Japanese · Kyoto · Restaurants

Preplanning- Kyoto Bars

Turns out that we are not staying at Dormy Inn. I had a feeling it was outside our budget, with its intoxicating promise of free ramen and spa. When my husband went to pay for the trip, there was a miscommunication about the amount for a double room versus the number of people in a room. Apparently, in Japan, you are charged for the number of people in the room, not for the type of room. He hustled hard to find another affordable venue – APA Kyoto Villa.

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APA Kyoto Villa was recently renovated and there was a complete change of management. I read that the previous owner let the facilities become completely rundown and the customer service was not up to standards. The location is awesome – right by Kyoto Station. For nearby restaurants, the list I made for Dormy Inn is still relevant, as the two hotels are near each other.

My husband asked me to look up bars in the area. So here’s my list of places to check out:

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Shooting Bar M4 – シューティングバー エムフォー, located on the 3rd floor. You can come here and drink and shoot. What could possibly go wrong? My father-in-law goes hunting all the time. The last time he went, someone fired at a duck and shouted “Heads up!”. He didn’t look up in time and the duck came crashing down onto his head.


I know my husband will like this place and hopefully I can get a flattering selfie of myself in gun gear to post on my Facebook profile.  To get in and out, this experience will probably be about $40 (CAN) for the two of us. Unfortunately, you can smoke here. I read that this bar is over-priced, but for us lame Canadians, shooting a gun while drinking is a rare opportunity.

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I have a feeling we will be at  Chez Philippe FSN Bar エフ・エス・エヌ at least a couple of times on the weekend for music jams and to hang with local musicians. Chez Philippe is another hard to find venue –  down an alleyway and up in a lift on the third floor. The owner is friendly, the food is vegetarian friendly and inexpensive. What’s not to like? Rock and roll and cold beers with good tunes.


Okay, so this trip isn’t all about my husband. He’s got to put up with some of my quirks too. I spy with my beady eyes L’escamoteur Bar – レスカモトゥール バー, tucked away from the main bar strip.

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L’escamoteur Bar is a tiny bar that offers a Alice in Wonderland vibe, complete with expensive and intricately designed cocktails. The owner is former illusionist/magician from France. I bet he can make our money disappear real fast.


Ah, karaoke. I’m not a fan. L and his students keep talking about going to a karoke bar. I actually can’t think of anything more distasteful than karaoking. I have a terrible singing voice and worst yet, I’m not tone-deaf, which means I can either sing and die a little inside or try to be a good sport and lip sync.


I guess if I have to go, I might as well pick the place – BARCODE バーコード. I looked up Barcode and it’s filled with pictures such as the one above. I picked this place because the drinks are cheap, so this whole experience will only cost me my dignity.


Ah, payback is a b%$!. I’m going to get L to take me to Bar Rocking Chair バーロッキングチェア. I’m intrigued by costly crafted cocktails, quiet atmosphere and classical music. Only 20 seats, 500 (YEN) cover charge and we can expect excellent service.


For a place that L and I will both enjoy, I want to check out Bungalow バンガロー . Craft beer on tap for him, wine and fried chicken for me!

There looks like are endless, fun options for bar hopping in Kyoto. The above spots should be good to get us going before we start popping randomly into bars. Six more sleeps.



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