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  • Kobe Nightlife

    Where to Go at Night in Kobe

    Kobe nightlife is sometimes overlooked compared with the madness of nearby Osaka and the sheer size of Tokyo, but there is a thriving bar and music scene here, most of which is conveniently located in the centre of town in the Sannomiya area. With some of the oldest and hottest jazz venues in Japan, Kobe is considered the centre of the country's jazz scene.

    For those seeking a night out in Kobe, there's everything from hole-in-the-wall bars to karaoke singing clubs, to English pubs to DJ dance clubs. Have a quiet drink or two, shoot some pool, or dance all night, the choice is yours. If you're not sure what suits your fancy, just step off the train at Sannomiya Station and wander until you find something -- it won't take long, since most bars are within a 5-10 minute walking range of the city's throbbing hub.

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    9. Hotel Sunroute Sopra Kobe 3.9/ 5

Sone

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Kobe's original jazz club, open since 1969, is still bringing in hip crowds looking for some top-notch live music. Four live sets play nightly, with a range of jazz sounds from traditional to Dixieland. Dining with set menu meals is available, too, starting at 2100 yen. The club also puts on Sunday afternoon jazz sessions; check its calendar for details.

  • Opening Hours: Mon - Sat 17:00 - 00:30 and Sun 17:00 - 24:00
  • Location: 1–24–10 Nakayamate Dori
  • Type: Jazz Club
  • Subway: Closest Metro Station: Sannomiya
  • Tel: +81 (0)78 221 2055
  • Price Range: Cover Charge: 900 yen
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Smokey

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Open since 1955, this is Kobe's oldest bar yet still a lively spot to spend an evening. The founder was a bartender at the old Kobe Oriental Hotel, serving the likes of Marilyn Monroe back in the day, and his tiny bar is chock full of photos and memorabilia of the famous people who have stopped by over the years. Find it on the left side of Kitano-zaka, north of Sammoniya Station.

  • Opening Hours: Mon - Sat 17:00 - 23:30
  • Location: 1-9-1 Nakayamate Dori
  • Type: Bar
  • Subway: Closest Metro Station: Sammoniya
  • Tel: +81 (0)78 391 0257
  • Price Range: Cover Charge: none
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Garage Paradise

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This popular music bar has five live sets nightly and DJs playing a range of music from R&B and soul, to jazz, house and trance. The bar's cozy basement space is spruced up with romantic finishes and candlelit tables, and if you're in the mood to do more than sit and drink there's a dance floor and pool table. There are more than 100 drinks to choose from on the menu and plenty of food choices too, in the 800-1000 yen range.

  • Opening Hours: 19:00 - 03:00 (01:00 Sun & Holiday)
  • Location: Basement of Kobe Yamashita Building, 1–13–7 Nakayamate Dori
  • Type: Music Club
  • Subway: Closest Metro Station: Sannomiya
  • Tel: +81 (0)78 391 6640
  • Price Range: Cover Charge: Sun - Thu 520 yen; Fri - Sat 720 yen
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Sally's Sports Bar and Club

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Generous drink servings, a decent-sized dance floor, DJ music and live bands, pool tables, dart boards, free Wi-Fi, and big TV screens to catch live sports events -- this bar has a wide appeal and attracts regular crowds of expat and Japanese nightlife lovers, especially on the weekends. Friendly and relaxed atmosphere. The music ranges from house to hip-hop, with a sprinkling of salsa/Latin tunes.

  • Opening Hours: Mon - Thu 17:00 - 03:00; Fri 17:00 - 05:00; Sat 15:00 - 05:00; Sun 15:00 - 03:00
  • Location: Higashimon Street, Inaba Building 2nd Floor, 1-5-8 Nakayamatedori, Chuo-ku
  • Type: Sports & Music Club
  • Subway: Closest Metro Station: Sannomiya
  • Tel: +81 (0)78 393 3132
  • Price Range: Cover Charge: 1000 yen (Sat)
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Satin Doll

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This upscale jazz club has been grooving since 1972. Featuring three nightly live music sets and an elegant setting, Satin Doll is an ideal spot to relax after a hectic day of touring. The menu has a good selection of cocktails and wines, as well as mostly French hors d'oeuvres, main dishes and desserts in the 800-2000 yen price range.

  • Opening Hours: Tue - Sun 18:00 - 24:00
  • Location: Bacchus Building, 1–26–1 Nakayama Dori
  • Type: Jazz Club
  • Subway: Closest Metro Station: Sannomiya
  • Tel: +81 (0)78 242 0100
  • Price Range: Cover Charge: 500 yen, plus 500 yen table charge
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Second Chance

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The name says it all -- Second Chance, with its all-night operating hours, is a gathering spot for night-owls who refuse to stop the party till the breaking of dawn. The tiny, one-room bar bears more resemblance to a beach shack than a downtown urban bar, but the people who crowd in there night after night don't seem to mind its modest surroundings.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 18:00 - 05:00
  • Location: Takashima Building, 2nd floor, 2–1–12 Nakayamate Dori
  • Type: Bar
  • Subway: Closest Metro Station: Sannomiya
  • Tel: +81 (0)78 391 3544
  • Price Range: Cover Charge: none
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Tierra Nasca

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Latin lovers will need to stop in at this bar and restaurant, which has a South American vibe and a range of cocktails and snacks to enjoy. Each Saturday is Salsa night, bringing in throngs of people looking to show off their sizzling dance moves.

  • Opening Hours: 18:00 - 03:00; Sat 18:00 - 06:00; Closed on Sun
  • Location: B1, 2-13-13 Yamamoto Dori, Chuo-ku
  • Type: Bar
  • Subway: Closest Metro Station: Sannomiya
  • Tel: +81 (0)78 271 8633
  • Price Range: Cover Charge: 1000 - 1500 yen (Sat)

New Munchen Kobe Taishikan

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Get your beer here. A wide range of Sapporo beers are on offer, as well as a full menu of more than 150 food items. In its sleek underground brewery, it makes two craft beers, a 100% malt brew called 'Kobetaishikan' and a more fruity variety called 'Minato Kobe Weizen'. The 'all you can drink' menu and karaoke equipment make this a popular spot for groups getting started on their evening out.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 11:00 - 23:00
  • Location: Sannomiya 2-5-18
  • Type: Beer Bar
  • Subway: Closest Metro Station: Sannomiya
  • Tel: +81 (0)78 391 3656
  • Price Range: Cover Charge: none
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Cafe 45 Sports Bar and Club

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Sports fanatics like to gather at Café 45 to check out the live football (soccer) action on the giant TV projectors, and to play the bar's foosball tables, pinball machines and dartboards. Two 'VIP' PlayStation game rooms are available for 500 yen.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 12:00 - 24:00
  • Location: Kodan Nunobiki Bldg B1F, 3-2-1 Nunobiki-cho, Chuo-ku
  • Type: Bar
  • Subway: Closest Metro Station: Sannomiya
  • Tel: +81 (0)78 241 3000
  • Price Range: Cover Charge: none; Drinks start at 500 yen, or choose the 'all you can drink' option for 2900 yen.
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Emerald Bar

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Situated on the top floor of a high-rise hotel, the Emerald Bar is a classy place to wind down and enjoy a wine or cocktail while looking out across the twinkling lights of Kobe. Good spot for a romantic drink or a quiet evening out with friends. Located next to Meriken Park and Kobe Port Tower.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 16:00 - 24:00
  • Location: 35th floor, Hotel Okura Kobe, 2-1 Hatoba-cho, Chuo-ku
  • Type: Lounge Bar
  • Tel: +81 (0)78 333 0111
  • Price Range: Cover Charge: none
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