3 types of Bars and Japanese drinking styles - Waku Waku

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3 types of Bars and Japanese drinking styles

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3 types of Bars and Japanese drinking styles

There is an incredible number of bars in Japan. It would be a wonderful experience to seek out and find a spot for you, meeting your needs or preference.

Waku Waku

Waku Waku

Published on 29 May 2020, 12:00

Drinking is now an indispensable part in Japanese cuisine.

The Japanese usually go out for drinks with their colleagues, friends or lovers on a daily basis. And when there is a chance like seasonal events, a lot of people also gather and take drinks together.

So, what type of spots do such Japanese people enjoy going out for drink? Here, we are introducing representative types of bars in Japan with some features.

1. Izakaya

When it comes to a place to drink, an Izakaya may be the first option that comes into Japanese people’s mind. Izakayas are typical Japanese style bars where you can enjoy various types of foods and beverages.

Izakayas in the street in Japan
Izakayas in the street in Japan

There are some countries in the world differentiating between restaurants and bars, as "restaurants are for dining" and "bars are for drinking". However, at Izakayas people are able to enjoy both at the same time. Thus, an Izakaya can be considered as a place to perceive one of Japanese cuisine culture.

Whereas some restaurants offer a various selection of foods and different alcohol beverages, others serve more categorized, such as "Japanese foods and Sake", or "Italian cuisine and wine".

In addition to that, different styles of Izakaya are available also in Japan. There are a cheap bar style, which can be enjoyed among friends or coworkers in a cheerful setting with affordable prices, or a private room style, where it is suitable for dating or client dinner. Also a small counter style which is designed for single or a couple is available too. Therefore, you can select the preferred style depending on your budget and occasions.

"Otoshi" is commonly served in almost all Izakayas in Japan. Otoshi is actually an appetizer plate. Even before ordering any dishes, it is automatically served once you order the first drink only, but this does not mean as free of charge.

Otoshi is actually an appetizer plate
Otoshi is actually an appetizer plate

"Otoshi" can be various dishes, but simmered vegetables, vinegar dishes or pickled items are the classic menu. The price for Otoshi is about 500 yen, and it can be considered like table charge.

When you go to an Izakaya for your first time, you may be bewildered to receive a dish that you don’t order yet. However, if you know about the Otoshi in advance, you may be able to deal with this situation.

2. Bar

Whereas Izakayas are places to have dining and drinking, bars are positioned as places to offer mainly alcoholic beverages. After dining in restaurants or Izakayas, this can be the next destination for those who want to continue to drink.

Bartenders with rich understanding of alcoholic drinks, welcome and serve customers with hospitality. Here offers a diverse collection of alcoholic drinks to prepare cocktail drinks. While they serve the original menu, also make a cocktail which the customer likes.

A bar counter
A bar counter

Recently, bars with unique concepts have been increasing. Drinking with entertainment, such as playing table tennis, viewing the planetarium or reading Manga are getting popular in Japan these days. Are you interested if it would be your unique drinking experience?

Bar is basically not a party place with a large number of people, but rather sipping and chatting in a slow way with a small group. So try not to visit this kind of bars in large groups and speak loud as other customers may get disturbed.

The price of drinks and snacks at bars tends to be relatively higher than in Izakayas, but enjoy drinking with your budget plan.

3. Karaoke

Karaoke where you can drink and sing
Karaoke where you can drink and sing

Karaoke is an ideal spot if you eager for both singing and drinking. In general, Japanese Karaoke is a private room with sound-proofing equipment. So you can make noises or sing out of tunes without worrying about others.

Almost all Karaoke chains offer meals as well as drinks. Therefore people are able to hold a party in Karaoke room to sing songs, drink and dine together.

Karaoke often offers great deals and discount campaigns. You can choose an affordable package depending on your needs. For example, if you pick "2 hours all-you-can-drink" deal then you have 2 hours of free singing and drinking. Or "3-hour free time" package offers 3 hours of free singing, so you can order the food or drink separately. As the campaign can be different from Karaoke chains or changed regularly, it is better to ask the staffs the valuable plan.

Along with Japanese songs, international song lists are available these days. Please have fun!

Besides drinking at Izakayas or bars, it is also easy to purchase alcoholic beverages at convenience stores or supermarkets in Japan. They open 24 hours a day, so you can freely enjoy your cups at your own place or in public.

After drinking

Japanese people often eat Ramen noodles after drinking
Japanese people often eat Ramen noodles after drinking

People tend to eat food (mostly high carb foods) after drinking, but it is called "SHIME" in Japan. And Japanese people eat Ramen noodles as "SHIME". It is often seen around midnight that Ramen restaurants are full with some happy, tipsy people. Its exquisite rich flavor of Ramen soup may be attractive when they get drunk.

How about trying Ramen as Japanese people do, after drinking?

Japan has their unique drinking culture and numerous bars. Please enjoy drinking in Japan, and try to find your favourite bars!

You can find more information about Japanese drinking culture here.

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