Cafes and bars in Osaka and Kobe

Osaka cafes

Wired Cafe Chayamachi (Osaka: Chayamachi - Cafe). 06-6377-2399
Coffee, wireless internet access and good food from the popular Wired Cafe chain. Open until 3am on Friday and Saturday nights.
SunChayamachi 10-12, NU Chayamachi 2F. Open 11am-midnight daily.
Paul (Osaka: Honmachi - Bakery). 06-6263-0212
Excellent sandwiches, breads and pastries from this French bakery; there's also a spacious cafe behind the shop. (Paul also has retail branches in Daimaru and Hanshin department stores.)
SunHonmachi 2-3-14. Open 10am-10pm daily.
Cafe Absinthe (Osaka: Kita-Horie - Mediterranean). 06-6534-6635
Absinthe cocktails are the specialty here; they also serve a nice, extensive menu of Greek/Mediterranean specialties all day long.
SunlateKitahorie 1-2-27. Open 11:30am-3am (Fri, Sat -5am). Closed Tuesdays.
Westwood Bakers (Osaka: Kita-Horie - Cafe). 06-6538-0022
Attached to a popular bakery of the same name, this pleasant cafe offers pastries, sandwiches, pancakes and espresso beverages.
SunMinami-Horie 1-16-9. Open 9am-8pm (LO) daily.
Tooth Tooth Colors (Osaka: Nakazakicho - Cafe). 06-4802-5335
A big, sprawling, comfortable cafe under the train tracks and highway. The menu is varied and casual, and lunch is served to 3pm.
SunNakazakicho-Nishi 2-55, Chelsea Market. (next to Umeda Center Building, about 5 min. E of Umeda sta.) Open 11am-midnight daily.
Meal Muji (Osaka: Namba - Cafe). 06-6648-6472
Like the Muji shop itself, Meal Muji is deceptively simple and always tasteful. The all-day cafeteria serves various "deli" dishes in small plates - Y780 for three items or Y930 for four, plus Y200 extra for coffee or Y250 for wine. Lunch is served till 3pm, with cafe time from 3-5:30pm.
SunNamba Sennichimae 12-22, Namba Center Bldg B2/3 F. Open 11am-10pm daily.
Yukicharyo by Solviva (Osaka: Namba - Cafe). 06-6644-2782
This is health food in an attractive cafe setting, with plenty of brown rice and soy milk. The extensive drinks list includes matcha cappucino, black sesame smoothies and plenty of Chinese teas; food ranges from brown-rice onigiri and vegetable curries to organic cakes. Weekend hours start later (10am), and there's no smoking.
SunNanba 5-1-60, Nanba City 2F. (on the way to Nanba Parks) Open 7:30am-10pm daily.
Cafe Garb (Osaka: Shinsaibashi - Cafe). 06-6258-3341
A funky-casual cafe with outdoor seating (heated in the winter) and three stories of dining space; the second floor is fashioned after a European brasserie, and the top floor is a popular party space. The inexpensive food menu includes pizzas and pastas, spare ribs and the ubiquitous Caesar salad.
SunBakuromachi 4-4-7, BBB Bldg. 1/3F. (5 min. N of Shinsaibashi Sta.) Open 11:30am-10:30pm (LO) daily.
Planet 3rd (Osaka: Shinsaibashi - Cafe). 06-6282-5277
A pleasant, trendy little cafe in the heart of Shinsaibashi with hip decor and a nice vibe. Unusual for Osaka, they serve an American breakfast plate from 7am-noon.
SunNishi-Shinsaibashi 1-5-24, Hearton Hotel 1F. Open 7am-midnight daily.
Amadeus (Osaka: Umeda - International). 06-6440-1062
This bright and airy dining room offers a far more interesting menu than the typical hotel coffeeshop, with many organic and vegetarian dishes in the "Nature Cuisine" section. There's also a popular buffet lunch and Friday and Saturday evening dinner buffets.
SunOyodonaka 1-1-20, Westin Hotel Osaka 1F. Open 6:30am-11pm daily.
Amelie (Osaka: Umeda - French). 06-6341-7782
The provincial cuisine of Bretagne (Brittany) is the specialty here, including some 40 varieties of galettes (savory buckwheat crepes). Lunch is served till 3pm, and in the evenings the bar is open till 2:30am; the regular food menu is served till 11pm. The interior is huge and spaciously laid out, and outdoor terrace seating is also available.
SunlateDojima-Hama 1-4-27, Dojima Nakamachi Bldg. 1F. (1 min. from exit C-92 Kita-Shinchi station Dojima Chika Center) Open 11:30am-3am daily.
Aux Bacchanales (Osaka: Umeda - French). 06-6359-2722
A branch of the excellent Tokyo-based chain, Aux Bacchanales is known for their authentic casual French style and well-prepared cafe fare.
SunOfukacho 4-20, Grand Front Osaka South Wing 1F. Open 9am-10pm daily.
Meal Muji (Osaka: Umeda - Cafe). 06-6359-2173
Inexpensive bakery and deli items and salads from the famous no-brand design store Mujirushi.
SunOfukacho 3-1, Grand Front Osaka North Wing 4F. Open 10am-9pm daily.
Soholm (Osaka: Umeda - Scandinavian). 06-6359-2737
Located inside the Actus interior shop, this large cafe-restaurant serves an international menu that includes Scandinavian-style meatballs and various pastas and dessert items. Lunch is served until 2:30pm.
SunOfukacho 3-1, Grand Front Osaka North Wing 1F. Open 10am-10pm daily.
Wired Cafe Lucua (Osaka: Umeda - Cafe). 06-6151-1329
Decent food and a very lively atmosphere at this branch of the popular Wired Cafe chain. There is some terrace seating looking out over the Osaka Station City complex below.
SunUmeda 3-1-3, Lucua 7F. Open 10am-10pm (LO) daily.
Cafe Biblioteque (Osaka: Umeda 1-chome - Cafe). 06-4795-7553
This hip little cafe with attached art-oriented bookstore is a relaxing place for a break from shopping in E-ma or nearby. There's a substantial, inexpensive food menu featuring quiche, stews and lasagne plus pies and cakes.
SunUmeda 1-12-6, E-ma B1F. Open 9am-11:30pm daily.
Al Avis (Osaka: Umeda 2-chome - Cafe). 06-6346-2588
A spacious Italian-style cafe in the basement of Herbis Ent, serving panini sandwiches during the day, and wine, cocktails and light dishes after work.
SunUmeda-2-2-22, Herbis Plaza Ent B2F. Open 10am-10:30pm (LO) daily.
Roll Madu (Osaka: Umeda 2-chome - Cafe). 06-6346-4877
Given their prime location at the underground entrance to the splashy Herbis Ent complex, Roll Madu would probably be full if they only sold coffee in styrofoam cups. Instead they offer a nice variety of desserts, including Belgian waffles and their namesake "roll cakes".
SunUmeda-2-2-22, Herbis Plaza Ent B2F. Open 10am-11pm daily.

