The Best Tachinomi (Standing Bars) in Tokyo

Casual standing bars—called tachinomi in Japanese—are places to, quite literally, stand and drink. While tachinomi were traditionally filled with salarymen grabbing a quick drink and small bite on their way home, more recently they have become popular with a wider range of clientele. They tend to be friendly and welcoming to newcomers and, most importantly, easy on the wallet. Grab a space at the bar, and order a beer while perusing the menu. Thanks to the lack of seats, most guests stop in for a few drinks and dishes and then move on.  —Yukari Sakamoto

[Ed. note: For ease in navigating with locals and taxis, all addresses are included in Japanese at the end of each venue’s description.]

  • 1

    Fujiya Honten Dining Bar

    This affordable cult favorite has been in business for 130 years and remains popular with everyone from local businessmen winding down after a long day to college students on a budget. Order a “hoppy”—an almost non-alcoholic mixer—and shochu and pick from a food menu filled with retro dishes like breaded and fried ham, pickled mackerel and simmered offal. (Fujiya Honten Dining Bar, 富士屋本店 ダイニングバー: 渋谷区桜ヶ丘町16-10, B1)

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    KNOWN FOR

    • full menu
    • cheap date
    • standing bar
  • 2

    Ginza Shimada

    While most standing bars' food is casual, the more refined cuisine at Shimada—considered by many to be the best of its ilk in Tokyo—has inspired a trend of high-end standing bars offering kaiseki (multi-course meals). Popular items include chilled soba noodles topped with karasumi (salt-cured bottarga roe) or uni with Japanese spiny lobster. (Ginza Shimada, 銀座しまだ: 中央区銀座8-2-8高坂ビル1F)

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    KNOWN FOR

    • full menu
    • lots of sake
    • standing bar
  • 3

    Kanemasu

    Kanemasu is an off-the-beaten-path locals spot located in the Kachidoki district, just across the bridge from Tsukiji Market. The space fits only about ten people at a long, light-wood counter and is known for its quality ingredients, which are sourced from Tsukiji. Raw wagyu stuffed with uni, maguro rolls (tuna sashimi wrapped in nori sans rice) and the hairy crab salad are all standards here. (Kanemasu, かねます: 中央区勝どき1-8-1勝どきビュータワー1F)

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    KNOWN FOR

    • full menu
    • standing bar
  • 4

    Nihonshu Stand Moto

    A modern, hip standing bar, Moto serves a large selection of sake from magnum bottles. Though the small C-shaped bar can barely accommodate more than ten at a time, the staff is accommodating and will help newcomers pair sake with the cuisine. The bar is just a short walk from Shinjuku Sanchome, a neighborhood filled with bars and izakaya joints, so wander through once you've wrapped up here. (Nihonshu Stand Moto 日本酒スタンド 酛: 新宿区新宿5-17-11白鳳ビルB1)

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    KNOWN FOR

    • standing bar
    • full menu
  • 5

    Saiseisakaba

    Saiseisakaba is one of the most popular standing bars in Shinjuku Sanchome, a neighborhood filled with places to drink. A handsome and friendly staff welcomes passersby for large mugs of beer and yakitori grilled to order. Famous for its offal, Saiseisakaba's English menu details items like testicles and uterus, but the rest of the list is in Japanese. Be sure to order the simmered cow’s tongue, one of the bar's signature dishes. (Saiseisakaba, 日本再生酒場: 新宿区新宿3-7-3丸中ビル)

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    KNOWN FOR

    • bar food
    • outdoor / patio
  • 6

    Tachigui Sakaba Buri

    One of the most beautiful tachinomi in Tokyo, this bar's walls are lined with colorful cup sake—or single labeled glass cups of sake as opposed to a carafe or bottle—which is a good way to try a variety of styles in one night. (The bar was ahead of the cup sake trend, which is just now starting to make its way overseas and into restaurants in New York City and beyond.) Though it's a bit of a hike from Ebisu station, "Buri," as it's known locally, is usually filled with a young, hip crowd and fills up early in the evening. (Tachigui Sakaba buri, 立喰酒場buri: 渋谷区恵比寿西1-14-1)

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    KNOWN FOR

    • standing bar
    • full menu
    • lots of sake
  • 7

    Tachinomi Ryoma

    Ryoma is a friendly tachinomi specializing in shochu, the distilled spirit native to Japan made from a variety of base ingredients. Ask the staff for advice on which bottles to try and order from a simple menu that includes excellent sashimi and fried chicken. (Tachinomi Ryoma, 立ち飲み 竜馬: 港区新橋2-13-3 ALC. Building 1F)

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    KNOWN FOR

    • lots of shochu
    • standing bar
    • full menu

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