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A good Mexican place is difficult to find in Tokyo. Either you will find a place that serves decent rice dishes but their burritos are drowning in sauce, or everything is just a Mexican dish with heavy Japanese flavors. Either way, tradition is often overlooked. But have no fear Mexican food fans because there is hope in the quiet suburb of Daikanyama! Get ready to experience authentic Mexican food while feeling like you are an A-list celebrity! On the ninth floor of a gorgeous Daikanyama skyscraper is the incredibly sophisticated and upscale restaurant, Hacienda del Cielo, where Tokyo’s hippest and most fun loving people go for good drinks, good atmosphere, and fantastic Mexican food!

First of all, if you are ready to dive into Hacienda del Cielo’s food and drink, you absolutely need to make a reservation at least one day in advance. Whether it be a Tuesday or a Saturday, this place is always packed and without a reservation be prepared to be waiting for at least one hour. With you reservation in place, put on your dinner jacket or your sexiest heels!

Their menu is a wonderful compilation of classic Japanese appetizers like picked vegetables and potato salad and authentic Mexican dishes that you rarely see even in American Mexican restaurants. Try their calamari and grapefruit ceviche, or their shrimp mint and avocado mini tacos, or get adventurous with their ajillo of pork tongue and mushrooms! While the smaller plates at Hacienda del Cielo are perfect for sharing with the table, their larger dishes are both more familiar as well as equally delicious and authentic. You can get burritos, chimichangas, enchiladas, and fajitas that are both light as well as flavorful. You will not be digging through sauces and cheeses to find your food at this restaurant. At Hacienda del Cielo, all of their dishes utilize fresh herbs and spices to bring out the best in their food.

If you think that their food menu is extensive, just wait until you see their cocktail and drink menu. All of their cocktails are made with fresh ingredients and juices, nothing from concentrate, and all have their own unique flair. With home made sangria, three different kinds of mojitos, and more than 10 different signature cocktails, it can be hard to pick just one! If fruity cocktails are not your cup of tea, Hacienda del Cielo also has an extensive selection of more than 8 kinds of Mexican beers. But what people really go for are their frozen margaritas, which are served by the pitcher and are perfect for sharing.

The food and drink is just as good as the atmosphere. You can sit inside underneath a lovely chandelier in leather booths with warm red walls or you can sit outside underneath the night sky in comfy lounge sofas with a wonderful and clear view of Tokyo tower.

If you want to pamper yourself while enjoying some great Mexican food, make a reservation for Hacienda del Cielo in Daikanyama!

Address:10-1, Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0033
GPS:35.6515836, 139.70184719999997
Telephone:03 – 5457 – 1521
Email:hacienda@huge.co.jp
Web: http://modern-mexicano.jp/

October 20, 2014 0 comment
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TOKYO LOOSE

Tokyo Loose is an “interesting” club. It’s located across from a police box in Shinjuku’s Kabukicho. Head down a flight of stairs and you wind up in the tiny basement bar/club TOKYO LOOSE. Dim lighting with random dancing, green lasers and mirror lined walls greet you as you dodge around whomever is playing darts by the door (usually one of the friendly staff members). As with most drinking establishments in Tokyo it’s all smoking, but if you’re bored of cigarettes try out some hookah. At TOKYO LOOSE you can rent a hookah for an hour for a reasonable price with a decent selection of flavors.

The crowd seemed to be an interesting mixture of 20’s to 50’s, with the women leaning towards the 30’s side and the men scattered across the board. It seemed like there were quite a few older Japanese businessmen out on the prowl and/or just out to have fun. The wide age gap didn’t seem to bother anyone because most of the girls were too drunk to care. The club is small but has a dance floor, however, if you’re a dancing fool and don’t like moshing (constantly bumping into people) to rap and/or hip-hop you may want to avoid TOKYO LOOSE once it gets busy, which is normally after midnight. The crowd seems to just dance wherever they stumble, even if it’s on you.

The ethnicity of the club goers seemed to be African, Southeast Asian, and Japanese. All of the signs and menus either had Japanese and English on them or a counterpart in English. Drink prices and selections where average and the staff were very friendly and helpful, speaking in both English and Japanese. The music was an interesting combination of popular old and new school, with random African and South American rap thrown in. Tokyo Loose has a DJ booth with a variety of local DJs that perform. They also sponsor international parties once a month.

