Tokyo's underground game bars

How much will it cost?
About ¥2820 - ¥7051
About $30 - $75
About £18 - £45

16Shots is hidden away from other Shinjuku bars. It’s also one of the smallest of the sites on our pilgrimage. On most Friday nights the bartenders turn people away for lack of seating, so if you do go, it is best to bring just a few friends.

Despite its size, 16Shots is packed with gaming artifacts and curios. Books line the bar, alongside a small DS and PSP library for drinkers to play along with the handhelds at the bar. A projection on the rear wall displays a constant stream of retro game commercials from all over the world. A small monitor with an Xbox 360 and Wii adorns the opposite side, as well as the Famicase, a cabinet full of Famicom cartridges that can be loaded and played with the push of a single button. Game music is constantly booming, providing a constant stream of nostalgic memories to chat about.

Above: Bartenders at 16Shots Naoko (left) and Hata (right)

Friday nights are always the most popular, and roughly seventy percent of the bar’s clientele are in the game industry. More than a few famous developers visit the bar, and the bulletin board in the restroom, where customers pin their business cards, hosts the names of some of the most famous developers in Tokyo.

Despite the large crowds, 16Shots is an intimate little bar where everyone knows your name. Friday nights are not characterized by wild parties, but by quiet chats among customers and staff about the games industry.

Above: A small sign marking the entrance to 16Shots

Above: A small sample of the games available at 16Shots

Above: A menu on the bar's tabletop arcade machine

Above: Naoko minds the register while Hata chops onions

Qunai Bros.

Street Address:???
Phone Number:???
Business Hours:???

How much will it cost?
About ¥??? - ¥???
About $??? - $???
About £??? - £???

Our last bar is called Qunai Bros. But only the most resourceful bar hunters will learn of its existence, let alone find it. Specializing in Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki and Famicom games, Qunai Bros. is located somewhere in Shinjuku’s jungle of bars called the Golden Gai. Establishments in this area usually can’t seat more than five people and newcomers are not always welcome. In fact, the owner of Qunai Bros. doesn’t want his place getting too popular. Even if you do find the bar, finding out when the place opens is another matter. It does not always run on the same schedule as every other area bar. Even our band of pilgrims have never actually been able to check the place out, as the bar has been closed every time we’ve tried to visit it.

Above: Finding the Minus World is easy. Finding Qunai Bros will be much more difficult. Per the owner’s request, we aren’t giving you ANY clues as to where it is

If you think you’re up to the challenge, you might be able to find Qunai Bros. If you’re lucky you might even be able to check the place out and try out their Okonomiyaki. Congratulations if you do, it seems only the luckiest and most dedicated gamers get that chance.

Above: If you can’t find Qunai Bros, there’s always ice cream. Yes. You too, can enjoy the delicious taste of iced cream

Jul 24, 2009

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