When Colton and I went to Tokyo in 2014, I had a few must-visit locations on my list
The meat of the list included the Capcom Bar, Super Potato, and Sunshine City, but there were two that I had to see: The Ghibli Museum and the 8bit Cafe.
I can be a bit of lush at times so I just love “Barcades” and other nifty themed bars. I had seen pictures of this place floating around on the internet and was pleasantly surprised to find out it served alcohol instead of coffee. Don’t get me wrong, I love coffee, but maybe it’s just that 8bit Cafe rolls off of the lips better than 8bit Bar. We had already made it to the Capcom Bar earlier in the week, and it was our last day in Japan. We had missed our appointment at the Ghibli Museum because we meandered onto the wrong bus in Mitaka (yes, we had to make an appointment to go to a museum). After a half an hour of watching stops go by we realized that we either missed our stop or were on the wrong bus. I got up and had a confusing exchange with the bus driver, who instructed us to turn around. We disembarked and started wandering around a residential area until a very confident Shiba Inu barked us towards the bus stop and we made it back to the station. Thanks Shibechan.
This wasn’t the only event follied by sheer gaijin bewilderment. We discovered a swanky cosplay karaoke establishment in Akihabara but when we arrived I couldn’t figure out the kanji on the check-in forms and hurried out the door. We also missed our Tsukiji fish market tour because I was having issues with our American bank card because I’m a blubbering tourist. I was trying to get money from Lawson and Family Mart. Don’t do this. Go to the 7-11 like someone who knows what the hell they are doing.
“五 2 7-11 4 円, ¥o ¥o ¥o ¥o”
-can you decipher my rap lyrics?
The point I’m not eager to make is that it was now our last day in Japan and we hadn’t yet made it to the 8bit Cafe. Coming from Lake Charles, we only have two skyscrapers. It’s hard to get lost. Imagine taking us small town babies and plopping us into one of the largest metropolis areas on Earth, and try to think of an outcome that isn’t watching us burn a loop walking through the city. Thankfully we were renting out an Airbnb near the easy-to-navigate Ikebukuro Station with some amazing hosts that invited us to get some totally Oishii Tsukemen. They brought along another fellow American traveler, someone much better at navigating the metal playground that is Shinjuku: A Los Angeles native named Alex.
I missed the name of this place, but it’s the 新宿店, meaning it’s the Shinjuku location, so there could be another one somewhere in the city.
I loved this Tsukemen. It was spicy, thick, and had a sophisticated chili flavor
After our hosts retired back home and we gained a new party member, we discovered that the 8bit Cafe was open for another 2 hours. Thus we began our journey.
With our new destination in mind, we tried using google maps. We perimetered the area around the Shinjuku San-Chome station for about an hour as a result, and after walking up many a mysterious staircase and elevator we were about to call it quits. We had 45 minutes left until close when Alex finally found it. A small sign beside a narrow staircase in the ShinjukuQ Building. It’s been a while now, so I’m sorry that I can’t give great directions on how we found it. It felt like a stroke of luck. We definitely wouldn’t have found it if we didn’t have Alex in our party.
Ok, so I can get a burger on 2F and a drink on 5F but what the hell is happening on 3F
We walked up. I might have only been tired from trying to find it intially, but Japanese stairs are pretty steep so it felt like the most excruciating five floor climb in history. You might burn off the calories in your drink walking here and back, because this is what it feels like to ambush Shinra HQ. The hard work pays off because the interior is retro heaven.
this place is filled with video gaming memorabilia
Alex, the victorious explorer at our destination
Colton’s pictures look slightly better
guuuhh the coasters are too cute, they transcend worlds
It wasn’t busy; we were lucky. I ordered a Bahamut Zero, which was a shot of sake and gin with lemon, if I remember correctly. It was quite strong, so it makes sense as to why it was named after a pretty excellent Bahamut. Colton ordered a Dr. Mario, and my sloppy self ordered a second drink, which was a daily special called Knights of the Round. I really love Final Fantasy 7, by the way. The drink tasted like a milky green tea matcha with sake. Weaak. I don’t really know the connection on this one, but it was still very delicious, and very Japanese. I almost ordered another. I think it may be a drink that’s contents change depending on what is available.
If you were considering going, I can’t recommend this place enough. The time spent looking for the 8bit Cafe was totally worth just the cool shots we got of Colton wearing the Power Glove!
being a retro techno gangster boss
I am enthralled to say that I made it here. I mean, look at how genki we are.
I would say 100%, 10/10, ★★★★★ would get drunk again
Surely Colton agrees
There was a day when I was pretty miserable at taking selfies, this was one of them.
Have you been to the 8bit Cafe? What kinds of drinks did you try? Definitely look out for it in Shinjuku if you are in Tokyo, because the pictures here don’t do the 8bit Cafe justice!
Oyasuminasai and Happy Travels,