I've been a Golden Gai regular for more than 30 years and have seen its metamorphosis from a mysterious hidden enclave accessible only to Japanese customers to a boarded-up place on the brink of extinction to the thriving hotspot it is today. The 170 or so miniature establishments packed into Goruden Gai attract a healthy mix of Japanese and foreigners, young and old, straight and gay, and it's fun to just walk around and see where the night takes you. For a recommendation, however, Albatross has been around for a while, with a mostly young clientele and an eclectic decor that ranges from chandeliers to a deer head. You'll have to squeeze in to find a seat, either at the counter or up the narrow stairs to one of two Lilliputian levels above. Once settled, you'll find it has a very welcoming vibe. There’s a ¥500 snack charge per person. Open daily 7pm to 5am.
Goruden Gai, 1-1-7 Kabuki-cho
Our Rating Hours Daily 7pm–5am Transportation Station: Shinjuku San-chome (7 min.) In Goruden Gai, on 5th St. (Gobangai). Phone 03/3203-3699 Prices ¥500 table charge per person Web site Albatross
MapGoruden Gai, 1-1-7 Kabuki-cho Tokyo
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.