Osaka coffee shops

Takamura Wine and Coffee Roasters (Osaka: Higobashi - Cafe). 06-6443-3519
A combination wine retailer and espresso bar, Takamura provides a spacious and comfortable sofa-furnished area at the front of the shop where you can enjoy espresso beverages or wine by the glass, the latter poured from an automated Enomatic dispenser system.
SunEdobori 2-2-18. Open 11am-7pm (LO) daily.
Streamer Espresso Minami-Horie (Osaka: Kita-Horie - Coffee shop). 06-6110-7007
Serious coffee from Tokyo's famous Streamer roastery at this stand located inside a clothing store. There's very limited seating (ask at the counter), or you can have your coffee to go. Open from 11am weekends.
SunMinami-Horie 1-25-12. Open 8am-8pm daily.
Brooklyn Roasting Company (Osaka: Kitahama - Coffee shop). 06-6125-5740
This comfortable Kitahama-area cafe offers nice espresso beverages and a few pastries, along with a pleasant river view from the spacious deck out back. A flower shop occupies part of the space and adds to the atmosphere. In addition to coffee they also serve beers from Brooklyn Brewery.
SunKitahama 2-1-6. Open 8am-7:30pm daily.
Link (Osaka: Shinsaibashi - Coffee shop). 06-6251-6390
Serious gourmet coffee from around the world, in a stylishly modern coffeehouse that wouldn't look out of place anywhere in North America. [See FULL REVIEW.]
SunHigashi-Shinsaibashi 1-13-19, NT Bldg 1F. (from Midosuji turn E on the street that runs along the north side of Daimaru; keep walking for 3 blocks until you get to Family Mart on your left hand side; at Family Mart turn left; Link is located about 10 meters north, on the right hand side) Open 9am-10pm. Closed Mondays.

