Kobe has a vibrant nightlife and bar scene that while perhaps not being as busy or diverse as nearby Osaka, keeps locals and visitors entertained. Within the city you can find everything from chilled pubs to late night jazz bars and local joints to international themed bars. So whether you’re looking to stop off for a beer or two, or are after entertainment for the whole evening, you’ll be catered for. The busiest area is around Sannomiya where several bars, pubs and clubs are all within walking distance of each other. Here is our pick of some of the best bars in Kobe.
Jazz fans should definitely check out this bar that has been a key part of the local jazz scene for decades. In fact, Sone is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Local musicians, plus some visiting acts, play live music every night with sounds ranging from Dixieland to modern jazz. There’s also a live jazz session every Sunday afternoon. Food, including western platters, is served so you can dine as well as drink while watching the acts. The place is easy to reach, about a three-minute walk from Sannomiya station.
Address: 1-24-10 Naka Yamatedori, Chuo Ward, 650-0004
Open: Daily 5:00 p.m. – midnight; Sundays also open 12:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Live music from 6:50 p.m. (there is a charge of around 1500 yen for live acts)
Irish bars can be found in places all over the world and Kobe is no different. This favorite pub, only minutes from Sannomiya station, attracts both expats and locals and serves a selection of beers, some craft ales and of course Guinness. The Avery’s has a cozy, friendly atmosphere (it seats around 25 people in total) and has a TV that shows live sport. Food is not served so it’s a place for drinking and socializing only.
Address: 1-10-9 Kitanagasa-Dori, Chuo Ward, 650-0012
Open: Weekdays 5:00 p.m. – 5:00 a.m.; Weekends 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 a.m.
This laid back cocktail lounge is situated within the 5-star Hotel Okura on Kobe’s port. The vibe is much quieter than some of the busier central bars and is an excellent place for a romantic drink or to wind down in the evening after a hectic day. You can also enjoy some great night views across the port.
Address: Hotel Okura Kobe, 2-1 Hatobacho, Chuo Ward, 650-8560
Website: Hotel Okura Kobe
This vibrant bar doubles up as a free-entry club on weekends, so as you can guess it’s popular with the younger crowds. As the name suggests, it’s a very international place with English-speaking staff and food served from across the globe until midnight. Fridays and Saturdays are party nights with club DJs and drink deals on cocktails, tequila, Jagerbombs and more. You can find the bar on the 4th floor next to the Yoshinoya restaurant in Sannomiya.
Address: Kenwa Building (4th floor), 1-2-1 Naka Yamatedori, Chuo Ward, 650-0004
Open: 6:30 p.m. – 3:00 a.m. (open until 5:00 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays)
Facebook page: International BAR 1134
New Munchen Kobe Taishikan is a German bierkeller-style bar (Munchen is the German variation of Munich) that serves a wide range of Japanese Sapporo beers as well as some craft ales. An extensive food menu is available with table service provided on the upper floor, while the downstairs has more of a traditional pub atmosphere that sometimes includes karaoke.
Address: 2-5-18 Chome, Sannomiya, Chuo Ward, 650-0021
Open: 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
One of Kobe’s oldest bars, Smokey’s has been running since 1955 and has a rich history having served many famous faces over the years (including Marilyn Monroe). The tiny bar close to Sannomiya station is chock-full of memorabilia so definitely worthy of a visit if you’re interested in the history of Kobe’s nightlife.
Address: 1-9-1 Naka Yamatedori, Chuo Ward, 650-0004
Open: 5:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. (Monday to Saturday)