Jackson Five Bar

March 15, 2010

The other day I stumbled upon a Jackson Five-themed bar in Nakano, Tokyo. Groovy!

Perhaps the bar was named to commemorate the famous quintet’s epic 1979 concert in nearby Nakano Sun Plaza.
Unfortunately, the proprietors don’t stick too rigidly to the concept, as you can see from the sign: “we play trance, reggae, and hip-hop”. I don’t remember hearing any trance anthems by the Jackson Five!
However, the drinks are all four hundred yen during happy hour (from 6-9pm) which is fantastically cheap, and they’ve got a dartboard, so who’s complaining.

Jackson Five Bar:

東京都中野区中野5-67-12 SKビル B1F
More info (in Japanese) with a map: Jackson Five Bar

By coincidence, this week I also discovered Japan’s very own domestic answer to the Jackson Five, called “Finger 5”, who were great. Fronted by a pint-sized, bespectacled boy (who looks like a girl), and accompanied by his younger sister (who looks like a boy), and backed up by their three gangling teenage brothers, Okinawa’s Finger 5 made catchy bubblegum pop in the early seventies and had several smash hit singles (and even made four movies!) until an unsuccessful bid to crack America, combined with the inevitable onset of puberty and broken voices, put an end to their short-lived stardom.
Disappointingly, they all went on to lead normal lives, and didn’t become eccentric recluses, with pet monkeys and merry-go-rounds in their back gardens.
Check ’em out in action:

The Bourbon House

March 15, 2010

Here’s a recommendation from Andrew Hill. It’s a bar called “The Bourbon House” in Nishi-Kawaguchi. Sounds ace!
Cheers, Andrew.

This bar isn’t particularly crazy, but it is particularly awesome, especially if you like whiskey. On the outskirts of Tokyo, there’s a small suburb called Nishi-Kawaguchi. Not far from the station, there’s a bar called the Bourbon House. I visited during my first ever trip to Tokyo back in 07. The owner was friendly and the inside had the feel of an American western saloon, complete with six-shooters and confederate flag. The best part though was the selection, kentucky bourbons so rare you can’t even find them in Kentucky anymore. Scratch that, the best part was, after telling the regulars and friendly bartender, Kaz, that bourbon was my favorite drink, I drank for free, for two nights, of delicious 101 proof or higher bourbon that I can’t even find when I go home to the American south and walk the Bourbon trail. It’s not far from Tokyo, and if you need to stay the night, you can probably stay in the bar till the trains open, or stay at JGH, the cheapest hostel in Japan.

Tel: 048-251-8445
URL: Bourbon House


September 19, 2008

Now here’s an establishment that knows its target market! “Booze-holic” is basically a cool way of saying alcoholic, and I guess that’s the kind of person who’s going to be frequenting this late-night Tokyo bar.
You’ve got to admire their honesty.

Here’s a link to the homepage.

“Bull Sh*t! Darts Bar”

September 12, 2008

I found a webpage all about a darts bar in Tokyo called “Bull Shit!” Presumably they meant to call it “Bull’s Eye” but somebody made a big boo-boo.
They sell T-shirts, so I’m going to have to go and pick one up.

Apparently they hold wedding receptions there. Not a very classy location for a wedding party- a lot of girls I know would be seeking a swift annullment after the shame of spending their special day in “Bull Shit!” darts bar. I can imagine the invitations now:
“You are cordially invited to celebrate the marriage of Hiroshi and Yuko Watanabe, in “Bull Shit!” Darts Bar.”

Here’s the website.

Rock Bar “F*ck Yeah!”

September 11, 2008

You can get away with some great bar names in Japan, such as “Rock Bar Fuck Yeah!” in Yokosuka city, a name which would make outraged old biddies run screaming to the nearest police station at home. “Fuck Yeah!” is an ass-kicking rock n’ roll bar, which plays loud music and has a mix of Japanese and foreign customers. The walls are decorated with classic record sleeves, and skulls and cross-bones. You can get draught Guiness and Sapporro, fish and chips and various pizzas.

I suspect the close proximity to a huge US military base has something to do with the name of the place. It probably also led to the following list of rules, from the bar’s website:

1. No drink No stay.
2. No food and drink brought in.
3. No fighting No breaking shit.
4. No puking.
5. No jacking off.

Rock n’ Roll!

Address: Rock Bar Fuck Yeah!
Central Hotel B1F, 2-8 Wakamatsu-cho, Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan 〒238-0007
Tel: 046-827-8696
“Rock Bar Fuck Yeah!” Homepage (with a map in English).
Happy hour is from 6pm-9pm

Here are directions how to get there, from Asaboo:

It’s located very close to Yokosuka Chuo station. After exiting the ticket gates at the station, go down the stairs on your left. Then you see a small, short, narrow street with a pachinko, yakitori and a ramen shop. Walk through that street and you hit Yokosuka Central Hotel. Go down the alleyway on the right, and you’ll see a sign with a skull on it, with the words “Fuck Yeah! Rock Bar”. Follow the sign.

The Virgin Sunset

June 10, 2008

Often the coolest Japanese bars and restaurants are in the most obscure locations. Such is the case with the groovily-named Virgin Sunset, a loosely Hawaiian-themed joint down an obscure side-street in Yamato City, Kanagawa. You can find it by looking out for the flaming torches outside.

It’s one of those uniquely Japanese places that mixes up various international elements and puts them through the old Japanese filter. Here you can sit among fish tanks and palm trees, and eat Italian pizza and Jamaican jerk chicken, whilst watching surfing videos and listening to 70s disco and funk hits being spun by a DJ in the corner, and drinking pina coladas served by waitresses in pretty Hawaiian dresses. A charmingly mental mish-mash of madness. Also, for some ungodly reason, the door-handles in the toilet are shaped like penises, but I try not to think too much about that.
I once stumbled into Virgin Sunset on Halloween night, and the additional Mexican Wrestlers and Wonder Woman costumes were enough to make my head spin.

If all this character wasn’t great enough, Virgin Sunset has a half price beer and pizzas every day from five to seven, including weekends. Try finding a deal like that in Tokyo!

After taking advantage of the happy hour, I tend to head to a cheap and cheerful games center a few doors up from the Virgin Sunset, called “The Big Bang”, which has darts, pool, batting cages and go-kart racing. An ideal place to continue the shenanigans (although the staff are reluctant to let you try the go-kart racing while totally shit-faced.)

Virgin Sunset Restaurant and Bar
TEL: 046-264-3766