Osaka's nightlife is available every night, and will basically be one of 2 categories for the foreign visitor: "gaijin" bars/pubs, or nightclubs.

The word "gaijin" means foreigner, but the term "gaijin bar" does not mean that only foreigners can go there, or that foreigners can't go to other bars.......it just means that the bar regularly has foreign clientele and so should be able to handle customers who don't speak Japanese. These are also places where some Japanese come to meet & chat (sometimes more!) with foreigners, so you would have a better chance of finding English-speaking Japanese here if you want to talk to some locals. 

Unlike some Japanese bars, these gaijin bars do not have a table charge, and most are cash on delivery rather than paying a combined final bill at the end. If you are really adventurous, you can always try popping into almost any bar or club that catches your fancy and enjoy the challenge of ordering a drink in a language you can't speak (and wondering what the bill will be), but if you just want to relax and have a drink, or party with the locals in English, then read on.

The first thing to decide is where is do your nocturnal activities, and your choices are basically: a) Namba (the main nightlife area), or b) Umeda.

A good place to start is the WhyNot!?JAPAN website, which lists the hottest gaijin bars, clubs, & restaurants, as well as sometimes hosts international parties at various venues.  This site also has a convenient Happy Hour Guide as well as an event calendar.  Keep in mind that the bar/club scene changes rapidly, with what's hot or not always shifting, even nightly, and long-term survivors are relatively few, so they are mainly the ones mentioned below.

Remember that the trains & subways close around midnight, so you would have to walk or catch a taxi back to your hotel after that, unless you stay out all night until the trains start again around 5 am.

So, here is simply a list of names to get you started.....not meant to be recommendations or a comprehensive list. (In fact, the list makes it easy to add or delete names as required.)

NAMBA BARS/PUBS:

If you like live music, Blarney Stone, Murphy's, and Cellar have bands some nights, usually free.

 CLUBS do not get going until late (midnight or later) and have cover charges usually; the main ones in Namba are:

 

For Umeda nightclubs, Sam & Dave's 4 in Umeda is the main one.

 UMEDA BARS/PUBS:

  • The Blarney Stone, one of the most popular bars for foreigners in Umeda.  It gets busy with live local bands on Fridays & Saturdays from 9 pm or so (free), but is generally quieter before that, or on weeknights.
  • Canopy, gets busy during happy hour (beer 300 yen 5-8pm) when people start getting off work. 
  • Captain Kangaroo bar, also a staple on the scene

 

Midway between Umeda and Namba, The Hard Rock Cafe in Honmachi also sometimes gets a happy hour crowd at its bar, but mostly it's a restaurant full of Japanese office workers.