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“Worst experience in Tokyo”
Review of Bar Martha

Bar Martha
Ranked #5,385 of 9,203 Restaurants in Shibuya
Neighborhood: Shibuya / Harajuku / Ebisu
Restaurant details
Neighborhood: Shibuya / Harajuku / Ebisu
Reviewed December 7, 2016 via mobile

That was the worst experience we had in our entire trip in Japan. Unfortunately it was the first night in the country so we were a bit shocked with the stuff manners. Luckily, that was the only time. Obviously foreigners are not welcome in this bar. No English menu and of course no explanation or guidance on which whiskey we should try. So you'll just have to guess. Not a single smile from the stuff. Just a very rude and embarrassing behavior when they want to impose their own stupid rules. This bar is for the owner and the bartender. No one else seems welcome! Don't bother going them, just leave them have fun on their own silent, rigid place.

Date of visit: November 2016
18  Thank Isabelle A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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39 - 43 of 58 reviews

Reviewed December 6, 2016 via mobile

Too sad that bad behaved, rude staff can spoil a nice place - but they can. Luckily Tokyo has loads of other cool whiskey bars...

Date of visit: November 2016
16  Thank adamlerougester
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 5, 2016

I don't generally like to go out of my way to give something a purely negative review. But I feel that my horrible experience at Bar Martha last night warrants one.

I live in Tokyo and had heard about Martha from several people over the years, but only got around to checking it out earlier this year with some friends visiting from overseas. The first time I went I thought the staff were a bit pompous and rude. As above reviews point out, there is an absolutely NO photos policy, as well as a very strict standard for what constitutes being "noisy". My friends and I were literally just talking and at one point one of us laughed, I think, and it triggered a member of staff to tell us to quiet down. I brushed that off and decided, "OK, that's just Bar Martha. Keep the noise down and enjoy the tunes."

That was merely a foreshadowing of the horrendous experience I had there last night when I took a local friend. She had never been and we were in the area so I proposed checking it out. My friend did laugh somewhat loudly at one point and they did the standard Martha thing and asked her to quiet down. I explained to her that they were strict about noise and she understood, though agreed that it was overkill. But that was nothing compared to what came next.

For some reason I had the idea that customers could request songs or something along those lines. Curious about this, I casually approached the DJ booth to ask him what the system was for music. I asked in Japanese, which I speak pretty well though not fluently, and then followed up with a little English just to be sure I had clearly asked my question when he simply stared -- no, GLARED -- back at me. This is when things went into full meltdown mode.

The DJ became irate, as if I had disrespected one of his deceased family members or something, and said in an extremely cross tone that "This is Japan. You do NOT use English." Etc. Then, when I tried talking things down he requested for staff to literally throw my friend and I out. The bar tenders uniformly GLARED at me and robotically said through plastic, passive-aggressive grins, "Please go. JUST GO." Wagging their heads up and down in affirmation. I tried asking several times, "What did I do wrong? Wait, what did I do wrong?", trying to diffuse the situation. But to no avail.

My friend, a native Japanese speaker, also tried to ask what we did wrong and they were just downright hostile. They told us to leave in no uncertain terms, in front of a crowded bar. If I wasn't in utter shock I would have felt extremely embarrassed on top of disrespected. When we got outside, my friend tried to reason with one of the staff, who simply kept repeating, "This is Japan." etc. and giving no real clear idea of what we actually did "wrong".

I've lived in Japan for almost eight years total. I don't normally like to complain about treatment of foreigners here because I realize I'm a guest in their country. And generally, the standard of service here is world-class. But I'm sorry to say that the feeling I had was genuinely one of being treated in a completely racist manner. After we walked away, my friend was literally crying. This gives some indication of how extreme the treatment was. Hands down, it was the worst I've ever been treated by the staff of a bar or restaurant.

If you are a diehard music lover and simply MUST go to Martha while in Tokyo, please consider yourself forewarned. There are lots of other great bars to listen to music in Tokyo. Please don't give this one your business unless you like being treated with thinly veiled contempt by racist, self-important staff who may literally tell you to shut up or even kick you out for doing nothing more than raising your voice a few decibels above a normal conversational level -- or God forbid, if you laugh.

Date of visit: November 2016
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25  Thank J D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 25, 2016

I was surprised when my girlfriend's sister took us here when visiting Tokyo
A small bar with a impressive collection of music with over 50000 that the owner choices from, he played selections from stones Beatles CSNY and from early albums and heard songs have not heard in a long time
I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed drinking and listening to great music and good company

Date of visit: October 2016
    • Value
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    • Food
Thank stormchaserSS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 9, 2016 via mobile

Staff was pretty rude, despite it being called "casual" we got rejected for wearing birkenstock sandals in summer. My girlfriend was wearing a dolce gabbana dress.

Date of visit: September 2016
16  Thank Quentin H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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