May 31, 2010

Rocknococoro is a fine place to rock yer coconuts. A fun little DJ bar in Shibuya, it’s frequented by the kind of enthusiastic teenybopper fanboys/girls who attend the Fuji Rock and Summer Sonic festivals (indeed, they even throw parties themed around those festivals). I’m usually the oldest person in there, but fortunately I’m entirely shameless, and the endearingly sweet and nerdy crowd are always friendly anyway, especially after they’ve knocked back a few drinks.
It’s narrow, but there’s room to dance in front of the DJ booth, and the large windows give a compelling view of the goings-on on the urban streets three floors below.
Ladies take note- it’s half price drinks for you on weeknights. (I’d try to get round this misandrist policy by wearing a dress and a wig, but at 6’5″ I’d make an unconvincing tranny. Oh well- at least this policy ensures that there are always more than a few nice women in the place.)

Park Bld.3F,10-1, Udagawa cho, Shibuya-Ku,Tokyo JP
Tel: 03-5459-5326
URL: Rocknocoro
Open from 7pm-5am daily.

Beat Cafe

May 31, 2010

Beat Cafe is one of the best-known bars in Shibuya, thanks to it’s handy location at the end of the busy Center-Gai shopping street. It’s one of my fave hang-outs in the area, especially on week-nights, thanks its laid-back vibe, with dimmed lights, comfy chairs, friendly regulars, and tons of rock and pop music from the last 50 years. Usually manning the bar is the amiable Kato man, who is happy to chat until the early hours.
They’re always showing 80s VH1 videos on the big TV, while blasting out different music on the stereo, creating such illusions as Duran Duran perforing heavy metal. Occasionally, stray musicians from visiting bands pass through, leaving their scrawls on the walls.
Recently the Beat Cafe guys have also opened Echo, a larger room for band and DJ events, on the second floor of the same building. It’s decadently decorated like a seedy den from a 70’s film like Clockwork Orange or Jubilee. There’s more room for dancing in Echo, and it’s usually worth checking out depending on the night (although it could be something like German reggae night or a Peruvian polka party.) You can flitter between the two bars, with Beat Cafe making an excellent chill-out room.

Beat Cafe
33-13-3, Udagawa-Cho, Shibuya
Tel: 090-9334-4342
URL: Beat Cafe
Open from 7pm-5am daily.

So, to get there, simply come out of the Hachiko exit of Shibuya station, cross the famous crossing (if you can squeeze past the several thousand trendy western photographers, angling their cameras so as not to get other trendy western photographers in their shots) walk down Center Gai (the shopping narrow street) and its near the end, on the left, on the third floor. Look for the sign that looks like an early 80’s two-tone album cover.

Post-Golden Week Discount Boozing Update

May 6, 2010

Golden Week has come to an end, and bleary-eyed, sunburned Japanese workers are trudging back to work (mercifully only for two days until the weekend.) If, like me, the Golden Week festivities have left you broke, you’re going to need somewhere cheap to drink until the next payday.

Mari of Watashi No Tokyo has helpfully posted a list of cut-price izakayas worth checking out. A new wave of bargain-basement boozers have been emerging since the recession. (One of the benefits of economic downturn! I was broke before the banks collapsed so I’ve been loving it!)
Billy at Tokyo Filter has also discovered a place in Shimokitazawa selling beers for 180 yen!
With alcohol this cheap you can get smashed for months on end and still have money left for the back-street liver transplant!

If you can only afford beer from the convenience store, Billy has also discovered a brand of beer called Zero Life, with which life’s losers can drown their sorrows in total honesty.

Or you could choose to obliterate your brain cells with the lethal low-fat 7% happoshu, “Strong Off” (See below).

Finally, if you fancy an exotic cocktail, as of May the 25th you could mix your drinks with Pepsi’s demented new Baobab-tree-flavoured pop.
I always look forward to Japanese Pepsi’s annual weird summer drink (cucumber-flavour having been a particular favourite in the past) and Baobab looks set to continue the eccentric tradition. God knows what it’s going to taste like, though!