Osaka animal cafes

Fukuro no Mise (Osaka: Minami Morimachi - Bird cafe). 06-6360-6205
If you're looking for an alternative to the usual cat cafe, Fukuro no Mise ("The Owl Shop") lets you hang out and interact with the shop's two dozen resident owls. Admission is Y1500 for a 50-minute session, including a soft drink, or Y1700 if you'd prefer a beer or cocktail. [See FULL REVIEW.]
SunTenmabashi 1-10-13. Open noon-8pm. Closed Mondays.
Nyantsume (Osaka: Namba - Cat cafe). 06-6213-6100
The scrapbook introducing Nyantsume's twenty resident cats is unusually detailed - not only do you learn each cat's breed and birthday, but English-language descriptions like "sensitive," "innocent" and "narcissist" give you some insight into their personalities as well. The residents here are a diverse mix of attractive breeds, including Selkirk Rex, Scottish Fold, Maine Coon cat, Munchkin and Ragdoll. Two rather outgoing Bengals seemed to be among the ringleaders out on the floor. [See FULL REVIEW.]
SunDotonbori 1-1-7, 3F. Open 10am-8pm (last entry 7pm). Closed Mondays.
Usayu (Osaka: Osaka - Rabbit cafe). 072-629-6661
Much more comfortable and spacious than other rabbit cafes we've been to, this charming suburban shop is spread out over three rooms and organized into nine separate rabbit play areas, so visitors can get to know the rabbits one at a time. [See FULL REVIEW.]
SunOsaka-fu, Ibaraki-shi, Matsugamotocho 3-16, Bardens Club Bldg 2F. Open 1-7pm (last entry 6pm). Closed Wed, Thu.
Gurugurudo (Osaka: Shinsaibashi - Cat cafe). 06-7492-4060
This Shinsaibashi cafe has ten resident cats of various breeds as well as some exotic "guest" cats. The menu offers cake, coffee, tea and chai as well as cocktails and Singha beer. The cover charge is Y1080 for the first hour.
SunNishi-Shinsaibashi 2-4-6, Hanagetsu Dai-ichi Bldg 4F. Open 11am-10pm. Closed Mondays.
Neko no Jikan Amemura (Osaka: Shinsaibashi - Cat cafe). 06-6214-2020
The second branch of one of Osaka's longest-running cat cafes, with 21 cats on staff in a pleasantly decorated, modern space. Admission is Y1100 per hour on weekdays and Y1200 on weekends and holidays. Kitty treats are available for an additional charge.
SunNishi-Shinsaibashi 2-17-10, Villa Inoue 2F. Open 11am-9pm (Sun, Mon -7pm) daily.
Neko no Jikan Kita-honten (Osaka: Tenjinbashi - Cat cafe). 06-6359-3700
Maybe it was just a matter of the time of day we were there, but "Time for Cats" seems like one of the sleepiest cat cafes we've ever visited. Main activities here seem to be a) napping, and b) scouting out locations for upcoming naps. There was a flurry of activity when one cat drank some water, but that was about it - overall it was a very relaxing experience, and we began to feel a bit sleepy ourselves.
SunKurosakicho 5-16, Herat Bldg 2F. Open 11am-9pm (Sun, Mon -7pm) daily.

