Updated: April 08, 2019
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Kyoto Cocktail Bars - Top 5


Though cocktails may not be traditional to Japan, there are plenty of top-notch mixologists working at world-class bars across the country. If you are looking for such a place in Kyoto, look no further than these 5 bars.

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Nokishita 711

This cutting-edge bar's hip don't lie. Specializing in craft gin-based cocktails, Nokishita 711 is pushing the boundaries of what a cocktail bar can be. The price of the drinks is "pay what you want," and when you see the amazing creations (like drinks with soil and plants growing out of the glass), you just might feel compelled to spend more than you had planned. If you can only go to one bar on this list, go here!

Bee's Knees

Themed like a prohibition-era New York speak-easy, where people might have actually used the phrase "the bee's knees," this classy cocktail bar in the middle of Kyoto is a special spot. Enter through the yellow door that reads "The Book Store," and find yourself in a dimly-lit, bustling cocktail bar filled with people. This place is very popular, so you can always count on finding plenty of other bar-goers to hang out with as you sip on a fancy cocktail.


Head up the stairs of an old brick building into the attic, where you will discover the charming, steampunk-esque L'escamoteur (French for "the conjurer") bar. The atmosphere is fantastic, and there is an emphasis on magical presentation (hence the name) of the delicious cocktails. Due to the small space, you might have to wait a bit to get a seat, but it will be worth it, trust me.

Mixology Bar Smooth

If you're trying to dodge the hoards of tourists, and want to head somewhere more local, check out Mixology Bar Smooth. Compared to some of the other places on this list, the emphasis at Smooth is less on the atmosphere and more on the high-quality, outstanding beverages. There are a variety of mouth-watering cocktails on offer, and the staff is very friendly and welcoming.

The Roots of All Evil

A sister bar to Nokishita 711 (listed above), the Roots of All Evil has a similar emphasis on craft gin produced in Kyoto and around the world. Unlike Nokishita 711, this bar is not "pay what you want," but instead costs between ¥800 and ¥1,200 per drink (fairly standard). Creative botanical drinks are on offer here in a brighter, slightly larger space. If you love gin, this is your spot!

Restaurants Mentioned in this Article

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