The days of summer are officially upon us. You know what that means—sipping wine on a terrace, pottering on a patio, vegging out on a veranda. Throw on some shades, grab a book or your laptop, and head to one of these Tokyo terrace cafe/bar locations for a good dose of vitamin D.
Segafredo (Mita, Shimokitazawa, Hiroo locations)
Segafredo is well known for being one of the best coffee chains when it comes to getting a decent espresso. At the Mita Bellju Building location, they put tables out on the plaza under the shadow of the skyscrapers around, and sell glasses of Moët for about 500 yen a pop. The runner-up cheapo terrace prizes go to Shimokitazawa for four tables of outdoor seating (open till 2am at weekends), and Hiroo for having a reasonable vista.
La Boheme (Shirokanedai location)
La Boheme has a reputation for being a place to get cheap, good value Italian food. At the Shirokanedai branch, you can while away the night on a beautiful leafy terrace with inexpensive drinks almost until dawn—they’re open until 3am and glasses of house wine start at 350 yen. A glass of Heartland beer goes for 500 yen. They have decent cocktails to boot.
Paul (Yotsuya location)
Paul, the French bakery chain that makes outta-this-world sesame flutes, usually only has a take-away storefront, or at most a few chairs where you can sip your café creme. But at the Yotsuya location, Paul boasts a full-service restaurant café with a lovely outdoor seating area. Wine and beers start around 500 yen, and if you order food, it comes with a BOTTOMLESS BREAD BASKET!
El Caliente (Shinagawa)
Like it hot? El Caliente serves up Nuevo Mexican cuisine on the fourth floor of the Atre Building in Shinagawa. Winning with a spacious open terrace, this place offers beer, sangria, and a generous handful of liquors and cocktails for 500-600 yen. And of course, what goes better with beer than tacos? This spot has not only the standard Corona, but also Sol and Tecate in the bottle all for one of those shiny gold fivespot coins.
The seventh floor of the Shin-Marunouchi Building is terrace heaven. You can order grub from any of the nine restaurants inside—they’re not super budget-friendly, but with a spot of strategic menu selecting, you can cobble together a decent meal for 1,200 yen or so. The tables outside offer views of the Parliament building as well as Tokyo Station—both of which seem less stress-filled when they’re lit up at night. There is also a decent pub called Stand T on the first floor, which spills out onto the pavement. Here, you can swig 500 yen glasses of wine and watch the hustle and bustle of the CBD pass by.
The main streets of Otemachi, Marunouchi and Yurakucho have, since summer 2015, been opened up to pedestrians during lunch time. To “create new bustle” in the business districts, and designed with the office workers of the area in mind, an urban terrace goes live between 11am and 3pm on weekdays, and 11am and 5pm on weekends and holidays. Stroll around and you’ll see mobile shops, open cafes, art installations and—quite often—live entertainment. In late August 2016, a “night lounge”, complete with plushy sofas, was added to the mix—it remains to be seen whether we can expect the same this year.
You can find something similar, albeit lower-key, in Ginza on weekends. The main roads are closed to cars during the daytime, and pedestrians can lounge around tables and chairs in the midst of the shopping hubbub.
Royal Garden Cafe
This chain of terraced cafes might not be the cheapest option, but they’ve got a bit of swank (admittedly not shown in the image above). Their lunch sets hover around the 1,200 yen mark (on weekdays, weekends are closer to 2,000), so you’ll be paying for the atmosphere—but if you make a day of it, it’s worth your while. Collect some of those yens and head down to the Aoyama branch—that’s always our first choice.
For good, strong coffee and a light meal, grab a seat at this brand-new (as of late May, 2017) cafe in Tomigaya (not far from Shibuya). Cafe Rostro is right next door to its roastery origins, and features a full-on outdoor terrace—both of these things make us very happy. Knock back an espresso for 250 yen, and try their breakfast set for 800 yen if you stop by in the morning.
BONUS TERRACE: Cafe Terrace Tree Garden in Kamakura
Also known as Itsuki Garden, this little spot in the mountains of Kamakura (just south of Tokyo, in Kanagawa Prefecture) is surrounded by trees and pleasant views. While it’s not cheap (a coffee costs 600 yen, and drinks go up from there), it’s jolly nice, and we highly recommend it.
This post was originally published in May 2015 and was updated in May 2017 by Carey Finn.