Golden Gai, Kabukicho – Hair of the Dogs, Bar Albatross

Another post imported from Live Journal from November 08:

So, I HAVE to post about some of the wonderful nightlife I experienced while in Tokyo.

I was drawn to descriptions of some areas in Shibuya and Shinjuku where, amongst the high-rises and neon, exist some ramshackle, tiny, old-fashioned bars. Like, where 5 people is a crowd, and you have to walk up a steep flight of narrow stairs to enter, or venture down narrow passageways.

On my first night while waiting for the lift, I looked out the window to see what looked like a slum area, surrounded by modern buidlings on all sides – quite the anomaly. I looked at my LP and deduced it was the Golden Gai area in Kabukicho. Intriguing. After a few nights I finally ventured down into the den to see what I had been missing. What atmosphere!!

At first I went to the Albatross, where some people were sketching. So I asked for a pencil and joined them, and we had sketching competitions, of koalas and kangaroos, and sushi and sumo’s. Much fun. After maybe an hour or a bit more I announced I wanted to find the goth bar that Tim Burton had been to and went to take my leave. Not only did one of the guys refuse my offers of payment, saying he would treat me, he also walked me to the next bar! I was flabbergasted.

Unfortunately the bar in question was closed, so I walked back to a bar I’d seen earlier, with a big Ramones poster on the door – a punk bar!! Went inside and had the BEST time! There was a lovely bargirl AKI, and the owner Tohra soon turned up to say hi, with some friends in tow (from the fashion & tv industry). He had a turtle called De Niro in a tank in the bar – cool!

Anyhow, they played me Dead Kennedys and Sex Pistols, UK Subs and Stiff Little Fingers, Bad Manners and Specials, Shonen Knife…whatever I asked for. Bliss! I LOVE hearing music you love, when you’re far from home 🙂 I discovered the name of the bar is “Hair of the Dogs”. Stayed for a few hours, until a big spanish group came in.

I then went back the next night, after my night out at the Lock-up prison restaurant with Ivan (will come back to this in another post). First I met some young Japanese actors. Then a lovely couple from melbourne rocked up and we had a great time together. I got out my Fiend magazine, and lo and behold, the guy is in a music distribution company, and distributes music from some of the bands in the mag. Ka-ching!! Contact!

Will let the pics do the talking, as I’ve blathered on enough. But if you’re ever in Kabukicho – go to Hair of the Dogs and the Albatross – and many more!!

Golden Gai district Golden Gai district

This is looking down from my hotel – it looks like a slum area, doesn’t it? Cool!

Golden Gai again Golden Gai again

More of the same

In the midst of Golden Gai - see the punk bar to the right? Ramones - yeah! In the midst of Golden Gai – see the punk bar to the right? Ramones – yeah!

This is where it starts to get interesting…

Some other Golden Gai bars Some other Golden Gai bars

I guess this bar plays Pink Floyd I guess this bar plays Pink Floyd

Down in the Golden Gai alley, looking up at my hotel. Down in the Golden Gai alley, looking up at my hotel.

The name of the bar - Hair of the Dogs! The name of the bar – Hair of the Dogs!

It was on the ceiling, so you had to crane your neck and look up to see the name.

Bright red walls of punk bar Bright red walls of punk bar

Tohra, owner of hair of the Dog - punktastic! Tohra, owner of hair of the Dog – punktastic!

The Japanese John Hurt, Tohra's friend. The Japanese John Hurt, Tohra’s friend.

Another friend of Tohra's Another friend of Tohra’s

Tohra having a beer with us Tohra having a beer with us

Spanish friends Spanish friends

Me and a new friend from melbourne, in Hair of the Dogs Me and a new friend from melbourne, in Hair of the Dogs

Me with De Niro the turtle in the tank behind me Me with De Niro the turtle in the tank behind me

You might also like:

Comments

  1. I have been in golden gai before but it was a long time ago. Where exactly is it in Shinjuku again?

  2. Do you know the Hanazono shrine? It's right by there. Look for Mister Donut on corner of Yasukuni dori and Kuyakushu dori(same street as the Shinjuku Ward office), then follow the little pathway next to it. It takes you straight there.