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Monday, February 21, 2011

Gay Shimbashi Tokyo

ゲイ 新橋

Gay Shimbashi Tokyo

For most foreigners, gay Tokyo means Shinjuku 2-chome, but for Japanese, and many Japanese-conversant foreigners, Tokyo's gay scene extends considerably further.

The biggest concentration of gay bars in Tokyo outside of Shinjuku Ni-Chome is in Shinbashi, just south of Ginza.

Unlike Shinjuku, the gay bars in Shimbashi do not form a tight enclave. They are also generally smaller and effectively reserved for (Japanese) regular customers. Also, Shinbashi is definitely for the more mature set, the average age group being 35-50 years old. This makes for quite a different vibe from the predominantly youthful Ni-Chome.

I was in Shimbashi on the weekend. It is easily accessed. The area is served by the following railway lines: Japan Rail Yamanote Line, the Ginza Subway Line, the Asakusa Subway Line, and, via the nearby Shiodome Station, the Rinkai Line, and the Oedo Subway Line.

With a group of friends, we called in on Town House Tokyo.  Town House Tokyo has been a gay Shinbashi presence since 2003. It is big for a Japanese gay bar, cheap at 500 yen a drink, popular (especially on Fridays, when we went), friendly, has karaoke, and theme nights, including regular underwear-only nights. The staff is welcoming and attentive, making sure you always have a drink, and the free and easy seating/standing arrangement means the chance to chat up is always there.

As with most Japanese gay bars: no photo taking - thus our pictorial coverage (at top) being limited to the outside entrance - the stairs at right.

Read more about gay Shimbashi.

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  1. "The biggest concentration of gay bars in Tokyo outside of Shinjuku Ni-Chome is in Shinbashi, just south of Ginza."

    I would highly disagree with this affirmation. Shimbashi actually comes 4th in term of concentration of gay bars in Tokyo, after Ueno (chubby/ bears) and Asakusa (elderly). Ikebukuro comes 5th and is mostly busy on week-days, has is the case with shimbashi (exception: Townhouse which can get crowded when they have special events on saturdays) Townhouse is from far the best gay bar in Tokyo as far as I'm concerned.

    1. Hi guill49, thanks for the feedback. To be honest, since getting married, I have been off the scene for several years now, so the above was written to the best of my knowledge, but I appreciate you sharing your knowledge here.

  2. I just had the worst experience at town house tokyo. My partner is diabetic and so is slow with his drinks, however on the other hand I can drink quite a bit and make up for him taking things slow. On a night when it wasn't particularly busy we were enjoying some drinks and even asked another friend to join us. We were making friendly conversation and just about to order another drink when the bar manager Ryuchi very rudely demanded we leave. We were not drunk or being too rowdy. It was plain that he was being discriminating because we were foreign. It was very embarrassing and the rudest I have ever been treated in Japan by anyone ever. It's left a terrible feeling about tokyo. I cannot recommend anyone to go to this bar. It was a horrible experience.


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