We'd seen Golden Gai on travel shows and were delighted to find that this interesting neighborhood chocked full of teensy bars was so close to our hotel.
We wound up going back a few times, as there are so many different little places with different vibes to try out. Our first night, we went to a tiny, upstairs Jazz bar with a gruff, one armed bartender. He eventually took to us and gave us bamboo treats when we reacted favorably to the music.
Second night found us in a box-like, hot, standing-room for maybe three people place with a classic rock vibe and was way too bright, so we found a charming little sit-down place that resembled a teeny-tiny bordello. A few Japanese fellows spoke English and chatted with us, and we really had a great time.
It's worth noting that not all of the bars want us tourists there (who can blame them?) and that's kind of the surly charm of the place. Almost all of the bars have a cover charge, once having paid, the drinks are inexpensive. We wouldn't go in a place with a cover charge of more than 500 yen and that worked out pretty well for us.
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