PM-4 AM, Sat. 6 PM-11 PM. Subway: Marunouchi Line, Akasaka-mitsuke Eki (Belle Vie Akasaka Exit).

GINZA INZ 2
2-2 Nishi-Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Bar
Ginza

Inside this building and one floor up is a collection of small, popular-priced bars and restaurants where people who work in the area go after hours. One such bar is the Americana (PHONE: 03/3564-1971), where drinks start at ¥800. Farther along the hallway is the Ginza Swing (PHONE: 03/3563-3757), which hosts live bands playing swing jazz. The cover varies but is usually ¥2,800; drinks start at ¥700. Ginza Inz 2 is one building east of the Kotsu Kaikan Building; you can recognize the latter by the circular sky lounge on the roof. Subway: Yuraku-cho Eki (Central Exit).

HIGHLANDER
Hotel Okura, 2-10-4 Tora-no-mon, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone: 03/3505-6077
Bar
Minato

The Highlander Bar in the Hotel Okura purports to stock 224 brands of Scotch whiskey, 48 of them single malts. This is a smart place to meet business acquaintances or to have a civilized drink. Drinks from ¥1,100. OPEN: Mon.-Sat. 11:30 AM-1 AM, Sun. 11:30 AM-midnight. Subway: Ginza Line, Tora-no-mon Eki (Exit 3).

KIRIN CITY
Bunshodo Bldg., 2nd floor, 3-4-12 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone: 03/3562-2593
Bar
Ginza

There's somewhat less glass-thumping and mock-Oktoberfest good cheer here than at other brewery-sponsored beer halls, but the menu of grilled chicken, fried potatoes, onion rings, and other snacks to wash down with a brew is just as good. The clientele tends to be groups of white-collar youngsters from area offices, unwinding after work. OPEN: Daily 11:30-11. Subway: Ginza, Hibiya, and Marunouchi lines, Ginza Eki (Exit A13).

THE OLD IMPERIAL BAR
Imperial Hotel, 1-1-1 Uchisaiwai-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone: 03/3504-1111
Bar
Ginza

Comfortable and sedate, this is the pride of the Imperial Hotel, decorated with elements saved from Frank Lloyd Wright's earlier version of the building -- alas, long since torn down. OPEN: Daily 11:30 AM-midnight. Subway: Hibiya Eki (Exit A13).


SAPPORO LION
6-10-12 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone: 03/3571-2590
Bar
Ginza

For a casual evening of beer and ballast -- anything from yakitori to spaghetti -- the Sapporo Lion is a popular and inexpensive choice. The entrance is off Chuo-dori, near the Matsuzakaya depato. OPEN: Mon.-Sat. 11:30-11. Subway: Ginza, Hibiya, and Marunouchi lines, Ginza Eki (Exit A3).

WHAT THE DICKENS
1-13-3 Ebisu-Nishi, Shibuya-ku, Roob 6 Bldg., 4th floor, Tokyo, Japan
Phone: 03/3780-2099
Bar, Cabaret
Shibuya

Sixteenth-century English-style pubs have been the big trend in Tokyo in the past few years, and this is the king of them all, particularly for the gaijin crowd. In a former Aum Shinri Kyo headquarters in Ebisu (the cult held responsible for the gas attack in the Tokyo subway), it is nearly always packed. There are live stage acts and poetry readings (first Sunday of the month), and live music starts nightly at 8:30. OPEN: Sun. 5 PM-midnight, Tues.-Wed. 5 PM-1 AM, Thurs.-Sat. 5 PM-2 AM. Subway: Hibiya Line, Ebisu Eki (JR Ebisu Nishi-guchi/West Exit).



Cabaret

WHAT THE DICKENS
1-13-3 Ebisu-Nishi, Shibuya-ku, Roob 6 Bldg., 4th floor, Tokyo, Japan
Phone: 03/3780-2099
Bar, Cabaret
Shibuya

Sixteenth-century English-style pubs have been the big trend in Tokyo in the past few years, and this is the king of them all, particularly for the gaijin crowd. In a former Aum Shinri Kyo headquarters in Ebisu (the cult held responsible for the gas attack in the Tokyo subway), it is nearly always packed. There are live stage acts and poetry readings (first Sunday of the month), and live music starts nightly at 8:30. OPEN: Sun. 5 PM-midnight, Tues.-Wed. 5 PM-1 AM, Thurs.-Sat. 5 PM-2 AM. Subway: Hibiya Line, Ebisu Eki (JR Ebisu Nishi-guchi/West Exit).


Dance Clubs

328 (SAN-NI-PA)
3-24-20 Nishi-Azabu, basement, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone: 03/3401-4968
Dance Club
Minato

A fixture on the club scene since the early '90s, 328 hosts all genres of music. Across the street from Hobson's Ice Cream and next to the police box at the Nishi-Azabu intersection, 328 is often crowded due to its reputation for providing a consistently good time. COST: ¥2,500, with 2 drinks. OPEN: Nightly 8 PM-5 AM. Subway: Hibiya and Oedo lines, Roppongi Eki, then a 10-min walk; from Shibuya, take Roppongi-bound bus.


