This afternoon I was going through my book collection and came across what I would call my nightlife bible, when I was living in Tokyo…and then I had the idea to share it with you all. So for this For The Weekenders guide, I figured I would share, a few of the most memorable, entertaining, and unforgettable spots I’ve been to and stayed at. Best part is you can find out more info on most of them if you pick up any Time Out Tokyo book. Enjoy.
Ageha. I remember the days when I used to be really into clubbing…though still fun, I’ve switched to more low key and slightly upgraded venues of entertainment. Not at all saying however that places like Ageha aren’t worth your while. At that time, being extremely interested in music (back in my DJing days), a group of people who I had become close friends with invited me out to what is known for being the biggest club in Tokyo.
Picture this: A shuttle bus picks you up in Tokyo (more specifically, Roppongi Dori) every half hour from Shibuya, for free, and transports you and your friends to Shinkiba, Koto-ku. From there you get off the bus and immediately into a line where you must have photo ID. No ID, no fun. It costs roughly ￥4000 (roughly $40 USD) to get in, but it’s worth it and I’ll tell you why.
Once you get past the (surprisingly) unfriendly doormen, you step inside, pay for your ticket and are given a coin locker key to put your personal belongings in. With that ticket you get 2 drinks of your choice, so you can start mellowing out immediately at the island bar near the exit. The coolest part? When you use up those 2 free drinks, and you just want a beer…the dreaded bar line wait is optional.…that’s right my friend – with Heineken vending machines by the bar and dotted throughout the facilities, all you have to do is pop in some yen and away you go….to the outdoor dance floor and pool area.
That’s right…Ageha has not one, but three dancefloors for you to choose from. Kinda like me and don’t feel like dancing after doing it for 2 hours straight? That’s alright, just kick back and relax in any one of the numerous, unique, various bars and chill out areas, all providing different genres of music (as do the dance floors). Ageha – for when you have a want to do things BIG.
Still have a music itch but hungover from the night before? This is where my favorite cafe of all time, Rhythm Cafe, comes into play (pun intended). This is the only place, next to some spots in Porto, Portugal, I would go for coffee….why, you ask? Well, they serve my favorite – rich, smooth, excite every taste bud Segafredo Zanetti coffee. I always, always used to order the Cappuccino ..and with how serious I’ve realized Japan is about customer service and experience, the staff at Rhythm don’t just make coffee…they reinvent it.
They don’t stop there, but have live djing some nights while turning into a lounge bar. In fact, the talented and super chill Michael Munoz has graced the place with his presence more than a few times to DJ. Four words – Japan, I love you.
Their desserts are awesome, and the music twice as nice, especially during the day, when they play music from Thievery Corporation, Thunderball, RJD2, and Bajofondo. This is a great place to hang out and get some work done if you run a business remotely, meet up with friends, or impress that first date.
Last, but not least….let’s talk about a place that’s real fun. Fun as in a dance floor you can get up on and “shake your money maker,” whether you’re a guy or girl.
Arty Farty is one of those places everyone – and I do mean everyone, can enjoy. Known as more of a place that is well known and frequented by foreigners, unlike my usual neverending search for great predominantly local spots, this is one bar I can say has my A+ rating…and that’s a tall order to meet.
What makes this place so unique and sets it apart from others? Well, numerous reasons, the main one being the crowd.
Usually, after going out enough, you begin to see a pattern that can be boiled down into 4-5 different kinds of hang out places in Japan – the type where you see mostly locals….the type where you see mostly foreigners….the type where you see a slight mix of locals and foreigners….the type where it’s men only…and the type where it’s women only.
Arty manages to make all of these melt together, in turn making visiting this place one fascinating, memorable cocktail story.
Arty is a straight, bisexual, lesbian, and gay friendly bar… in saying that, this place has such an air to it that when walking in, within the first 15 minutes you literally see all hatred and assumptions dissipate like vapor. Be prepared and be sociable, as this is the kind of place where people love to socialize, and you’re bound to end up having someone strike up a conversation with you simply for the sake of being friendly…
….and if you’re invited up on the escalated dancefloor, congratulations – you’re doing something right.
The place is cramped but the bartenders are always accommodating, drinks great (try the mint-flavored beer), and music, lighting, and club effects interesting and fresh.
You haven’t gone dancing until you’ve gone to Arty.
Have a great weekend.
- Inside The Rabbit Hole: Markus Schulz talks 12 hours at Tomorrowland, marathon sets, art of DJing in exclusive interview (dancingastronaut.com)