Osaka beer bars

Kopta (Osaka: Fukushima - Beer bar). 06-7493-1271
With just five taps and two tiny seating areas, Kopta might be better as a stop on a neighborhood beer-bar tour rather than an evening's destination. The kitchen offers a diverse menu, but exotic-sounding dishes like Moroccan green-bean fritters sound more exciting than they taste. [See FULL REVIEW.]
SunFukushima 1-7-15. Open 5-11pm. Closed Mondays.
Pogo (Osaka: Fukushima - Beer bar). 06-6131-9135
One of a growing number of craft-beer bars in the Fukushima neighborhood, this attractively appointed two-story bar offers eight taps dispensing both Japanese and imported brews. Service is friendly, music is above average, and there's some outdoor seating when weather permits. [See FULL REVIEW.]
decorFukushima 2-9-10. Open 6pm-1am. Closed Sundays.
Beer Belly (Osaka: Higobashi - Beer bar). 06-6441-0717
Minoh Beer is a craft brewery a bit north of Osaka city, and this centrally located taproom serves a line-up of their regular beers (including their excellent W-IPA) plus a few limited-edition special seasonal brews. They also offer nicely chosen craft beers from their two guest taps - North Island and Outsider during our most recent visit - with prices generally running around Y1030 for a UK pint or Y630 for a half. [See FULL REVIEW.]
SunlateTosabori 1-1-31. (on the N (river) side of the little road that runs alongside the river, between Higobashi (bridge) and Chikuzenbashi (bridge), 5 doors E of the latter) Open 5pm-midnight (LO; Sat 3-10, Sun 3-8) daily.
Dig (Osaka: Honmachi - Beer bar). 06-6445-6505
This attractively decorated craft-beer bar has sixteen taps roughly divided between Japanese and US craft beers. Beers come in several sizes; a 400ml glass is Y1000, and there are some tasting sets. The food menu is also better than average.
SunKyomachibori 1-12-31. Open 5:30pm-midnight (LO) daily.
Garage 39 (Osaka: Honmachi - Beer bar). 06-6202-1239
The fifteen taps at this relatively spacious beer bar serve up a mix of Japanese and US craft beers, with US pints selling for Y950. The food is also good.
Awajimachi 2-5-15, Kobayashi Awajimachi Bldg 1F. Open 5pm-1am (LO). Closed Sundays.
Qbrick (Osaka: Honmachi - Beer bar). 06-6203-0690
One of Osaka's original craft-beer bars, Qbrick offers a well-chosen selection of sixteen beers on tap and an enormous selection of hundreds of bottles, from Japan and around the world. The rustic decor gives the place a cozy feel, and there's a comfortable bar area as well as tables for groups.
Hiranomachi 4-6-12, Kyo-on Bldg 1F. Open 11am-midnight (Sat 5pm-). Closed Sundays.
Kamikaze (Osaka: Kita-Horie - Beer bar). 06-6539-7550
The 23 taps at Craft Beer Works Kamikaze serve mostly Japanese craft beers, with a few US imports as well. Food and service are good, but it can get crowded during busy times and seating can be cramped.
Kitahorie 1-22-12. Open 5pm-1am. Closed Sundays.
Yellow Ape Craft (Osaka: Kitahama - Beer bar). 06-4963-3838
Thirty beers, mostly Japanese craft beers, are served on tap here along with bar snacks like pizza. The Y320 table charge includes a small appetizer.
Imabashi 2-4-9. Open 5pm-2am. Closed Sundays.
Harenohi (Osaka: Tanimachi 4-chome - Beer bar). 06-6947-3530
Six US craft beers on tap plus nice Utsunomiya-style gyoza are served at this convivial beer bar. From the folks who brought us Q-Brick.
Tanimachi 3-2-7. Open 5pm-midnight. Closed Sundays.
Lingua World Cafe (Osaka: Tanimachi 9-chome - Beer bar). 06-6779-3255
The menu here promises sandwiches (grilled cheese, roast chicken), poutine (!) and craft beers, and while there are only a couple of taps, Lingua does offer an excellent selection of canned and bottled imports, and cans are just Y700. They also offer gourmet coffees and nice cider.
SunIkutamamaecho 1-1. (located right above Tanimachi Kyuchome station) Open 10am-10pm (Sun -6pm). Closed Tuesdays.
Beer Belly Tenma (Osaka: Tenma - Beer bar). 06-6353-5005
Fourteen taps, including four hand pumps, all dispense beers from Osaka's Minoh Brewery at this spacious company-run taproom. The food menu is decent, with a wide range of tapas dishes. It's located around the corner from Stand Bar 1020 and many customers visit both spots.
SunIkedacho 7-4. Open 3pm-midnight daily.
Standing Beer Bar 1020 (Osaka: Tenma - Beer bar). unlisted
Located in a mini-shopping arcade just off a main shopping arcade in busy Tenma, this tiny standing bar has room for around six or seven customers at a time. The six taps represent Japanese craft beers in a variety of styles - hoppy beers, stouts, fruit beers, lagers, etc. - and prices are a bit lower than average. Open from 12:30pm on weekends and holidays.
SunTenjinbashi 5-6-23, Hitotsumatsu Food Center. Open 4-11:30pm (LO) daily.
Lezzet (Osaka: Tennoji - Beer bar). 06-7850-1412
The fifteen craft beers on tap here are divided into "low-refrigerated beers" and "high-refrigerated beers," including a few US imports. The bar itself is nicely decorated and quite large, with knowledgable staff and a decent food menu.
SunMatsuzakicho 2-3-21. Open 5pm-midnight. Closed Wednesdays.
Beer Stand Molto! (Osaka: Umeda - Beer bar). 06-6374-3067
A lively standing bar, conveniently located in the Hankyu Sanbangai station complex, Molto serves four craft beers on tap along with several dozen by the bottle. They also have around ten wines by the glass and tapas-style small dishes to go with your drinks.
SunShibata 1-1-3, Hankyu Sanbangai Jizo Yokocho 1F. Open noon-2, 5-11:30pm daily.
