Food & Drink

Sports bars in Tokyo, Osaka and beyond for watching the 2019 Rugby World Cup

by Michael Estifa

Contributing writer

Can’t make it to the game? A sports bar is the next best place to watch alongside fellow fans (and rivals rooting for the opposing team). Here’s a selection of some of the best watering holes in Tokyo and Osaka where sports are on tap.

Tokyo

Rugby Dinner No Side Club (Takadanobaba)

Devoted exclusively to rugby, this bar shows a variety of games every night, ranging from high school matches to top professional games. If you’re a hardcore follower of the sport, you will feel as if you’ve died and gone to heaven as the bar is covered with rugby memorabilia, and the staff really know their stuff. In addition to your fair-weather fans, you also might be drinking alongside veteran players and journalists.

Address: 3-10-22 Takadanobaba, Toshima Ward, Tokyo
Hours: 5 p.m.-midnight (closed on Sundays; info about schedule during RWC)
Phone: (03) 3209-0723
Smoking: Yes

Lad’s Garage (Shibuya)

While there are plenty of simple and unpretentious sports bars across Tokyo, Lad’s Garage stands out due to its large and open space, which can seat up to 190 people. Located in central Shibuya, the bar has plenty of room and is easy to find.

Address: 13-11 Udagawacho, Shibuya, Tokyo
Hours: 4 p.m.-2 a.m.
Phone: (03) 6416-3976
Smoking: Yes
English menu/staff: Yes

Legends Sports Bar & Grill (Roppongi)

Roppongi’s nightlife class is legendary, and that includes the sports bar scene. For a more vibrant and hectic environment, definitely check out Legends in Roppongi. It can get pretty rowdy here, so don’t come here if you’re hoping to quietly observe the game. The bar serves a large variety of drinks and American-style food, and also offers a 2-hour plan for ¥4,000, which includes food dishes, free-flowing beer, cocktails, and wine.

Address: 3-16-33 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Hours: 5 p.m.-1 a.m.
Phone: (03) 3589-3304
English menu/staff: Yes

Golden Ball Cafe (Roppongi)

This is the place where locals and foreigners get together to watch their favorite game. Golden Ball Cafe is a spacious lounge and sports bar that screens most major local and international games on one of its 15 giant high-definition flat screens with schedules posted on their website. As a bonus, there is also a pool table along with some darts if you get bored of the action.

Address: 7-13-8 Roppongi, Tokyo
Hours: 6 p.m.-5 a.m. (closed on Sundays)
Phone: (03) 6721-0234

The Public Red (Akasaka)

If you’re looking for a more up-market gastropub experience, this may do the trick. The Public Red has an extensive menu that includes Japanese food and beverages, as well as a separate menu for cigars. Spacious and stylish, the Public Red has a huge bar counter, but if you want a table, book ahead since the place can be pretty popular. Despite the classy vibe, though, it’s easy to strike up a conversation with the friendly staff and fellow patrons.

Address: 3-11-8 Akasaka, Tokyo
Hours: 5 p.m.-5 a.m. (Sundays till 3:00)
Phone: (03) 5545-3953
Smoking: Yes (smoking section)

Kanagawa

Rugby Diner 7 Oaths (Yokohama)

The only rugby-specialized bar located in the Yokohama area, Rugby Diner 7 Oaths is run by a former rugby player and his wife, so you can be rest assured that the bar will be showing the World Cup games in a good fashion. The bar is decked out in rugby memorabilia, and there is plenty of beers and liqueurs from rugby-hungry Australia.

Address: 2-29 Nakakubentenndoori Yokohama, Kanagawa
Hours: 5 p.m.-11 p.m. (Closed on Mondays & Tuesdays)
Phone: 045-319-4259

Benoa (Yokohama)

With its large space and only a 5-minute walk from the station, Benoa sports bar hosts the biggest sports-loving crowds in Yokohama. With uniformed staff and proper lighting, you can enjoy cheering on your team with just your friends or with the entire bar. There are five 150-inch screens spread throughout the venue, so you will have no trouble watching the games clearly.

Address: 2-1-2 Kitasaiwai, Yokohama, Kanagawa.
Hours: 12 p.m.-5 a.m.
Phone: 0120-181-458

Osaka

Fiji Bar (Souemon-cho)

A friendly and cozy watering hole filled with rugby decor, Fiji Bar offers authentic Fijian and Japanese dishes and alcohol. The walls are covered with photos of previous guests, so if you wish for a never-ending stay, ask the staff for a snapshot.

Address:, 5-30 Souemon-cho,Mitsudera Galaxy Bldg 2, Osaka.
Hours: 6 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (Fridays & Saturdays until 4 a.m., Mondays until 2 a.m.)
Phone: 080-3112-5161
English menu/staff: Yes

Stadium Cafe (Nanbanaka)

In the high-energy area of Nanba, you’ll find one of Osaka’s more crowded sports bars. With close to 100 seats and multiple TVs, it’s perfect for larger groups. The bar serves food and drinks at a fairly low price, with beer and cocktails starting from ¥400, making it a popular spot for the locals to indulge themselves into the late night for the cheap.

Address: 2-6-17 Nanbanaka, Osaka
Hours: 6 p.m.-3 a.m. (Closed on Mondays)
Phone: 050-3467-6660
Smoking: Yes

Coolabah (Nishishinsaibashi)

Coolabah is a relaxed New Zealand/Australian bar located in the heart of Osaka, the buzzing Shinsaibashi area. The venue is decorated with sports memorabilia and is a definite hotspot for fans of any sport. Since it is centrally located, it’s easy to drop by to watch a game over a cold pint.

Address: 2-16-14 Nishishinsaibashi, Osaka
Hours: 6 p.m.-1 a.m. (Fridays & Saturdays until 5 a.m.)
Phone: (06) 6213-5153
Smoking: Outdoor only
English menu/staff: Yes

Shamrock ‘N’ Roll Star (Nishishinsaibashi)

An Irish pub serving both Irish and Japanese beers and cocktails, Shamrock ‘N’ Roll Star has 11 different beers on tap. The bar has a subtle yet stylish decor that doesn’t get in the way of the LCD screen.

Address: 2-10-15 Nishishinsaibashi, Osaka
Hours: 5 p.m.-1 a.m. (Saturdays & Sundays from 3 p.m.)
Phone: (06) 7709-0092
Smoking: Outdoor Only
English menu/staff: Yes

Honorable mention

Hub

The popular British-themed bar chain has over 100 locations spread throughout the country. As a result, it’s a bit franchisy? But fairly reliable for cheap eats and food. The more popular and close-to-station areas do get crowded fairly quickly, so if you wish to watch a game in peace, then it is recommended to choose a Hub in a less crowded area or simply arrive early.

Hours: Vary from location to location, but usually from 5 p.m.-11:30 p.m.
Smoking: Yes (Smoking section)

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