GEOID/FLOWER
Togensha Visiting Bldg., basement, 3-5-5 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone: 03/3479-8161
Dance Club
Roppongi

Geoid's way-after-hours (it opens at 5 AM) techno beats keep after-Roppongi party clubbers going until it closes at 1 PM -- the same day. It's on Telebi Asahi-dori, halfway between Roppongi and Hiro-o. COST: ¥2,500 (varies by event). OPEN: Sat. 5 AM-1 PM. Subway: Hibiya and Oedo lines, Roppongi Eki.


LUNERS
Fukao Bldg., 1st floor and basement, 1-4-5 Azabu-juban, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone: 03/3586-6383
Dance Club
Ginza

At this two-story venue, barflies sit it out with a martini upstairs while hard-core dancers head for the packed dance floor in the basement. DJ offerings usually include house, trance, or a combination of the two, with monthly gay/mixed parties attracting Tokyo's out-and-out clubbers. COST: ¥3,000-¥3,500 (varies by event). OPEN: Fri.-Sun. 10 PM-5 AM. Subway: Oedo Line, Azabu-juban Eki (Exit 7).


MANIAC LOVE
5-10-6 Minami-Aoyama, off Kotto-dori, Tokyo, Japan
Phone: 03/3406-1166
Dance Club
Shibuya

Known by Tokyoites for its consistently excellent techno, garage, and ambient music, Maniac Love proves that Japanese DJs have technique to support their style. It helps that they tend to become experts in their genres by collecting even the most obscure tracks. The club also hosts regular Sunday-morning after-hours parties from 5 AM. COST: ¥2,500, ¥1,000 for after-hours party. OPEN: Sun.-Fri. until 5 AM (Sun. after-hours party usually ends by lunchtime); Sat. until 10 AM. Subway: Ginza and Hanzo-mon lines, Omotesando Eki.


MILK
1-13-3 Ebisu-Nishi, Roob 6 Bldg., basement and 2nd-level basement, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone: 03/5458-2826
Dance Club
Shibuya

In the basement beneath What the Dickens Pub, this place is a milk bar à la Clockwork Orange. With tables shaped like nude women and obscene inflatable goodies, this club caters to young Tokyoites who yearn for digital sounds, techno, or even hard rock in an erotic atmosphere. Milk hosts hip live acts and avant-garde events. DJs and the types of music change daily. COST: ¥3,500, with 2 drinks. OPEN: Nightly 8 PM-4 AM. Subway: JR Yamanote and Hibiya subway line: Ebisu Eki (JR Ebisu Nishi-guchi/West Exit).


ORGAN BAR

Kuretake Bldg. 3F, 4-9 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone: 03/5489-5460
Dance Club
Shibuya

The eclectic selection at the Organ Bar, an avant-garde addition to Shibuya's nightspots, ranges from jazz to disco with a spot of poetry reading thrown in for good measure. There are no actual organs (musical or bodily) to speak of. COST: Sun.-Thurs. ¥1,000, Fri. and Sat. special events ¥2,000. OPEN: Nightly 9 PM-4 AM. Subway: JR Yamanote and Ginza and Hanzo-mon subway lines: Shibuya Eki (Hachiko Exit).

Theater

KABUKI-ZA
4-12-15 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone: 03/5565-6000 or 03/3541-3131
Theater
Ginza

The best place to see Kabuki is at the Kabuki-za, built especially for this purpose, with its hanamichi (runway) passing diagonally through the audience to the revolving stage. Built originally in 1925, the Kabuki-za was destroyed in an air raid in 1945 and rebuilt in the identical style in 1951. Matinees usually begin at 11 and end at 4; evening performances, at 4:30, end around 9. Reserved seats are expensive and hard to come by on short notice; for a mere ¥800 to ¥1,000, however, you can buy an unreserved ticket that allows you to see one act of a play from the topmost gallery. The gallery is cleared after each act, but there's nothing to prevent you from buying another ticket. Bring binoculars -- the gallery is far from the stage. Call by 6 PM the day preceding performance for reservations. www.shochiku.co.jp. Subway: Hibiya and Toei Asakusa lines, Higashi-Ginza Eki (Exit 3).


KOKURITSU GEKIJO
4-1 Hayabusa-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone: 03/3230-3000
Theater
Imperial Palace District

The Kokuritsu Gekijo hosts Kabuki companies based elsewhere; it also has a training program for young people who may not have one of the hereditary family connections that are usually required to break into this closely guarded profession. Debut performances, called kao-mise, are worth watching to catch the stars of the next generation. Subway: Hanzo-mon Line, Hanzo-mon Eki (Exit 1).


SHIMBASHI ENBUJO
6-18-2 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone: 03/5565-6000
Theater
Ginza

The Shimbashi Enbujo, which dates to 1925, was built originally for the geisha of the Shimbashi quarter to present their spring and autumn performances of traditional music and dance. It's a bigger house than the Kabuki-za, and it presents a lot of traditional dance and conventional Japanese drama as well as Kabuki. Subway: Hibiya and Toei Asakusa lines, Higashi-Ginza Eki (Exit A6).

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