Craft Beer Base (Osaka: Umeda - Beer bar). 06-6131-7015
This tiny standing beer bar attached to a retail liquor shop has only four taps, but they change fairly often. However the real reason to come here is their amazing selection of 200-300 bottled beers, including interesting US and European craft imports. The most popular ones can be found in the refrigerator in the bar area, but there are many more in the shop's big refrigerated storeroom. [See FULL REVIEW.]
SunOyodo-minami 1-2-11. Open 11am-10:30pm (LO) daily.
Marciero (Osaka: Umeda - Beer bar). 06-6940-0710
The eight taps at this tiny bar here dispense a rotating selection of well-chosen craft beers, mostly from Japan, the US and Germany. Imperial pints are priced at Y1080. Open from 3pm weekends.
SunDoyamacho 8-10. Open 5pm-2am. Closed Tuesdays.
Molto (Osaka: Umeda - Italian). 06-6809-2641
Craft Beer House Molto is definitely the highest craft-beer bar in Osaka, offering a fine view of the city from its 31st-floor location. There's a full menu of Italian food (budget around Y4000 at dinnertime), or you can just stop by for a beer, either at the 20-seat bar or in the standing (viewless) area up front. [See FULL REVIEW.]
SunKakudacho 8-47, Hankyu Grand Bldg 31F. Open 11:30am-2, 5-11pm daily.
Craft Beer Base Bud (Osaka: Umeda 1-chome - Beer bar). 06-6225-7807
A lively, very down-to-earth craft-beer bar, Bud offers an inspired selection from their eight taps - generally four brews from the US and two each from Japan and Europe. All pints are priced at Y1000 while half-pints are Y700. The very casual food menu is also well thought-out and well executed.
SunUmeda 1-3-1, Osaka-ekimae First Bldg B2F #22. Open 11:30am-10:30pm daily.
Dolphins Umeda (Osaka: Chayamachi - Belgian rest/beer bar). 06-6373-9041
This conveniently located cafe is part of the popular chain of Osaka Belgian beer bars, and stocks around 100 beers, mostly from Belgium. Unfortunately the food menu is rather lackluster, and even Belgian specialties like mussels and frites are only average. The main dining area is lively but it can get smoky.
SunShibata 1-5-2. (on a small alleyway 2 blocks north of New Hankyu Hotel) Open noon-12:30am (LO) daily.
Nakai (Osaka: Chayamachi - Yakitori). 06-6155-5547
There are plenty of places in town to get some yakitori and beer, but the beers here are Belgian craft beers and the yakitori is made from free-range Tamba birds, an heirloom breed prized for its flavor. Run by the Dolphins group of Belgian beer bars (and located next to their Umeda branch), Nakai offers thirty Belgian brews by the bottle and a couple on draft. Yakitori starts at Y150 per skewer, with dinnertime set meals from Y1800.
SunShibata 1-5-6, Umeda Asahi Bldg 1F. Open 5pm-midnight daily.
Dolphins (Higobashi) (Osaka: Higobashi - Belgian rest/beer bar). 06-6443-6869
A good selection of Belgian beers and budget-friendly food items can be found in this branch of the popular Osaka beer-bar chain.
Edobori 1-18-27. Open 11:30am-2, 5-10:30pm (LO). Closed Sundays.
Dolphins (Osaka: Honmachi - Belgian rest/beer bar). 06-4705-0012
The Sekaisuji-Honmachi outpost of Dolphins is the "beer bistrot" branch, with a basic food menu and a large selection of Belgian beers.
SunHonmachi 1-7-1, B1F. (in front of exit 13, Sekaisuji-honmachi subway station) Open 11:30am-2:30, 5-11pm daily.
Doll Dress (Osaka: Tenma - Beer bar). 06-4802-0155
Perhaps worth a stop if you're in the neighborhood, this oddly decorated, under-the-tracks bar stocks around 200 Belgian beers. As with any small bar with a large stock, it doesn't hurt to check expiration dates.
SunYamazakicho 4-24, JR Koka-shimo 52-53. Open noon-11:30pm (LO). Closed Thursdays.
Nakai (Osaka: Tenmabashi - Yakitori). 06-6942-8890
Good yakitori and Belgian beers, from the Dolphins chain of Belgian beer bar-restaurants. Budget around Y3000-3500 for dinner and drinks.
SunUchi-Hiranomachi 1-2-6. (from Tenmabashi sta. exit 4 walk S, turn W at the Freshness Burger) Open 11:30am-2, 5pm-midnight (LO; Sun -11pm) daily.
Flanders Tale (Osaka: Umeda 2-chome - Belgian rest/beer bar). 06-6344-5258
Nine Belgian beers on draft and many more by the bottle are served at this sprawling pub-restaurant. The food menu includes Belgian standards like mussels and frites, plus teppan-grilled meats and seafood, sausage and charcuterie platters and of course Belgian waffles. Festive group revelers can take advantage of several different all-you-can-drink party plans.
SunUmeda 2-5-25, Herbis Plaza B2F. Open 11am-2, 5-10:30pm (LO) daily.
Barrel (Osaka: Yodoyabashi - Belgian rest/beer bar). 06-6233-0455
Good, authentic Belgian cuisine and a nice assortment of Belgian beers, including several on tap.
Kitahama 4-7-28, Sumitomo Bldg #2, 1F. Open 11:30am-midnight. Closed Sundays.
Drunk Bears (Osaka: Chayamachi - Beer bar). 06-6372-7275
Bears serves more than 100 different beers from around the world, along with bar food like nachos, sausages, calamari, and fried chicken fajitas. The stand-up bar is open till 2am weekends; there's also a sit-down dining room across the hall.
SunChayamachi 10-12, NU Chayamachi B1F. Open 11am-10pm (LO; 2am Fri/Sat) daily.
Loreley (Osaka: Umeda - German). 06-6341-0043
Run by a long-term German resident of Osaka, this pub has been going strong since 1974. The menu offers meaty German cuisine and a good variety of German beers from all over the country.
Dojima 2-2-2, Kintetsu Dojima Bldg B1F. Open 6-10:30pm (Sat -9:30pm). Closed Sundays.

