Comfort Hotel Kokura
2-6-21 Asano, Kokurakita-ku
Phone: (81) 93 512-8311
Fax: (81) 93 512-8312
Do not let the dingy exterior of this bar put you off: although dark and gritty in appearance, Jazz and Bar hosts some of the best live jazz in Fukuoka. Inside, you will find an extremely friendly and "switched on" clientèle, as well as wall-to-wall LPs featuring all the jazz greats, and a huge selection of whisky. Live nights are held four or five times a month, and feature enthusiasts from the Fukuoka area as well as better-known acts. Food you will not find; but if bourbon is your thing you will love this bar! Drinks range between JPY500 and JPY1000.
Moghura No Salute is a dark underground shot bar in the heart of Nakasu. On hearing your approach (heralded by an extremely loud gong), Moghura's bar-staff may or may not decide to let you in (they like to pretend that they are very discerning about the quality of their clientele!). With mirrors, neon fish-tanks and smart cocktail waiters, the bar is dark with a very subterranean feel. There is live jazz on selected days until 5am. At least a hundred varieties of bourbon line the walls. Cocktails and Snacks are also available.
HORANS (yes, in bold!) takes its name from its owner, Jack Holland, who also runs the highly successful bars The Happy Cock and The Crazy Cock. His latest establishment, and certainly his nicest, is also an outstanding success. Offering good food, good prices, a good atmosphere, competent DJs, and live music, HORANS will not disappoint you. If you are in the Nakasu district, this place is certainly one of the more affordable and tasteful entertainment establishments you could visit. The interior is lavishly decorated with an excellent sound system. A stage allows talented local acts to perform regularly. Ample tables and a VIP lounge make the dining experience pleasant during the weekdays, but the place heats up on the weekends after 11pm when the DJ party begins. Private parties are also frequent.
Buttu Trick Bar is an Asian restaurant cum "concept shop." Inside is a seven-meter tall golden Buddha and other artifacts not typically suited to dining. Very funky, spacious and quite dark, everything is done in rich dark reds and blacks. The music is loud techno. The food is varied, drawing on the region as a whole-Vietnam, Korea, Thailand, China and Japan all combined. The wine list is extensive. The only available beer, however, is a domestic tap draft. The food and drinks are expensive, but not outrageous. The namaharumaki (Vietnamese spring rolls) have to be eaten to be believed; service is nothing short of fantastic.
The Happy Cock is guaranteed to provide affordable drinks and a place to dance when the music starts. Located along Fukuoka's main bar strip, Oyafuko Street, this spot caters to an international crowd. While early hours see a bar-type atmosphere, the place turns into a club with a DJ later in the evening. Because of its small space, it can become rather crowded, but its smaller size and twist-around layout also allow for more intimate socializing. A wide selection of drinks including a variety of beer makes up the menu.
Off Broadway is a foreign-owned bar one block away from Oyafuko-dori. The majority of partying Fukuokans have been there at least once--for many, it is the first bar they ever visit in Fukuoka. It is quite an international crowd, with the dance floor heating up on the weekends, when live DJs spin popular tunes. Drinks range between JPY500 and JPY800, with specials throughout the week. There is also a great Western food menu--do try the hamgburgers, and drop by for lunch as well!
A pleasant drinking spot with an upmarket feel, Propeller Drive is a good choice for a light meal and cocktails as a prelude to exploring the seamier side of Fukuoka's nightlife. Sporting palm trees, fairy lights, bleached white walls and fake-fur trimmings, the bar is popular with the Japanese in-crowd and is usually fairly full on weekends. Weekdays are quieter with a cozier atmosphere. Food items start from JPY400; cocktails begin at JPY700, while beers begin at JPY450.
This small live house (for a few hundred) is located, strangely, right beside Drum Logos, a live house of similar size and draw. The acts that play here are different of course, and are almost exclusively Japanese and somewhat underground. If there is much difference between the two places, this one tends to draw slightly lesser known acts. Which may mean, however, that the fans are more devoted and that the place is a little more rocking. Shows are general admission and you must by a drink ticket as well on entering.
This is a very popular foreign-owned gaijin hangout on the weekend. It offers hard rock and "alternative" music to a mostly young crowd of Japanese and foreigners. Housed in new digs in an eighth-floor Oyafuko-Dori hideaway, the bar has already acquired that "grungy" feel usually associated with far older venues. Beers start from JPY500, but a wide range of drinks is on offer. Free tequila shots are featured on Friday and Saturday nights! Open daily 7pm onwards.
This small concert hall faces Nagahama Park and can accommodate only a few hundred fans. But the fans this place attracts carry the energy of a few thousand. Most of the acts that play here are smaller, more intimate ones with die-hard fans. More famous overseas act who do not have a concert-arena-sized following in Japan (yet), like Phish, Ben Harper, and Radio Head to name a few, often schedule a tour-stop here. The inside is all black with a grungy general admission floor and a small balcony. There is a bar in the back from which you will get at least one drink, as the venue requires you to purchase a JPY500 drink ticket when you come in. Security may half-heartedly check your bags at the door, but is in general fairly lax, making drugs and/or cameras somewhat common depending on the act.
As at other Blue Note chains in Japan and America, the acts that play here are jazz and blues oriented, the service and atmosphere is luxurious, and the cost for tickets can seem exorbitant at times. The lights are usually dimmed, the food is good, and the music should create the right mood for a great date. But bring a thick wallet. Even after buying a ticket, you will still be spending some money. If you care to dine while enjoying the music, you can order snack dishes like chocolate or cheese. Heavier fare, like the spaghetti choices are available as well, along with beer and cocktails also. CDs of the performing artists are available at the counter.
This huge hip-hop club caters to people (Japanese or otherwise) with an interest in African-American culture and music. It is particularly popular among American military personnel, who come up from Sasebo during the weekends. The music is always pumping, people are dancing (some of them very good), but most are simply trying to score. The interior uses tons of mirrors, even more lights, and huge speakers to create a decent dance floor, but there are other areas within the club where you can sit and talk reasonably well. The people who come here are almost all in their 20s, and on the hunt. Others, however, do come simply to dance.