International Ratio: More Local
Male / Female Ratio: More male
Average Price: 700 JPY
Comments: Cover charge on some days
Style: Smart-casual
Entrance Fee: No cover charge (unless there is an event)
Happy Hour: Yes
Happy Hour Price: All drinks 500 JPY
Happy Hour Time: Mon-Thurs 8pm- 12pm
Music Genre: Mainstream/pop, Hip-hop, Latin, Other
Suitable For singles, partying,

Address:2-37-3 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo
GPS:35.69605301026735, 139.7018514351654
Telephone:03-3207-5678
Web:http://tokyoloose.com/

October 20, 2014 0 comment
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THE TAVERN

Break away from the crowd of Yokohama Station west exit and go down the stairs at the side of McDonald’s and you enter a little corner of England many miles from home. When you close the door the busy life of rush hour Yokohama is left outside and you can relax with a cold beer.

The Tavern bar is a popular destination for sports fans. It is a place where many foreigners go to cheer on their teams.

During the World Cup the Tavern was one of the places TV and newspaper crews came to during the games to interview excited fans so you know there is going to be a cracking atmosphere there when there’s a big game on the box! Come on and meet new friends. Cheer on your heroes or just fantasize about what you’d like to do with David Beckham if you had five minutes alone with him in a toilet cubicle! Anything is possible at the Tavern!

International Ratio: More International
Male / Female Ratio: Tends to be more male
Average Price: 500-1800 JPY
Comments: No cover charge
Style: Casual
Happy Hour: Yes
Happy Hour Time: Mon-Fri 18:00-20:00, Sat 15:00-18:00
Suitable For singles, couples, great drinks,

Address:2 Chome-14-9 Minamisaiwai, Nishi Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa ‎GPS:35.46394430000001, 139.61744880000003
Telephone:045-322-9727
Web:http://the-tavern.com/

October 20, 2014 0 comment
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THE RUBY ROOM

Ruby Room has open mic night, need I say more? Located in the love hotel district in Shibuya, just behind 109, Ruby Room is a small bar that has a lot to offer. A small white tiled building sits on top of a hill marking the beginning of the love hotels and the end of the bars and restaurants. Head up to the top of the stairs and open the black padded door with a ruby shaped window to find a cozy bar with lots of charm.

Ruby Room is small, but friendly. Regulars talk up new comers to find out their interests and make friends. Many of the social butterflies at Ruby Room are Japanese that want to meet foreigners. The crowd dynamic at Ruby Room varies from night to night but lots of expats and tourists can be found hanging out, along with locals. The menus are in Japanese and English and the staff does their best to communicate even if they only speak a little English. When you turn the corner from the door you instantly see a small stage set up. The back wall of the stage is a slanted roof with skylight windows, giving the performance area a homey attic feel. To your right is the bar with a DJ booth at the end, which has an underground music scene feel to it and to your left are tables and booths decorated in a slightly gothic style. Ruby Room has an eclectic atmosphere that also brings an eclectic crowd.

As I mentioned before Ruby Room offers open mic night starting at 7pm on Tuesdays. Some of the performers are just starting out, some have been doing this for a while, and some are professional. The music genres performed are all across the board: folk, rock, blues, RnB, etc. Open mic night is open to anyone who wants to perform including foreigners. Details on how to sign up and what is provided can be found on Ruby Room’s website along with details on events happening on different nights. Cover for open mic night is 1000 JPY at the door and comes with two free drink tickets; so really there is no cover just mandatory fun, a.k.a. drinking. There is a decent selection of drinks including a variety in brands. The drinks, if ordered on the rocks, tend to be heavier pours but the French guy I talked to said his cocktail tasted like juice. The prices are average with the higher quality brands costing 100 JPY more.

Overall, Ruby Room is a great little bar with a cozy feel that offers a brief repose from the hectic crowds of Shibuya. Open mic night allows for variety from the norm and encourages local musicians, giving them a place to show their stuff. If you want a place that is foreigner friendly but with lots opportunities to make friends with locals look no further, Ruby Room is your answer.

International Ratio: More Local
Male / Female Ratio: More Male
Average Price: 600 JPY
Comments: Cover Charge
Style: Casual to Smart-casual
Happy Hour: No
Music Genre: Other
Suitable For singles, couples, partying, live music,

Address:2-25-17 Dogenzaka, Shibuya, Tokyo
GPS:35.65938241581195, 139.69645174582445
Telephone:03-3780-3022
Web:http://rubyroomtokyo.com/

October 20, 2014 0 comment
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THE ROOM

The Room in Shibuya is a small nightclub tucked away near Shibuya Station’s south exit. Follow the websites directions until you hit Family Mart and then look for Music Land Key. Follow the road a little bit just past Music Land Key and look down. The place is a bit hard to find especially if you’re expecting a sign at eye level or above. As I said to another foreigner I came across while searching for the club “It’s probably some sh** sign that’s incontinently placed,” and I was right. The sign is on the ground by the stairway entrance. The Room is located on the corner underground.

