Located opposite from McDonalds in a basement off the main street of Gaien-Higashi – minutes away from the Roppongi crossing – Black Horse is a very popular late-night destination. This establishment sits in the middle ground between the clubs and drinking holes, capturing both the good and somewhat sleazy aspects of Roppongi that make the area such a well-known nightlife spot.
Black Horse’s free entry policy means you don’t have to commit to staying for even one drink, and many people simply stick their head inside before moving on to another place (such as Gas Panic, which is next door). If you stay, you will be expected to buy a drink (about ¥1,000). Women can avoid this rule so long as they look like they are trying to convince nearby men to buy one for them.
Although Roppongi is usually brimming with 20-somethings, this venue attracts a somewhat older crowd, especially among Japanese patrons, with most in their thirties. The ratio of foreigners to Japanese is about 50-50. However, the Black Horse doesn’t attract your typical English-teaching expat crowd of Caucasian Americans and Brits. Many of the foreigners are from other parts of Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
Foreigners are mostly male and primarily go to Black Horse to mingle and meet people of the opposite sex (especially Japanese women), so it isn’t the most appropriate venue to go to for your first date or for a chat with a friend you haven’t seen for a while. Despite the dimmed lights, you can almost see the pheromones wafting throughout the room. So dress to impress.
Black Horse is essentially a giant underground room, allowing you to see from one end to the other. However, the venue is partitioned into a large mingling area in the middle, a VIP zone to the left, and a spot for smoking to the right.
While there is just one bar, you don’t have to queue because there is literally an army of service staff who will approach you with a drink menu. Be warned, they will try squeezing you for a tip when handing you your change, but there is no obligation to pay them.
These workers are somewhat annoying as they are constantly observing you. However, given the warnings about theft and drug use that adorn the Black Horse, they are probably necessary to curb illegal behavior. Pop music is continuously blaring, and while this is not a nightclub (dancing is only permitted in nightclubs in Tokyo), it is common for people to dance around the tables.
Black Horse Information
International Ratio: More international
Male / Female Ratio: About equal
Style: Dress to impress
Happy Hour: No
Music Genre: Mainstream/pop
Suitable mainly for singles
Nearest Station: 7-minute walk from Roppongi Station (Hibiya and Oedo Lines)
Hours of Operation: 6:00PM-5:00AM
“Why Go?”:To relax in a stylish lounge in the eclectic Roppongi district.
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