Tokyo Adventures, Part III
Despite that most trains and subway lines stop running between midnight at 5am in Tokyo, party people abound. Shinjuku Ni-Chome, the micro-gayborhood inhabiting a three square block area just east of Shinjuku station is absolutely no exception, although by day the area is almost a ghost town.
Easily, 50 itty bars and bitty clubs -- some no more than a counter and one-man deep standing room -- operate side by side in every available space. Imagine three-story hotels in which every room is single-occupancy and houses a small bar.
Tac's Knot (03-3341-9404; Shinjuku 3-11-12; 8pm-2am), on Shinjuku-dori street is one such bar. Tac, who mans the 2nd floor bar with straightforward cheer, happily entertained myself and two foreigners, introducing us to his patrons as we watched a Hawaiian Hula competition on TV together, although he was somewhat bewildered that any "gaijin" or foreigners knew of his establishment.
The most English-friendly watering hole is undoubtedly Advocates (03 3358 3988; Shinjuku 2-18-1; 6pm-5am), which runs a healthy happy hour every day from X to 9pm called Beer Blast. Your $10.00 hand-illustrated plastic cup, conveniently labeled "Beer", can be refilled as many times as desired and is fully collectible for your inner frat boy.
Shifty Air, a 3rd-floor bar off Ni-Chome's main drag, is more typical. Three years of Japanese lessons barely cracked the local queens' campy banter, which shot around the bar amid patrons' shrieks of laughter. If you are able to participate even marginally in the non-stop joshing between customers and bartenders -- who seem more like a group of good friends anyway -- this place is a riot.