While Tokyo might be the nightlife mecca of Japan, Kyoto offers the best of both worlds. The former capital of Japan is famous for its beauty and history, but it also boasts a vibrant nightlife. Here are the best bars in Kyoto to check out during your visit.
Sake Bar Yoramu
If you are looking for a unique and personalized experience, a visit to Sake Bar Yoramu will not disappoint. The owner has extensive knowledge and an impeccable selection of sake. He will not only educate you but also provide an in-depth understanding of sake. The small, intimate setting is the perfect place to not only enjoy the sake but learn about the nuances and characteristics of every fermented rice beverage.
35-1 Matsuyacho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-0831, Kyoto Prefecture
Pig & Whistle
Good food, good beer, and good vibes – the Pig & Whistle is an English pub and authentic British Bar in Kyoto. With an extensive selection of beer including Guinness and a menu with the English bar staples, the Pig & Whistle is a hot spot on game night, and offers a warm, welcoming environment. Located near Sanjo Station, Pig & Whistle is definitely one of the best bars in Kyoto for a comfortable evening and relaxed environment.
Shobi building 2F, 115 Ohashicho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0009, Kyoto Prefecture
A comfortable Japanese-style craft beer bar with fresh and delicious food, Beer Komachi has quickly become one of the coolest bars in Kyoto. As such, the small establishment fills up very quickly as there is limited seating, so it is best to arrive early. With tons of options from fresh chicken karaage to scallops that pair perfectly with a local or international craft beer on tap, the food will not disappoint. The English-speaking staff are warm and welcoming, and this is a great place to rub elbows with the locals in the area as it is a popular place for tourists and locals alike.
444 Hachikencho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 605-0027
As the name suggests, this cozy little cocktail bar features a few rocking chairs to lounge in while you drink. If you are looking for an exceptional cocktail, the bartenders at Rocking Chair will whip you up anything that suits your preferences. Drinks are inventive and creative as there is no menu, rather you explain what you’d like and they will concoct your drink using Japanese ingredients. The setting is both warm and inviting and emulates a speakeasy vibe. There are also several whiskys to choose from and port wine. If you’re lucky to grab a seat next to the fireplace, it will make your drinking experience even warmer than the cozy Rocking Chair already is.
434-2 Tachibanacho Shimogyo-Ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
In the attic of an unassuming narrow brick building, you’ll find one of the best bars not only in Kyoto, but also in the world. The wooden furnishings and the display of glass bottles along the bar with dim candlelight surrounding them create an enchanting atmosphere. The owner of the steampunk-themed bar, Christophe, will have you spellbound, which isn’t surprising given that he doubles as a bartender and magician. He will have you in a trance as he whips up elixirs and potions; the performance and the drinks make this is a top spot to have a drink.
138-9 Saitocho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, 600-8012
This upscale Japanese bar, Bar K6, is popular with the more affluent crowd in Kyoto as well as among travelers. It offers a wide selection of single malts, around 600 to be exact, and around 1,200 varieties of sake. There are also some pretty good cocktails and various Scottish eats, like haggis pizza. Plus, the bar offers some of the prettiest views of Kiyamachi-Dōri. Every serious spirit aficionado in Kyoto has found himself in this bar at one point or another.
481 Higashiikesucho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-0922