Nightlife in Nishi OgikuboArea Guide
Nishi Ogikubu is small but eclectic neighbourhood just west of Tokyo on the Chuo Line. Often overshadowed by the more popular adjacent Kichijoji station, Nishi Ogikubo has its own diverse mix of food, art and music. The homey streets, which can be a little dull during the day, come alive after dark with plenty of bright spots that gather its nightlife.
Hobo Ya Blues Bar
A gem of bar that sits cheek by jowl by the Nishi Ogikubo station, Hobo Ya is a basement nook for blues fanatics. The walls are covered with posters and pictures of the jazz greats, musical instruments and the personal collection of the owner’s CDs, and has what may be a Japanese version of a subtle reference to a speakeasy. Regulars sit at the bar and if you’re lucky, some bring their own instruments to play. Visitors can order sake as well as Japanese beer from the menu and they also serve local favorites of omurice, curries and salads.
Nandemo Recycle Shop
Nandemo is an exciting second-hand shop that opens from 9 at night to 1 AM, perfect for anyone who cares for an after-drinks shopping spree. The place is stacked with unusual things from rare vintage bags and jewelry to random pieces of eclectic furniture, making it a little difficult to move around the shop. However, the store owners have great pride in the selection they keep and all the items available are of a good and usable condition.
Pit Bar is another basement venue for live music that adds to Nishi Ogikubo’s reputation. They always have a great lineup of talent from all over Japan as well as foreign bands. On weekends they hold punk and hardcore rock events while on weekdays the atmosphere is more chill with DJs and live acoustic performances. Besides the music, the bar is quite wallet friendly, with the shochu, beer and cocktails starting from only 300 yen. It can get quite crowded and as the space doesn’t have the stage, you can get up close to the performers.
This yakitori restaurant gives a real flavour of local Japanese fast food, great for hurrying businessmen as well as anyone who wants a quick bite to eat before they move on. It’s part of a chain of stores but the Nishi Ogikubo one has an intimate feel, despite being completely open to the street. The menu includes grilled chicken and pork skewers and is cheap but quite delicious. Seats will usually fill quickly but no one stays too long.
Bakawarai is a small bar with a big reputation for delicious food, friendly staff and great conversation. Closer to Kichijoji than Nishi Ogikubo, the atmosphere is fun-filled and lively with impromptu cooking displays that even pull in the customers to show off their skills. The bar keeps an excellent selection of sake and the food is cheap but made with good quality ingredients. Come for a drink or a meal, it’s a place to meet people from all walks of life and all over the world for a talk and a laugh.