Bar Hoshi バー保志 (Ginza)
Bar Hoshi in Ginza is one of the most talked about by the Japanese people who know the classic bar scene well. The service is impeccable, the bar's atmosphere is rustic and stylish at the same time, and the cocktails are excellent. So if you are looking for a nice relaxing bar experiencing this might be the place for you. The bar is rather small, with only 18 seats, and the price is somewhat more expensive than the average. Expect to pay ¥6,000 and over (there is a ¥1,500 service charge). But it is definitely worth the go if you are seeking an upscale bar experience in Ginza.
Bar Hoshi is at a 5-minute walk from the Ginza station (exit C2). It's on the 8th floor of the Aoki Tower.
EST! エスト (Ueno)
This is the coolest refuge in Ueno! It's a small place that has been around since 1973, and the bar master and owner Watanabe san who is now over 80 years of age, knows how to make some awesome cocktails. His selection of Japanese sake is also said to be excellent. This place is highly praised by locals for its quality of service and its relaxing, quaint atmosphere. There is a table for 4 at the bar and the rest are counter seats. It's possible to make a reservation.
It's very near the Yushima Subway station and at a 10-minute walk from the JR Okachimachi station.
Samboa Bar 浅草サンボア (Asakusa)
Although Asakusa has become one of Tokyo's main tourist destination, this retro bar established in 1918 still has its local vibe. You'll get served your drink on a Union Jack coaster by the friendly barman. The specialty of the place are highball drinks (whiskey and soda). They use Japanese whiskey, which is world-renowned (Japan has a long and interesting history of whiskey production). Drinks start at ¥1000. You can also order some staple bar foods such as pickles and olives, but you should try the homemade smoked fish assortment for ¥800.
Samboa Bar is located a 5-minute walk from the Asakusa station.
Sanlucar BAR サンルーカルバー (Iidabashi, Kagurazaka)
This is another bar that you'll absolutely love if you're into the classy retro atmosphere. The table charge is ¥900 and the drinks are around ¥1,500 each. You might want to try the special Irish coffee pictured above! It's a seasonal special during the winter time that will really warm you up. You'll be amazed by the skills of the bar master for any drink he makes.
Sanlucar BAR is located very near the Kagurazaka station (Exit 1). It is also within a walking distance of the JR Iidabashi station.
Bar Tiare バーティアレ (Akasaka)
There is a ¥700 cover charge here and the drinks are about ¥1,300 each. The specialty here is cocktails made with seasonal fruits, so the menu changes depending on what is available. An item may be just served for two weeks, which goes to show how particular they are about their cocktails. The other specialty here is whisky. They serve plenty of types from all over the world that are aged 10 years and more. A glass of whisky is about ¥1,000 to ¥1,200.
The bar is located a 3-minute walk from the Akasaka-Mitsuke station or a 6-min walk from the Akasaka station.
Ishi no Hana 石の華 (Shibuya)
This is simply the best bar you can find in Shibuya! The bartender Mr. Shinobu Ishigaki won the nation-wide NBA cocktail competition in 2002 before opening his bar, Ishi no Hana, the next year. He serves some amazing creations that are both a pleasure for the eyes and the pallet. The menu changes on a monthly basis, so if you're not sure what to order, just ask for what is recommended for the month and be prepared to have quite possibly one of the best drinks you've ever had.
Ishi no Hana is located a 3-minute walk from the Shibuya station.
Radio ラジオ (Omotesando)
Bar Radio has excellent cocktails that are about ¥1,500. A little pricey, but totally worth the price because they are made with top-notch ingredients (seasonal fruits, high-grade liqueurs, etc.). They are served in beautiful glasses too. One thing that makes this place really special is that it's completely non-smoking, which is a rarity in Tokyo. So if the smokey bar atmosphere puts you off, this is the place for you.
Located at a 5-minute walk from Omotesando station.
Harajuku Taproom 原宿タップルーム (Harajuku)
Harajuku Taproom is a place that is as much famous for its craft beers than it is for its yakitori (grilled chicken on skewers), and the two make the perfect combination. So this should definitely be one of your top choices if you want a cool bar atmosphere and you've worked up an appetite. They have 12 choices of craft beers plus some seasonal ones. This is Harajuku so the clientele of the bar is mostly in their 20s and 30s.
Bar le Parrain ル・パラン (Shinjuku)
Another awesome secluded bar in the Shinjuku Sanchome district. Among the many bars of the area, connoisseurs know this one is the best with it soothing baroque atmosphere and killer drinks served in fancy glasses. There are a few sofa chairs with tables and counter seats. For the atmosphere, the place is unbeatable.
Located at a 2-minute walk from the Shinjuku Sanchome station or a 5-minute walk from the JR Shinjuku station (east exit).
Bar Too バー・ツー (Ikebukuro)
In an area not really known for authentic bars, Bar Too is a little gem you have to go to if you are in the southern part of Ikebukuro. Their fruity cocktails are in a league of their own compared to what you'll find around. They use all kinds of seasonal Japanese fruits such as kinkan (Japanese kumquat), pomegranate, apples etc. They have just the right balance of natural sweetness and acidity. The place is held by top-notch professional bartenders with class. You'll be quite impressed.
Located at about a 10 to 15-minute walk from the east exit of the JR Ikebukuro station. It's near the Minami Ikebukuro Park, a green space you should check out if you're in the area during the daytime.