If you want to go for a drink in Tokyo, two of the good and famous areas are near Shinjuku station: the lively Omoide Yokocho and the more intimate Golden Gai. You may enjoy one after the other to compare by yourself or just choose the one that matches best your tastes, styles and plan for the day. My advice: have a bite and drink at the end of the afternoon in Omoide Yokocho then do the same much later in Golden Gai at Albatross or at Hair of the Dog 🙂

Omoide Yokocho

Omoide Yokocho is just beside Shinjuku station on its northwest side beside the tracks. It is a network of small alleys with an entrance near Uniqlo (easy landmark and people can easily point you there). Omoide Yokocho is famous among Japanese people so you can ask them too. There are rows of tiny restaurants, some of them just with a counter, some of them with only a couple of tables. There is not much space to walk in these narrow alleys so you better leave your bags/suitcases at the hotel or put them in a locker before entering the area; still, the area is small enough that you do not have to worry about losing sight of your partner 🙂 Walking, you can see inside the small shops, many with a horizontal curtain called noren at the entrance, some with lanterns, and you can see and smell the food. There are seafood and grilled meat, there is yakitori grilled chicken (many different parts available), kushiyaki food on sticks, ramen noodles, etc. In winter, you may enjoy oden (food in hot broth). The prices are cheap and you can eat quickly. You can also have a bite here and there to try different foods but the places being really packed you may be unable to find a seat at another restaurant…

If you like to enjoy a Japanese bar like the locals, it is recommended to participate in a Bar hopping tour.
★Tour available: Tokyo Bar Hopping Night Tour in Shinjuku

Omoide Yokocho

Omoide Yokocho

The place is not romantic but you will feel really close and immersed in the Japanese world so it may become a great shared memory! At least have a look and take photos (respectfully and quickly); you can go somewhere else to eat if you feel it is not your style. You can eat at some shops of Omoide-yokocho from the morning but you should target the end of the afternoon to eat what you want without any problem.

Omoide Yokocho

Omoide Yokocho

Golden Gai

Golden Gai is a set of narrow quiet streets with shops that only open at night. It is northeast of Shinjuku station, east of Kabukicho (another area you must explore for its nightlife) and is not super easy to find so check your maps well and ideally use your phone with GPS to find your way. One entrance is just west of Hanazono Shinto shrine, the street having an arch at the entrance lit up with bright white light. You will certainly want to take photos of the narrow streets. You can see inside the bars/restaurants through the windows and you will see that most of the places are packed with just a few seats at the counter and people chatting with the owner/bartender in front of their drinks. Big groups can not really enjoy Golden Gai but a couple can find a spot with two seats; better come when the bars start to open for that, around 21:00. Many bars have a cover charge, and customers stay quite long so Golden Gai is not really a place to hop from bar to bar unless you are alone and can thus easily find where to sit. Have a look around, see the places you like and check if a couple of seats is available in any of them then get in. The main thing is the drinks but you can have a bite in many places. Just order a drink you like and be friendly with the staff! Some of the bottles will have Japanese handwriting on them; these are names of the customers who come often and who paid for their own bottle. If you move to Japan and enjoy drinking regularly, maybe you will do the same 🙂

Omoide Yokocho

Omoide Yokocho

Omoide Yokocho

Omoide Yokocho

If you like to enjoy a Japanese bar like the locals, it is recommended to participate in a Bar hopping tour.
★Tour available: Tokyo Bar Hopping Night Tour in Shinjuku

Omoide Yokocho
Omoide Yokocho
Golden Gai
Golden Gai