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.
33-13-3, Udagawa-Cho, Shibuya
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.