Wa Bar


B1, 2-41-8 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku

Downing cocktails at Koreatown’s liveliest—and loudest—nightspot
Opening time
Open daily 6pm-5am
Average price
Beer, wine, cocktails, makgeolli and sake from ¥600, soft drinks from ¥400

English menu available

Editorial Review

Wa Bar

Published on May 6th, 2011


If you’re after a funky, friendly watering hole to cap an evening in Koreatown, Wa Bar is the place for you. As you descend into this subterranean hangout, the first thing you’ll notice is the blast of Korean pop tunes. A projector screens the latest videos onto a white wall, which explains the venue’s old name: K-pops Style Bar Wa Bar.

But it’s not just the nubile singers onscreen that give the place its seductive appeal. A lineup of hot male and female (but mostly female) bartenders chat with customers in Korean, Japanese and occasionally English, while Polaroids of the equally attractive clientele are on display. The bar’s stylish veneer extends to the menu covers, but thankfully not the prices. Though I must admit I have no idea how the Wild West ornaments fit in—the bar and ashtrays are shaped like horseshoes, and Wanted posters and a rifle are mounted on the walls.

Drinks start at ¥600, with beer and regular cocktails nestling beside original concoctions made from makgeolli. Over the bang of customers’ shot glasses on the counter, I ordered a Natsu No Sonata (¥650), made with the Korean rice wine plus blue liqueur and cider (the Japanese soft drink, not scrumpy). It was sweet and fruity, though perhaps a bit on the girly side. I switched to straight E-don makgeolli after that (¥600/glass; ¥2,300/bottle), whose flavor was equal parts sweet and sour. There’s also a food menu featuring everything from salads to Korean street food.

Avoiding the electronic dartboard and cutting short my conversation with the barmaid, I asked for the check. “No way!” she replied, pleadingly. “I’ve only just started my shift…” Like I said, funky and friendly.