Why opt for a cheapo night of conbini beers and conversation when you can have a frenetic night of fun, music and dancing for the same price?
Unbeknownst to most Tokyo Cheapos, there are a slew of great budget clubs— you just have to be at the right place at the right time. So put on your dancing shoes, bring your ID (they do check), and pack a light wallet: here are Tokyo’s best budget clubs.
While lacking in medieval decor, Camelot delivers by being the kingdom of cheapdom. Every day of the week, before 11 pm, ladies are free and foreign guys get in for ¥1,000. It’s a subtle nod in direction of international guests, yet the crowd is typically Japanese and primarily young (early-mid 20s).
The ¥1,000 entry includes 2 free drink tickets—so it’s essentially getting in for free. Upon exiting Camelot, you’ll also be given a discount pass for foreigners that you can use at any time of the night (this typically saves you ¥1,000 to ¥1,500 off peak entry). Be warned though: peak entry (after 11 pm) will be ¥3,500 with 2 drinks for men and ¥2,500 with 2 drinks for women without a discount pass.
Camelot has a total of three floors: a top floor for hip hop and RnB, a bottom floor of EDM, and a small side white room that plays a variety of music depending on the night.
If you can make it to Atom before the clock strikes midnight, you’ll get in for a sly ¥1,000—ladies, you’ll also get 2 free drink tickets for that price. Should you be in a pinch for time, keep your cheapo eye out for the the Atom discount coupons that are passed out near the Starbucks on Center Gai. While these coupons won’t get you in for ¥1,000, they will get you in for a significant discount (¥1,000 or more off) and are valid for anytime of night.
There are 3 floors in Atom, so your ¥1,000 goes quite a long way. The crowd is very Japanese but friendly, however, the bouncers here tend to be strict, so as mentioned, do not forget your ID! The music is typically top 40, EDM, house, and RnB/hip hop: it all depends on the floor.
It’s a jungle in here: between 7 pm – 11pm each night is a nomihodai (all-you-can-drink) deal, which is usually only ¥1,000. And while the nomihodai only covers cheap drinks, you can pay an additional ¥200 yen and get an upgrade (like for an ever-so-delicious Corona).
Once the nomihodai ends at 11 pm, entry is free for ladies and ¥1,000 (with 2 drinks) for guys. Due to it being such a budget deal, the club can get very crowded— especially on weekends. It’s only one room so music tends to be a Top 40 and EDM mix. With nowhere to move, the sound can get become a bit overbearing at times.
Should Jumanji get too packed, New Planet next door will offer a similar deal. And if neither of those suits your tastes, try their sister club—Greenland—right down the street for identical pricing.
For only ¥1,000 (including 1 drink ticket), you can enter and enjoy this quasi-club. While it’s only one room, and full of loud mainstream dance music, there are also shisha tables, poles on the corners of the bars, and plenty of seats to rest your legs. It can get quite fun in here.
The crowd tends to be a solid mix of foreigners and Japanese; and almost everyone gets blended together as the night progresses. One added benefit of Quest absent from others on the list is that it’s open late: sometimes until 9 or 10 in the morning depending on the crowd. Like Jumanji, New Planet and Greenland, this quasi-club can get packed.
For the cheapest of the cheap …
While there are completely free options for clubbing, they tend to get so packed that even a cheapo will want to spend more for space, quality, or simply put: more fun. Sometimes, even on a budget, your best bet is paying just that tiny bit more for a much better venue and experience. For more information on higher-end venues, and other aspects of Tokyo’s nightlife, check out www.tokyonightowl.com.
There’s also always Bar Oath Shibuya—a favorite cheapo hangout with good tunes and folks who are happy to chat until the sun comes up.