Our Insider’s Pick of Kyoto’s Best Bars for Travelers

Whether you’re looking for a good whiskey, a new sake or to sing your heart out at Karaoke, our local insider, Teagan has a shortlist of Kyoto’s best bars.


Sake Photo © iStock/MaxCab


Start your night at this small and cosy bar before it gets too crowded. Here you’ll find a good range of craft beers and whiskey to sip on while you enjoy this local favourite’s chilled-out vibe.

Fishbowl also offers some great cocktails, plus the opportunity to request off-menu concoctions for a bit of fun. The prices are average, but the drinks are worth it for the traditional Japanese whiskey. 

The owner here is a great conversationalist, with many stories to tell. Get ready to grab a highball and enjoy a good chin-wag. 

Jo Social Sake Bar

You can’t go to Japan without trying sake and Jo Social Sake Bar is the perfect place to be introduced to some of Japan’s finest. The staff here really know their stuff, so feel free to chat to them about recommendations or learn about sake’s delicate brewing process. 

They offer sake tasting at competitive prices too. Spend an evening here and you’re guaranteed to walk away with a few new favourites and learn what you like in a good Sake.

Bar Base 

Tucked away in an alleyway in Kyoto’s colorful Pontocho, this local hotspot has a great underground vibe. There are no windows and it’s fully concreted – so in the summer time, it can get pretty hot. 

The venue is fairly cosy, but the prices are reasonable. It’s a great place for pre-drinks before wandering through the teahouses and restaurants of Pontocho.


You haven’t really been to Japan unless you’ve enjoyed a night of drunken karaoke. Barcode is just the place for that. They offer a great range of drinks at good prices, along with a good selection of foreign and local music

The venue is fairly large, often filled with locals and international travellers, so you have the opportunity to make some new friends. With the right crowd, you could spend all night singing your heart out to some classic Destiny’s Child or Elton John.

L’Escamoteur Bar 

This is Kyoto’s home of delicious cocktails and vintage vibes. You’ll feel right at home with the retro-inspired décor and friendly bar staffs, who all have a knack for picking your drink of choice.

Although these cocktails are not the cheapest in Kyoto, they are the most delicious. Oh, and the owner is a magician too (naturally), which adds some really cool entertainment. 

Agave Kyoto 

If you’re a big tequila fan, Agave Kyoto is a great place to chill. Although you’ll no longer feel like you are in Japan, there are 400 types of tequila on offer. The tequila bar has a relaxed vibe for its customers with friendly staff and interesting décor; the only downside is that it is not cheap. 

Agave Kyoto is a cool place to check out if you’re not on a tight budget and are interested in trying some traditional drinks made with tequila. 

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