Depending on who you ask, Roppongi is either Tokyo's most sophisticated neighborhood or its seediest. Yet everyone can agree it's one of the city's most international. Each night, expats, emigres and immigrants wend their way through a landscape of restaurants, hostess bars, art galleries and nightclubs. Roppongi is a place of often garish contours and contrasts, its visible surface masking secrets at turns mundane and outlandish. There's a place here for anyone and everyone to while away the hours until dawn. And when it comes to craft beer bars, Roppongi does not run short.

The evening has barely begun when I slip out of the winter cold and into the warm, basement bar of Ant 'n Bee. Open since 2010, Ant 'n Bee has a longer history than most craft beer bars in Tokyo. It has two rooms: a small non-smoking space and a stately L-shaped bar that holds all of Ant 'n Bee's charm. The place is nearly empty when I arrive. An Ella Fitzgerald song plays quietly from unseen speakers. I take a seat at one end of the bar, sizing up the menu and the 20 taps of Japanese craft brews. I settle on a pint of Kyoto Brewing Co.'s Nettaiha no Arashi, a well-balanced IPA with bitter hops that are smoothed over by honey notes. It's the ideal tipple to wash down the bar's garlic toast (or any of its other tasty morsels).

Ant 'n Bee strikes a balance between classy and cozy, and has knowledgeable staff. It's the kind of bar I'd be happy to occupy for many idle hours — easily done since they're open until 6 a.m., seven days a week. But the slowly thickening haze of cigarette smoke in the main room soon drives me back out into the cold.