More Osaka bars

Peko (Osaka: Chayamachi - Bar). 06-6371-3321
This quiet, well-hidden bar has plenty of space spread out over three floors, and they offer a good selection of whiskey and bourbon, cocktails and a few Japanese craft beers, as well as an inexpensive food menu.
SunlateChayamachi 13-9. (walk N on the street running along the E side of Umeda sta about 3 min. N of the station, turn R (just before Chayamachi Applause and the Hotel Hankyu International)) Open 6pm-2am (5am weekends) daily.
Leach Bar (Osaka: Higobashi - Bar). 06-6441-0983
As behooves a dynamic metropolis, Osaka knows its drink. And long before the advent of the Irish pub there was The Leach Bar. A 1960s homage to Japanese folk craft, The Leach eschews wainscot for brick and bamboo. In collaboration with craftsmen Kawai Kanjiro and Serizawa Keisuke, the famed British potter Bernard Leach created this interpretation of an English "cottage bar" in 1965. [See FULL REVIEW.]
SunNakanoshima 5-3-68, Rihga Royal Hotel 1F. Open 11am-midnight daily.
Covent Garden (Osaka: Kita-Horie - Bar). 06-4391-3177
A big bar serving good hamburgers and lunchtime sandwiches; they even have poutine, that mysterious French-Canadian dish involving fried potatoes, cheese and gravy. There's a games room in the back, and a good sound system.
lateKita-Horie 2-5-10. Open noon-4pm, 6pm-2am. Closed Sundays.
Shimada Shoten (Osaka: Kita-Horie - Liquor shop). 06-6531-8119
Beneath this ordinary-looking sake shop - through a hole in the floor and down a narrow ladder - is a hidden sake tasting cave with a big selection of premium sake from around the country, including many koshu (aged sakes). Tasting-size glasses are just Y200 each, and the only food is chunky miso from Wakayama and umeboshi (also Y200 each).
Itachibori 3-5-1. (1 blk E of Itachibori 3-minami crossing) Open 9am-7pm (6pm Sat). Closed Sundays.
Bacchus (Osaka: Umeda - Gay bar). 06-6361-2366
Gay bars usually disdain flowers; this one embraces them. Could it be for the contrast they afford master Chanho-san's tattooed biceps? The internet can't compete with Chanho's generosity of spirit, and spirits - lashings of gin for only Y500! Log out and pop into Bacchus for a taste of Osaka - a la Caravaggio.
Doyamacho 6-14, Daini-shouei Kaikan 3F. Open from 8pm. Closed Sundays.
Explosion (Osaka: Umeda - Gay bar). 06-6312-5003
A well-established landmark in Osaka's gay community, Explosion operates as a bar during the week and turns into a club on Saturday nights. Note that they often have special events, so the crowd may vary from day to day.
SunDoyamacho 8-23, Sanyo Kaikan B1F. Open 8pm-late (Sat 9pm- ) daily.
Frenz (Osaka: Umeda - Gay bar). 06-6311-1386
A small but comfortable gay bar with a friendly Australian publician and a lively, mixed crowd - gay and straight, foreign and Japanese. Homesick Aussies may appreciate the selection of Villi's Meat Pies and the Foster's and VB beers; the bar also serves Hoegaarden and many exotic cocktails.
SunKamiyamacho 8-14, 1F. Open usually 8pm-2am daily.
Physique (Osaka: Umeda - Gay bar). 06-6361-2430
One of Osaka's longest-running gay bars, under new management since 2014, Physique Pride Osaka attracts a diverse, international crowd.
SunDoyamacho 8-23, Sanyo Kaikan 1F. Open 8pm-2am daily.
Seijio Ishii (Osaka: Umeda - Retail). 06-6486-2960
Wines by the glass at very reasonable prices (Y300-550) at this informal stand-up wine counter in Hankyu Sanbangai. Inside, the Ishii shop sells imported foods, a large selection of wines and liquors.
SunShibata 1-1-3, Hankyu Sanbangai Minamikan B2F. Open 11am-9pm daily.
Enoteca (Osaka: Umeda 2-chome - Liquor shop). 06-6343-7175
Enoteca's wine bar corner is a convenient place to stop for a quick glass or two and a small snack to nibble on. Food includes wine-friendly fare like smoked duck, beef carpaccio, and cheese, and there are usually a dozen wines (mostly French) ready to pour at any given time. Tasting sizes (100ml) start at Y550.
SunUmeda 2-5-25, Herbis Plaza 2F. Open 11am-10:30pm daily.

