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 Kansai Scene is a FREE monthly magazine in English, which has maps, events info, and cultural articles, as well as ads of current gaijin bars & restaurants, so it's a useful resource for both visitors and expats. If you have a chance, pick it up at one of the Tourist Info Centers upon arrival, or at some of the places listed below. Also, WhyNot!?JAPAN website is a pretty good (current) list in English of "gaijin" bars, pubs, and restaurants throughout Kansai, which includes Kobe & Kyoto as well as Namba & Umeda.

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

Remember that the trains & subways (which can be checked at Hyperdia.com) 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.) Do your own research before visiting any of these places (if only to see if they are open that day -- or even still open!)

 

NAMBA BARS/PUBS:

If you like free live music, Blarney Stone, Murphy's, and Cellar have local cover bands some nights, usually on Fri. or Sat. nights, sometimes Sundays. Mostly starts at 9 or 9:30pm. Hard Rock Cafe (Honmachi) also has music most Friday nights at 7:30 & 9pm.

 

NAMBA CLUBS:

Note: Most clubs in Osaka do not get going until late (midnight or later) and usually have cover charges.


Midway between Umeda and Namba, The Hard Rock Cafe in Honmachi also sometimes gets a happy hour crowd (2-for-1 drinks, from 4~8pm) at its bar, but mostly it's a restaurant full of Japanese office workers. It now has free live music most Friday nights at 7:30 & 9pm.

 

UMEDA BARS/PUBS:

Like Namba, Umeda is home to a vivacious nightlife scene. Have a look at the list below and feel free to add more recommendations. As always, do your research before heading out. 

  • 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.
  • Captain Kangaroo bar, also a staple on the Umeda scene
  • White Bear, gets busy during happy hour (beer 300 yen 5-8pm) when people start getting off work.

 

UMEDA CLUBS:

 

ORGANIZED PARTIES:

There are several groups which regularly organize weekly or monthly events (yes, for profit --same as the bars & clubs listed above). While these parties can be a great way to meet people and experience local nightlife, it should be noted that some of these events are run by local English schools or the bars themselves.