This place has some pretty good California fusion type food, a decent wine menu and friendly service. It would be a pretty good place to have a small dinner party (of six or so people). It's a good place to meet friends for a bite to eat after work, and if you feel like staying out, you can always head upstairs to Ruby Room for some music and more drinks.
This place has cheap drinks and cheap food and is conveniently located in the center of Shibuya. Thus many foreign people congregate there to plan their evenings at other places, or go for a few drinks before the last train home. I have no complaints about this bar. Service is fast and fair, and if you know a lot of alcoholics in Shibuya, you might just run into one of your friends here. If it is full, there are plenty of other bars in the immediate vicinity.
There is only one redeeming quality of Heartland. It has some cool tv screens with interesting visuals up above the bar.
This is the kind of place that gives foreigners in Japan a bad name. Western businessmen go here to hunt for Japanese girls. If you ever meet a girl who says that she likes going to Heartland, just walk away. Cleverly disguised as a classy venue at the base of Roppongi hills, the place is a meat market for professionals. The ladies that go here are interested in bagging a rich businessman from overseas, and the men who go know that the women are willing to do pretty much whatever it takes to get their meal ticket (and plane ticket). I know a guy who was threatened by the girl he picked up at heartland. She said that if he broke up with her, she'd call the police and make up some incriminating stuff. I'd like to see an animal instincts documentary film maker produce a film about the predatory and mating instincts of the human animals that go to this watering hole.
The two times I went to this place, it was nearly too crowded to even get in the door, let alone get a drink, which took about ten minutes. The decor is unique and interesting, but I found the clientele to be a bit of the 'i'm part of the in crowd and am not interested in talking to strangers' group. I'm not sure why I went to the place twice.
This place reminded me a little bit of a higher class HUB bar. It is a bit smaller than the average hub to my recollection, but they have a wide selection of drinks (including a bunch of beers on tap) as well as a pretty good selection of food. The prices are pretty good too. A pint of Guiness was under 1000 yen last time I visited, which is less than most other places in the city. But remember the rules, no rowdy drunks and respect the other customers, as it says on their rules list.
Only worth going in the summer when it's hot outside, otherwise it isn't really worth going at all. One of the redeeming features of the place is that the glasses are made of ice, which is pretty fun. Yes the place is cold and probably expensive to maintain, so it reminded me of the bubble days in Japan when expense accounts and a general lack of concern for the neverending supply of money led to the birth of such kinds of places. It might be worth going once for the experience, but in terms of yen/minute value, this place is a little expensive.
Oh A971. You can't really go wrong with the 500 yen beer, but you can go wrong with the clientele. I would imagine that the place is getting a bit more quiet now that so many finance types have been sent home or lost their jobs. It's a meat market for money grubbers thinly veiled in the pleasant atmosphere of midtown. It's a pleasant enough place during the afternoon or early evening to go for a beer, but one the trader types get off work, it's time to pack up and move on to a different venue.
2 things about combine. The first is that it's been a pretty trendy place to have events related to urban culture and electronic music. Lots of 'cool' people go there to mingle in the fairly relaxed atmosphere. It's a decent place to eat too. However: A friend of mine was outside the place one evening and was angrily yelled at by the owner/manager of the place for having a small stereo playing at a moderate volume. If the guy is rude enough to pull a stunt like that, I won't be frequenting his business again.
Golden Gai (Landmarks & Historical Places / Shinjuku)
Many of these small bars have seating charges which they will only tell you about after you've finished. Going in for just one beer might not be as economical as you originally planned. Each bar has its own sort of theme or style as decided by the owner. There are foreigner friendly bars, and they are fairly obvious, what with their English signs out front. The most scenic way into the area is along a little diagonal pathway lined in trees and shrubs, which is completely unlike anything else in the kabukicho district. You can find the path next to the Mister Donut shop on the main drag in Shinjuku.
From Hachiko, cross the scramble to the north (parallel to the yamanote line tracks) and turn right. After going under the tracks and passing the pepper lunch, turn left. The street is really quite unlike anything else in Shibuya, with stacks of tiny bars in two story buildings. Some of the bars are so small they could only seat 4 people. The one I visited, was the third space for a crew of rock climbers. These bars all share the same outdoor toilets and work together to decorate their street during festivals. There is also a pretty good cold ramen noodle place in the B1 close to the main street.
This is where the party people end up after having been to their various events of the night. It is listed as closing at 6:00am, but I seem to remember leaving at 7:30 after a new DJ had just come on and the people were still dancing. Strippers and hostesses come here after work to unwind, so there might be a disproportionately high number of beautiful eastern Europeans, Brazilians and Russians in the mix. Good times.
Muse is bigger than you'd think when you first walk in. There is the main room with a big bar and a pool table, a casino table and a few tables. The next room features loud music and dancing and another bar. Downstairs contains another bar, different music and more people dancing. There are also all sorts of nooks and corners in which people find themselves having conversations.
Muse is just close enough to Roppongi for people to walk to, but far enough for people who have arrived to want to leave; so it gets busy.
I seem to recall pouring a cream shot into someone's beer while I was in here. Some guy with an ethanol fueled sense of confidence sitting at the bar rang the bell (or was it a gong) and bought everyone in the bar a shot! The place is small, (or rather long and narrow) with what seemed like people everywhere. The clown car analogy is a good one. But unlike the Yamanote line, the people in this packed space actually talk to one another. I wouldn't say that Geronimo's is a place to make lifelong connections with people, but you never know who will stumble up the stairs and into the bar...
Traci has set up an excellent space in what used to be a Glass Studio in east Shibuya. She hired a great cook and provides good food to what I see as two types of people: starters and stayers.
For someone just starting out in Tokyo, the Pink Cow is a friendly place to make new contacts. A previous review states that it is inconvenient because you have to stand up to order at the bar. This may be an inconvenience, but it also gives you the opportunity to meet everyone else who is waiting or chatting there.
The second type of person is the one who has made it their third space. They come at least once a week and Traci has made it feel like the Pink Cow is a second home. She gives me a hug every time I show up and really makes me feel welcome.
I stumbled into this place in Roppongi in the midst of a booze fueled evening. I'm not sure that there were any Japanese people in the bar who weren't attached to groups of foreigners. There was one loud group celebrating a birthday party taking up most of the back of the place. The beer I drank came in a green bottle and somehow was empty before I knew it. (There are rumors of beer gnomes living in Roppongi that drink your beer when you aren't looking)
The bar is just after Don Quixote and just before the convenience store on the corner, up a flight of stairs.