Kobe cafes

Bistrot Cafe de Paris (Kobe: Kitano - French). 078-241-9448
This lively cafe is perched in an ideal people-watching location midway up the Kitanozaka hill, with a popular outdoor sidewalk terrace that takes full advantage of the view. The menu includes everything from light snacks and sweets to full-course French dinners (from Y2500).
SunYamamoto-dori 1-7-21. (1 block S of Yamamoto-dori and Kitano-zaka) Open 10am-11pm (LO) daily.
Freundlieb (Kobe: Kitano - Cafe). 078-231-6051
Certainly one of grandest cafe settings in town, Freundlieb occupies the former Kobe Union Church, a Kitano sightseeing landmark. The menu includes sandwiches and salads as well as fresh pastries and bread from the Freundlieb bakery downstairs.
SundecorIkuta-machi 4-6-15. (1 block E and 1 block S of Kanocho 2-chome crossing, in the former Kobe Union Church) Open 10am-6:30pm (LO). Closed Wednesdays.
E.H. Bank (Kobe: Kyukyoryuchi - Cafe). 078-331-6553
Featured in architecture and design magazines as well as restaurant guides, this beautifully repurposed space is the former lobby of a British bank built in 1938. It's a stylish spot for an afternoon coffee or an after-dinner drink (but less inspiring for dinner).
SunlatedecorKaigandori 9, Chartered Building. Open 11:30am-5am daily.
Meal Muji (Kobe: Motomachi - Cafe). 078-335-2675
Inexpensive bakery and deli items and salads from the famous no-brand design store Mujirushi.
SunSannomiya 3-6-1, Kobe BAL B1F. Open 11am-8pm daily.
Cafe Brugge (Kobe: Sannomiya - Belgian rest/beer bar). 078-333-0887
One of the few places in town where you can find a multiplicity of Belgian beers, in a convenient location right at the foot of Ikuta Road.
SunKita-Nagasa-dori 1-1-3. (at the base of the road leading up to Tokyu Hands, at the railroad tracks) Open 11:30am-11pm daily.
Tooth Tooth (Kobe: Sannomiya south - Cafe). 078-230-3412
A rooftop oasis right in central Kobe, this cafe looks out onto a big garden area, with seating both indoors and out. The casual, inexpensive food menu is a mix of Japanese and Western dishes - oxtail stew, pork cutlets, pastas, and of course desserts.
SunGoko-dori 8-2-6, Kobe Kokusai Kaikan 11F. (on Flower Road about 3 min. south of JR Sannomiya station) Open 11am-10pm (LO) daily.

Kobe coffee shops

Greens Coffee Roaster (Kobe: Motomachi - Coffee shop). 078-332-3115
Greens sells both fresh-roasted coffee beans (various house blends as well as single-origin) and excellent espresso and drip coffee to go, from Y300.
SunMotomachi-dori 1-9-5. Open 10am-8pm daily.
Jam Jam (Kobe: Motomachi - Jazz kissaten). 078-331-0876
An old-fashioned Japanese jazz kissaten (coffee shop), Jam Jam plays classic vinyl jazz and serves coffee, limited drinks and desserts.
SunMotomachi-dori 1-7-2. Open noon-11pm daily.

Kobe animal cafes

Bibi and George (Kobe: Motomachi - Bird cafe). 078-391-2960
The cafe's friendly, good-natured staff and friendly owls make this a very pleasant place to spend an hour of your time. The setup is a bit unusual, starting with the ticket machine at the entrance of the three-story shop where you choose what you want to drink in the cafe and how long you want to stay. The main aviary is up on the third floor, and this is where you can meet most of the seventeen resident birds. The big snowy owl down at the end of the room was quite a character, clowning around for photos and trying to peck at anyone who got within range of its beak. [See FULL REVIEW.]
SunSakaemachi-dori 1-2-14, Umifuku Bldg 1-3F. Open 11am-8pm (last entry 7pm). Closed Mondays.
Miacis (Kobe: Motomachi - Cat cafe). 080-4242-6924
A nice contrast to the sleepy atmosphere of your typical cat cafe, Miacis was positively frenetic with activity during our evening visit, with cats running amok and chasing one another across the length of the spacious playroom. When we entered we were asked to tread carefully as there might be kittens underfoot, and we counted at least five kittens among the resident population of twenty, all of them quite frisky. [See FULL REVIEW.]
SundecorMotomachi-dori 5-4-8, Sanki Bldg 202. Open 10am-9pm (last entry 8pm). Closed Mondays, Tuesdays.
Poko no Mori (Kobe: Nada - Bird cafe). 078-805-6700
The resident flock at this charming small-bird cafe includes canaries, finches, Java sparrows, lovebirds, cockatiels and various parakeets - some three dozen in all. The food menu includes both desserts and savory items like beef-tendon curry.
SunShironouchi-dori 3-2-14. Open 1-8pm. Closed Mondays, Tuesdays.

