Five Best Cocktail Bars in Tokyo

Five Best Cocktail Bars in Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan’s dazzling capital, is a blend of cutting-edge architecture, neon-lit streets, futuristic innovation and traditional culture. It’s a mixture that works well, much like its shaken or stirred cocktails. The cocktail scene in Tokyo is all about craftsmanship and sensory delights, and many of the bars in this sprawling megalopolis have received international acclaim. Whether you’re in a small local spot or world-class establishment, you’ll get to sip on something intoxicating served with a side of omotenashi, the spirit of Japanese hospitality. From iconic institutions that have stood the test of time to modern concept-driven bars pushing the boundaries of mixology, there’s something for every cocktail enthusiast to savour. Read on to learn more about the five best cocktail bars in Tokyo

  1. In Good Hands at Bar High Five
  2. On a Journey at Gen Yamamoto
  3. Mix Things Up at Mixology Salon
  4. Your Round at Bar Orchard Ginza
  5. Feel Like a Star Bar


In Good Hands at Bar High Five

We’re starting our tour of the five best cocktail bars in Tokyo at Bar High Five, a mecca for cocktail lovers in the upscale neighbourhood of Ginza. Led by the legendary bartender Hidetsugu Ueno, this intimate venue has gained international recognition for its flawless execution of classic cocktails. The bar is known for its extensive collection of spirits, particularly when it comes to Japanese whiskies. Like most establishments here, there’s no fixed cocktail menu and guests are encouraged to have a conversation with the bartenders, who can then create bespoke cocktails tailored to individual tastes and preferences. This personalised approach, along with the mixologists' attention to detail, expert techniques and extensive knowledge of spirits, guarantees a memorable and refined drinking experience for all who step through the door. There’s only a limited number of seats available though, so it’s best to book ahead.


On a Journey at Gen Yamamoto

In the heart of Azabu-Juban lies Gen Yamamoto, an intimate and award-winning cocktail bar that treats mixology as an art form. With an emphasis on fresh, seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients, each drink that’s concocted here is a delicious work of art. This exclusive spot seats just eight people at any one time around a bar crafted from 500-year old Mizunara oak. Like Bar High Five, it takes an omakase-style approach to cocktail-making, curating personalised cocktails that showcase the very best flavours of Japan. Prepare yourselves for a multi-course experience, designed by Gen Yamamoto himself, where you can explore different textures and techniques. Named as one of Asia's 50 Best Bars, it’s a must-visit on your Tokyo adventure.


Mix Things Up at Mixology Salon

We’re heading to the Roppongi district in Minato for another one of the five best cocktail bars in Tokyo, owned by the highly skilled mixologist, Shuzo Nagumo. Mixology Salon is sleek and modern bar with an elegant ambience, that prides itself on pushing the boundaries of mixology by using unique techniques and high-quality ingredients to create one-of-a-kind cocktails bursting with flavour. Their speciality is teatails (cocktails made with tea-infused spirits), served over hand-carved ice and finished with intricate garnishes. Choose from hojicha-infused bourbon, soba cha vodka, oolong tea-flavoured rum and other interesting concoctions. Nagumo runs six locations in Tokyo, so there’s no excuse not to try a tipple or two. Kanpai! (Cheers!)


Your Round at Bar Orchard Ginza

Here’s to another venue that regularly makes it on to the list of Asia's 50 best bars. Hidden away in the thriving Ginza district, Bar Orchard Ginza offers a delightful escape from the bustling city streets. As the name suggests, seasonal fruits (and herbs) form the basis of the creative and beautifully presented cocktails at this charming spot on the seventh floor. The menu varies depending on the time of year and the availability of the ingredients, but it always features an array of refreshing and innovative cocktails. Each fruity beverage tends to be served alongside a plate of otōshi, a small appetizer that pairs perfectly with an ice-cold cocktail.


Feel Like a Star Bar

It’s time for last orders, and we’re finishing up at Star Bar: undoubtedly one of the five best cocktail bars in Tokyo.  Situated in the heart of Ginza, the dimly lit and inviting Star Bar is a classic cocktail bar that boasts a timeless charm. It’s owner, Hisashi Kishida, has an unwavering reputation as one of the godfathers of Japanese bartending, so it’s safe to say you’ll get a top quality cocktail here. This highly acclaimed spot has become a firm favourite among locals and tourists alike over the years, with skilled bartenders able to meticulously recreate all of those time-honoured favourites such as old fashioneds, martinis and negronis. The bar is so popular, in fact, that there are branches throughout Tokyo, so you’re never too far from your next daiquiri.