Head down the steps and enter the ID check and cover charge area. Cover charge for The Room ranges anywhere from free to 3,500 JPY depending on the event and the time you enter. Some nights there are discounts for coming early or bringing a flyer. Check The Room’s website schedule for details at: http://www.theroom.jp/schedule/. Cover charge includes a drink coupon when you enter. The operating hours for The Room very depending on the event, Sunday-Wednesday the club opens around 5pm or 6pm and closes around 10pm or 11pm. Be carful on weeknights because the club may or may not be open. Thursday – Saturday the club opens anywhere from 9pm to 11pm and closes around dawn when all the drunks stumble out into the early morning light like zombies. I strongly suggest checking the website before you go.

The music at The Room is heavily jazz influenced. Most of their DJ’s and events have some kind of jazz and some other type of music crossover. Expect an eclectic mix up of disco, Afro beats, reggae, house, funk, hip-hop, and more; especially later on in the night when live musicians come and jam with the DJ. Again it all depends on the night. Some nights the club offers live performances and on others jam sessions, and sometimes-even food. The DJ’s are legit and sometimes international too, not just some kid that made a playlist.

The dance floor is small but the crowd is pretty fluid, less shoving more flowing. The club has lots of communal seating that allows for easy conversation with other club goers. The patrons of the club tend to be more Japanese but there is a good mixture of foreigners and the staff and menus are English friendly. The drink selections as well as the prices are pretty average 600 or 700 JPY. All and all The Room is a laid back but funky nightclub that offers an alternative to mainstream music clubs. Just make sure to chill out until around midnight when the party really gets going.

International Ratio: More Local
Male / Female Ratio: About equal
Average Price: 700JPY
Comments: Cover Charge
Style: Smart-casual
Happy Hour: No
Music Genre: techno/house, other electronic, RnB, Hip-hop, Jazz, Funk
Suitable For singles, couples, partying, live music,

Address:15-19 Sakuragaokacho, Shibuya, Tokyo
GPS:35.6562613, 139.70182599999998
Telephone:03-3461-7167
Web:http://www.theroom.jp/

October 20, 2014 0 comment
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THE GAME

Looking for a Japanese hip-hop and RnB club? Then you’ve found it. In the center of Shibuya is The Game. On the second floor of a fairly run-down building, you will find this small club that caters to the hip-hop/RnB-loving crowd. Weekends are busiest here and the dance floor and bar area often gets very crowded. Predictably, the fashion here tends to be pretty casual and urban; lots of baggy jeans and baseball caps. A great place to come to dance with, and make friends with, people who share the same taste in music as you.

Entrance fee ranges from 2000 yen to 3000 yen and generally includes one drink. Drinks cost between 500-1000 yen, mostly at the lower end of that scale. The crowd is mostly Japanese, but everyone is friendly, especially if you decide to bust some moves on the dance floor.

Overall, if hip-hop and RnB is your music, and you want to party with more of a local crowd than what you’ll find in Roppongi, head to The Game.

International Ratio: More Local
Male / Female Ratio: About equal
Average Price: 500-1000 JPY
Comments: Cover Charge
Style: Casual
Entrance Fee: 2000-3000 JPY (incl. 1 drink)
Happy Hour: No
Music Genre: Hip-Hop, RnB
Suitable For singles, partying,

Photo By: Jaymis Loveday

Address:4-7 Udagawacho, Shibuya, Tokyo
GPS:35.6625048, 139.69787339999993
Web:http://www.shibuyathegame.com/

October 20, 2014 0 comment
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THE DUBLINERS' IRISH PUB SHINJUKU

The most popular bars among foreigners in Shinjuku are The Dubliners, The Clubhouse and Hub Yusukuni.

The Dubliner is located near the east exit of Shinjuku St. station. It is a lively bar, spacious on the second floor, and invariably filled with people who like a beer and like a chat. The regulars congregate around the bar and chat away with the bar staff and more often than not everyone seems to be having a great time. One of the interesting things about the bar is that the age of the customers ranges from teenagers and people in their early 20s to middle aged people in their 50s and 60s. This can be very interesting. It sometimes gets boring to always talk with people who are the same age as you.

Though the Dubliner in Ikebukuro seems to attract foreigners just from that region, its sister bar in Shinjuku seems to attract expats from all over Tokyo. Often in this bar you can get a real live taste of world famous Irish traditional music. Listen to the fiddle ringing out through the crowded bar and the beautiful beat of the Irish drum, the bodhran, and you will see why this music is so magical. Though this bar can get quite crowded it is nevertheless an excellent place to find friendly people eager to chat.

