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Ginza Bars

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Sydney, Australia
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Ginza Bars

Hi there. We will be back in Tokyo for three nights in the middle of May. I'm very excited (particularly as we will be having dinner at Takazawa again). I have been reading about the wonderful little cocktail bars in the Ginza (and elsewhere) and so, for our first night (which is a Wednesday night), I am hoping that we can visit a few of them for a drink.

I've narrowed my list down to some of the most famous - hopefully Tender Bar and Bar High Five, and then perhaps Star Bar Ginza if we're not too tired. We'll be jetlagged from Europe, so it's entirely possible we will be wide awake at midnight and in need of another drink before we stumble back our hotel.

Can anyone please give me an idea of how busy these places get on a Wednesday? Are they hard to get into? Are we better to show up at 7pm or 11pm or some other time? Are they the kind of places where people have one or two drinks and move on, or settle in for the evening? Any other hints or bars in the same vein?

Thank you all very much for your help.

Edited: 8:32 am, March 21, 2013
Tokyo and California
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for Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Shinjuku, Japan
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1. Re: Ginza Bars

Unless you have specific/special cocktails you want to drink, I don't recommend any of cocktail bars in Ginza. They are way overrated and over priced. Most of them charge ~1,500 for a cover, another 1,200+ for a drink and ~800yen for a few pieces of dried green peas or something similar. It'll cost at least 7,000yen for two persons to have a drink. I'm not on a budget, but I just can't justify spending that much for a drink.

My favorite pub in Ginza is Lion. Try it, you'll love it:

tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g1066444-d16…

Kyoto, Japan
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2. Re: Ginza Bars

I am also a cheap-staking beer drinker, same as “Beer hall”, yakitori bar and Izakaya fun. Although once I dropped in a bar in Shinjuku with my company associate after drinking too much, I have never been to such authentic bars. If you know the value of signature cocktails, it may be worth sitting for a while for after dinner drink. It is definitely not the place to drink junky mug of beers; just one cocktail such like some people to track down signature cocktails in Las Vegas.

…nytimes.com/2009/12/20/travel/20bites.html…

According to the local gourmet page, Tender is rated the highest over 4 for 5 fullmark, followed by Star with 3.98. These numbers are extremely high with my surprise. Some comments tell us that no one in the early evening hours, but late in Friday night is full. Star may refuse single customer for the bar counter.

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3. Re: Ginza Bars

There's a vast ocean of difference between a cocktail bar and an izakaya or beer hall. Bar tending is a craft. Good bar tenders take pride in their work not only to select & mix to create beautifully tasting drinks but to prepare the ice as well. They have their own style but will create something for your personal taste too.

Japan is renowned for its serious affair with whisky and many of the tiny bars have excellent selections of top shelf stuff.

There are lots of bars of all kinds in Ginza some have been there for decades & they make an enjoyable night out (if you have the cash) I haven't been into the particular cocktail ones you mention but Wednesday will generally be a quieter night than the Friday night frenzy all over Ginza.

Bar High Five should be easy to find it's in a well known area & building. They stay open 'til 2am. Just stop by & see how busy they are. Star bar is further away it closes at 12.30.

At the prices they charge I'd say most people will only be ordering a couple of drinks max. It's not the 1980s anymore so people aren't throwing money around in Ginza as they once were. People who really want to guzzle will be at bars & izakayas without a cover charge with cheaper drinks of which there are hundreds in Ginza (standing bars, wine bars, izakaya & the lion beer hall)

I'm sure you'll be very welcome, it's just a matter of locating the bars in those non-descript office buildings.

Edited: 9:57 pm, March 21, 2013
Sydney, Australia
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4. Re: Ginza Bars

Thank you very much to all of you for your very helpful replies, particularly Elly M.

The bars I have mentioned, and their barmen, have an international reputation. We know they aren't going to be inexpensive, but then I come from Sydney where $15 for a cocktail is considered pretty cheap. I'm really looking forward to having a couple of quiet drinks just for the experience. I've got maps printed out, so I hope we don't get too lost.

Shibuyakko - I do like the look of the Lion Beer Hall. I think we'll go there first for a beer before we hit the more expensive bars.

5. Re: Ginza Bars

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