A night on the town in Tokyo doesn’t come cheap. Thankfully, happy hours are the saviors of those with champagne tastes on beer budgets. Have a look at where the locals go for the finest cocktails at a fraction of the regular price.
Peter: The Bar
An otherworldly lounge in Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Peninsula Tokyo, Peter: The Bar is decorated with whimsical silver tree sculptures and lit in pink and purple à la Alice In Wonderland. The bar itself is adorned with delicious black-and-gold lacquerware and cushioned gold chairs. So, despite its exclusive location Peter: The Bar is more fun and frivolous than formal.
Happy hour here is almost too good to be true — a selection of cocktails and wine start at just ¥800 a pop (about $7) during this magical time of the evening. Happy hour generously lasts from 5 to 8 p.m., Sunday to Thursday.
If you’re feeling peckish, the ¥800 happy hour prices extend to appetizers, which include classic bar snacks such as Cajun fries, fish and chips, as well as the whimsical option of a seasonal sorbet.
The Peak Bar
The glamorous Peak Bar, on the 41st floor of the Four-Star Park Hyatt Tokyo in Shinjuku, is famous for its magical view, an impressive drinks menu and, most recently, an outstanding happy hour.
Twilight Time is the Peak Bar’s new drinks promotion: a selection of cocktails and fine canapés are served while you watch the sun set over Tokyo from 5 through 8 p.m. Live DJ mixes create an ambience from 6 p.m. ‘till 10 p.m. (Wednesday to Saturday) while you sit in the cozy bamboo grove and enjoy your early evening drinks.
Just a short stroll down the road from Tokyo Midtown is the most recent addition to Roppongi’s late-night bar scene. The chic and dimly lit Vivo attracts a fun crowd that comes to dance, have a chat and down a few of the city’s best espresso martinis.
Happy hour at Vivo is a delicious three-hour stretch from 6 to 9 p.m. every night. Drinks are a steal at ¥500 (roughly $4.50) and include potent cocktails. The bar’s signature drink is The Vivo, an exciting concoction involving lychee liqueur, midori, lemon brown and brown sugar. The espresso martini, which packs a punch without being too sweet, is also a big hit.
Be warned, though, when you drop the hammer on the carnival-style high striker game at Vivo, you have to buy everyone in the bar a shot. Give it a go. It makes for a fantastic social lubricant.
The final leg of our quest for fancy drinks on the cheap takes us to Goodbeer Faucets in Shibuya. More than just a beer counter, Goodbeer offers over 40 beers on draft, quality bottles and even house-made brews done exclusively for this little bar. This is a craft beer heaven that concentrates on Japanese and American brews for the most part.
Pours that you’ve never even dreamt of — smoky beer, cream lager, citrus beer — are available at this spotless, stainless steel hideaway. On top of all of that, happy hour makes Goodbeer even more appealing with ¥200 ($2) off pints from 5 p.m.
Permeated with the sweet scent of citrus, the aptly named Orangé is a street-level bar in the Tokyo Midtown complex. It’s no secret that this champagne bistro is crammed with office workers on weeknights and weekends alike.
However, not everyone is aware of the fantastic happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. daily when bubbly, mimosas, wine and many other drinks are 50 percent off, an excellent saving on high-end tipples.