Great Spots For Autumn Cocktails In Tokyo 2022
Enjoy The Best Of The Season At These Five Unique Bars
The fall season is no time to be shy about clichés, whether it’s cozy sweaters, warming spices, brisk walks amidst fiery foliage—or innovative cocktails.
You know you are in good hands with Tokyo’s bartenders when it comes to creating original seasonal menus. Whether it’s rich fruits or sophisticated smoky accents, here are suggestions for five bars in the metropolis whose menu offers a creative autumn twist.
Chill out at Tokyo’s tallest rooftop bar in the upscale Toranomon Hills complex. Swank is done to perfection here, from the walnut wood décor to the electro-jazz soundtrack. This year’s seasonal cocktails, prepared by award-winning mixologists, feature a selection of smoked tea martinis available through October 31, whose wafting fragrance will meet you as soon as you emerge from the elevator.
The lineup includes the Inca Chocotini, which combines pumpkin purée with white cacao liqueur, maté tea syrup, cardamom bitters and smoked palo santo; and the Smoky Bullet, which pairs earl grey flavored gin with peat whiskey, Angostura bitters and sakura smoke. During November and December, seasonal options include a selection of decadent spice-infused hot coffee cocktails, including the Rooftop Brulée. Be sure to grab a seat with a view of the cityscape below.
- Hours: Sun, Tues–Thu: 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., Fri & Sat: 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Closed on Mondays until further notice.
- Address: 1-23-4 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo
- Autumn cocktails: ¥2,420 each
This lounge-style bar and restaurant, set inside the artistic Mesm Tokyo hotel in Takeshiba, is an excellent place to spend an evening overlooking some of Tokyo Bay’s most dramatic nightscapes while indulging in inventive mixology cocktails. The bar is themed on a painter’s palette and offers cocktails and mocktails spanning artists from Keith Haring to Hokusai.
For a seasonal option, consider the aptly named Harvest—a rich tipple combining rye whiskey brew combined with accents of maple walnut, burdock root and cinnamon, and served alongside an attractively-arranged puffed rice cake; or Coffee Break, featuring brandy with lavender bitters, an almond-mascarpone mousse and cinnamon, and rich Sarutahiko coffee.
- Hours: Mon–Thu: 2 p.m.–11 p.m., Fri: 2 p.m.–12 a.m., Sat: 12 p.m.–12 a.m., Sun & Holidays: 12 p.m.–11 p.m.
- Address: 1-10-30 Kaigan, Minato City, Tokyo
- Cocktails: ¥2,600 each
Set inside a modest-looking building on a street corner near Shinjuku-gyoen, just along the edge of Tokyo’s famed gayborhood Nichome, opening the door to this bar feels somewhat like passing through a threshold into another world. Amidst the foliage and the mood lighting, owner Aki Tazawa puts on an impressive one-woman show as bartender, chef and DJ. Relax to the sound of her smooth tracks—which could likely be R&B, old-school soul or 1970s Japanese rock—as you sip your cocktail of choice.
Autumn options include an amaretto-flavored brandy and Cointreau on the rocks topped with a maraschino cherry; or creamy hazelnut with Kahlua flecked with pistachio nuts. As you gaze down at the street below from the large window framed by a leafy tree, you’ll hardly believe you’re in central Tokyo—and you’ll want this gem of a bar to stay secret.
- Hours: 5 p.m.–2 a.m. (Irregular days off: see their Instagram for schedule updates.)
- Address: Shinjuku Building 3F, 3-1-32 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
- Cocktails: Starting from ¥900
- ¥500 cover charge (includes a small plate of food)
Ginza is arguably one of Tokyo’s most famous old-school cocktail bar districts. Hard-core aficionados will most definitely want to spend some time in these hideaways watching these seriously suited bartenders engaged in their trade. Such traditional bars are a slow affair that normally also come with a hefty cover charge, so another option in the area to consider is Ironbark, located on the sixth floor of Ginza Six. The Australian-themed bar is lined with bottles from the Melbourne gin company and packages of beans from Byron Bay’s Bun coffee, which might be used for your first autumn drink of choice—an espresso martini.
Other seasonal offerings are the “pumpkin-o-lantern”, made from fresh pumpkin blended with soy milk and hojicha (roasted green tea), and topped with the tangy, salted tajin spice and fresh kyoho grapes, which can feature in a gin or vodka cocktail with black tea and grapefruit accents.
- Evening hours: 5:30 p.m.–11 p.m. nightly. (Also open for lunch daily from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- Address: Ginza Six 6F, 61-10 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
- Cocktails: From ¥1300
Recently voted as 25 on the list of Asia’s Top 50 bars, this classic establishment in the quiet Ebisu backstreets hardly needs an introduction—particularly since its head bartender, Brazilian-born Rogerio Igarashi Vaz, appeared in a recent Netflix special on ‘Midnight Asia’. The uber-talented, exceedingly friendly Vaz and his team craft absinthe and other herbal cocktails, replete with tall, carved gleaming ice cubes, in an intriguing dimly-lit library-esque setting. The atmosphere is set to the backdrop of Vaz’s playlist, which is sometimes edgy, sometimes smooth and always perfectly attuned to the vibe of the night.
The beautifully-lettered menu is divided into categories including signature, classic, absinthe, and seasonal cocktails—but fall-themed options are found throughout the menu, including Café bon temps, an herby and creamy concoction featuring chicory root-infused vodka, absinthe and coffee; and Salt and Tears, with gin, Cointreau and grapefruit bitters, dusted with satsumaimo (sweet potato) salt made in-house. Vaz is also happy to make original cocktails by request—he suggests an autumnal hot rum spiced with ginger, cinnamon, chili and cloves.
- Hours: Every night, 6 p.m.–2 a.m.
- Address: Dis Building, 1-5-8 Ebisunishi, Shibuya, Tokyo
- Cocktails: ¥1320 to ¥1760
- ¥500 cover charge
Autumn is many peoples’ favorite time to enjoy the best of the season but Tokyo’s creative cocktail bars are actually fantastic places to visit at any time. Once you visit these bars, along with others on the Tokyo scene, you’ll want to come back to experience what they have to offer during other seasons of the year.