Kobe beer bars

Starboard (Kobe: Sannomiya - Beer bar). 078-392-3265
Formerly the Rokko Beer Diner, this brewery taproom serves beers from Rokko Brewery, Starboard, and a decent selection of guest beers - we noted Boundary Bay and Coronado among the breweries during our last visit. Glasses are around Y480 while US pints are priced Y700-900; a six-part tasting set is Y1200. The kitchen turns out a wide range of pub food. Open from noon on weekends, until 9pm on Sundays.
SunKita-Nagasadori 2-7-12, PMPT Bldg 2F. Open 5-11pm. Closed Wednesdays.
New Munchen Kobe Taishikan (Kobe: Sannomiya south - Beer bar). 078-391-3656
This charming Kobe landmark serves a full range of Sapporo beers, and a huge, 150-item food menu. The small brewery in the basement produced two craft beers - a somewhat fruity wheat beer and a Vienna-style beer that uses Saaz hops. English menus available. Lunch served to 2pm.
SunSannomiya 2-5-18. Open 11am-11pm daily.
Portside (Kobe: Sannomiya south - Beer bar). 078-391-9567
Kobe Beer Hall Portside offers a good selection of beers from Rokko, Starboard and other breweries on tap, and several Belgians by the bottle. The food is also decent, with dishes like steamed mussels, spicy Moroccan kebabs (the chef is from Morocco) and grilled lamb chops along with simple pastas and pizzas. Budget around Y3000 for food and drink.
SunSannomiyacho 1-1-1, Shin-Kobe Bldg B1F. Open 5-10:30pm (LO). Closed Wednesdays.
Beer Cafe Barley (Kobe: Nishinomiya - Beer bar). 0798-65-6135
This cozy and pleasant beer specialist has seven seats at the bar and a few tables. In addition to four hand-pumped ales they offer more than 100 bottled beers, including a wide selection of Belgian styles and the full line of brews from Baird, one of Japan's best microbreweries. The substantial food menu features pizza, pasta, Shepherd's pie, and several dishes made with beer (try the chicken cooked in Asahi stout).
SunNishinomiya, Nagatacho 1-15, Liberty 2 Bldg 2F. (3 minutes from the North exit of Hankyu Nishiguchi Station, above a barber shop) Open 1pm-midnight. Closed Tuesdays.
Cafe Brugge (Kobe: Sannomiya - Belgian rest/beer bar). 078-333-0887
One of the few places in town where you can find a multiplicity of Belgian beers, in a convenient location right at the foot of Ikuta Road.
SunKita-Nagasa-dori 1-1-3. (at the base of the road leading up to Tokyu Hands, at the railroad tracks) Open 11:30am-11pm daily.

More Kobe bars

Jam Jam (Kobe: Motomachi - Jazz kissaten). 078-331-0876
An old-fashioned Japanese jazz kissaten (coffee shop), Jam Jam plays classic vinyl jazz and serves coffee, limited drinks and desserts.
SunMotomachi-dori 1-7-2. Open noon-11pm daily.
Vege Vege Curry (Kobe: Motomachi - Curry). 078-331-2131
Located conveniently close to Motomachi station, this casual curry shop serves inexpensive wines by the glass or bottle as well as a menu of small drink-friendly snacks in addition to their vegetable-centered curries. During happy hour (5-8pm), you can get a small plate of four tapas-style dishes plus a drink for Y500.
SunKita-Nagasa-dori 3-3-9. Open 11:30am-2, 5-10pm (LO) daily.
Barstro Kitchen (Kobe: Sannomiya - French). 078-391-2773
As the name implies, Barstro falls somewhere between a bistrot and a straight-out bar, and you can either enjoy a full-on French-inspired meal here, with dishes like duck confit and foie gras pate, or just have a few drinks. When the weather is nice, Barstro's rooftop terrace is a very pleasant place to hang out. Budget around Y5000 for dinner and drinks.
SunlateKita-Nagasa-dori 2-4-8, 3F. Open 6pm-1am (LO) daily.