I've been a Goruden Gai (Japanese pronunciation for "Golden Guy" regular for almost 30 years and have seen its metamorphosis from a mysterious hidden enclave accessible only to Japanese regulars to a boarded up place that seemed on the brink of extinction to the thriving destination it is today. The 100 or so miniature establishments packed into Goruden Gai attract a healthy mix of both 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.
Goruden Gai, 1-1-7 Kabuki-cho
Our Rating Hours Daily 7pm–5am Transportation Station: Shinjuku San-chome (7 min.) Phone 03/3342-5758 Prices ¥500 table charge per person Web site Albatross