International Ratio: About equal
Male / Female Ratio: Tends to be more male
Average Price: 500-1200 JPY
Comments: No cover charge
Style: Casual
Happy Hour: Yes
Happy Hour Price: Cocktails: 500 yen
Yebisu beer: 700 yen
Guiness: 800 yen and more!
Happy Hour Time: OPEN – 19:00
Suitable For singles, couples, great drinks,

Address:3 Chome-28−9 Shinjuku, Tokyo
GPS:35.6910349, 139.7024857
Telephone:03-3352-6606
Web:http://www.dubliners.jp/

October 20, 2014 0 comment
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THE DUBLINER' IRISH PUB SHIBUYA

Dubliners bars, whether in Ikebukuro or Shinjuku, are, as we have seen, friendly places where you can be guaranteed a warm welcome and a good laugh. The Shibuya branch is no exception. As we have said before the atmosphere in Irish bars is very relaxed and easy going so they are excellent places to meet new friends.

By day a café and by night a bar, Dubliners enjoys the unique attraction of allowing its customers to sit outside at all times even when it is raining. The roof over the café’s open floor facing the Dougenzaka Road ensures you stay dry even in the worst of weather. This is very attractive to many foreign customers especially on those long hot summer nights.

Because many groups are eating together it is difficult to just start talking to them but in the communal area of about 20 seats people just sit and drink and chat and this is maybe the place for you. If you want to escape from the noise of Shibuya and drink some great Irish beer Dubliners Bar is highly recommended.

International Ratio: About equal
Male / Female Ratio: Tends to be more male
Average Price: 500-1200 JPY
Comments: No cover charge
Style: Casual
Happy Hour: Yes
Happy Hour Price: Cocktails: 500 yen
Yebisu beer: 700 yen
Guiness: 800 yen
Happy Hour Time: OPEN – 19:00
Music Genre: Mainstream/Pop, Hip-Hop, RnB and Techno/house
Suitable For singles, couples, great drinks,

Address:2-29-8 Dogenzaka, Shibuya, Tokyo
GPS:35.65966463796753, 139.69832346853946
Telephone:03-5459-1736
Web:http://www.dubliners.jp/

October 20, 2014 0 comment
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THE DUBLINERS' IRISH PUB IKEBUKURO

In the vicinity of Ikebukuro the most popular watering hole among foreigners is the Dubliners Bar. Although these bars are part of a chain belonging to Sapporo Lion they are not like a homogenized ‘McDonalds’ bar. Each one seems to have a unique atmosphere and the Ikebukuro branch is no exception. On the streets of Tokyo, the interior, and most importantly the atmosphere, of a real Irish bar have been recreated.

This bar is especially popular among those who live in the Ikebukuro area and many even drop-in alone for a quiet drink. It is a friendly place and it seems a little like the famous American TV series ‘Cheers’ where “Everybody knows your name”. The staff are also extremely friendly and overall the bar is a most attractive and welcoming place to visit.

International Ratio: About equal
Male / Female Ratio: Tends to be more male
Average Price: 500-1200 JPY
Comments: No cover charge
Style: Casual
Happy Hour: No
Suitable For singles, couples, great drinks,

Photo By: Fabrizio Sciami

Address:1-10-8 Nishiikebukuro, Toshima, Tokyo, Japan
GPS:35.7296365, 139.70880786

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THE DUBLINERS' IRISH PUB AKASAKA

The Dubliners Bar in Akasaka is a place of relaxation and recreation with a distinctly Irish flavour. The pub is located underground in the restaurant area of the Sannou Park tower. On entering you will be surprised at how spacious the bar is. The bar itself along with various tables and an additional room provide plenty of seating for customers. The atmosphere, as in all good Irish pubs, is homely and the wood furnishings, earthen ware and old cricket bats that adorn the walls create a very pleasant ambience as you listen to the beautiful Irish music which is always playing in the bar.

It is an atmosphere in which conversation comes easily and as the Guinness flows it is very easy to chat the night away with the foreign staff and other customers. However it must be said that because the Akasaka branch is located in the business district there are more foreign guests to be found in the Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, and the Shibuya branches.

International Ratio: More Local
Male / Female Ratio: Tends to be more male
Average Price: 500-1200 JPY
Comments: No cover charge
Style: Casual
Happy Hour: Yes
Happy Hour Price:

Pints of Guiness, Killkenny & Yebisu: 800 yen
Cocktails 500 yen

Happy Hour Time: Mon-Fri, 17:00-19:00
Music Genre:
Suitable For singles, couples, great drinks,

Address:2 Chome-11−1 Nagatacho, Chiyoda, Tokyo
GPS:35.6735714, 139.7403941
Telephone:03-3539-3615
Web:http://www.dubliners.jp/

October 20, 2014 0 comment
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