Description: A relic of yesteryear, snacks have more or less gone away in the central Tokyo area. But there are still a few holdouts that have managed to stay afloat despite decades of zero growth, especially around Shimbashi station. A "snack" doesn't actually serve snacks, instead they're usually quite tiny bars staffed by a lone mama-san (probably over 60 years old). Due to the private nature these can be a lot of fun if you go with a group and just want to hear some interesting stories about how things used to be much crazier. These places can easily go from empty to full with a small group of people.
The decades have been tough on snacks though, so don't expect a place that is particularly clean or new.
System: Snacks usually offer all-you-can-drink cheap shochu and/or beer, and all-you-can-sing karaoke. Don't expect any quality cocktails at these places either. If you venture into the countryside in Japan though, the local snack may be the only place open past 9PM.
Budget: 3000-5000 yen per hour
Making friends: The mama-san and her staff are your only hope!
Whiskey Richard is the founder of nomunication.jp, and has been saying he has lived in Japan for ten years for the past four years. He enjoys drinking basically anything except straight-up Campari.