4 LGBT Bars in Sapporo
A night out in one of Japan's most LGBT-friendly areas.
Head over to Susukino, Sapporo’s entertainment and nightlife district, for an evening out in one of Japan’s most LGBT-friendly cities. A pocket of Susukino is dedicated to Sapporo’s LGBT nightlife and rivals that of Ni-chome in Tokyo. As Hokkaido’s largest city, Sapporo is also one of the first to recognize same-sex partnerships and has a history of actively supporting LGBT businesses.
Here are four LGBT bars in Sapporo perfect for drinking and dancing. Along with these, many of the hippest clubs in the area regularly book drag performers and host LGBT-events. (By the way, it’s worth noting that none of the bars listed below are cruising spots.)
1. Bar Orb
Photo by: Bar Orb
A relaxed atmosphere with a chill vibe, good cocktails and a chance to meet and interact with locals is what you’ll get at Bar Orb. Although anyone is welcome, Bar Orb is popular with Sapporo’s lesbian crowd and hosts a women-only night on Saturdays.
Bar Orb is one of the oldest gay bars in town and celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2017. Owner Kae is known for creating a welcoming environment for the local lesbian community and making amazing cocktails for her customers. This is also a popular choice for female solo-travelers. Follow the lesbian event blog, FIL’s Twitter profile (in Japanese) for information about events at Bar Orb.
🏳️🌈 Anyone/ women only on Saturdays
⏱ Mon-Sat, 7 p.m. until the last customer
📍4F in the Shako kaikan 社交会館 building
2. Bar Fiat
Bar Fiat prides itself on welcoming LGBT people from all over the world. For an intimate gay bar in Susukino, start your night out at Bar Fiat before heading over to one of the bigger clubs in the area. Located just a five-minute walk from Exit 1 of Odori station, Bar Fiat has a strict policy that people who do not identify as LGBT need to be accompanied by someone who identifies as a lesbian, gay, bi, trans or queer to enter.
The bar is small — with only eight seats — and usually crowded, but the atmosphere and music is more chill for chatting up locals or, of course, your hot date. The bartenders speak a little English and even the bar’s website says they will try to do anything they can to accommodate international guests. This bar has a cover charge of ¥1,500 but includes one drink (plus tax).
🏳️🌈 Anyone (non-LGBT people need to be accompanied by an LGBT person.)
⏱ Tues-Fri, 7 p.m. – 2 a.m.; Sat-Sun, 7 p.m – 3 a.m.
📍U’SLAB building, 2F
3. Bar Sign Oh!
Especially adored by gay men, Bar Sign Oh! welcomes people of all sexual orientations — as is clearly stated on their website. It was opened in 2011 by staff from the beloved gay bar in Ni-chome, Arty-Farty & the Annex. If you’re a fan of Arty-Farty, you’ll fall in love with Bar Sign Oh!. Known for its friendly bartenders — and featuring the latest pop music in the background — this is the right place to go dancing on a weekend or even a weekday!
Hashtag-blessed with a romantic night view of the lively Susukino district, Bar Sign Oh!’s view of the city from the fifth floor is unmissable! Plus, you can avoid the traditional table charge you’ll find in many of Japan’s gay bars with free entrance and seating.
⏱ Mon-Fri 7 p.m. until the last customer; Sat-Sun 8 p.m until the last customer
📍SA Building 5F
4. Bar Hammer
— Jupiter＠静岡 (@Jupiter_SZOK) June 8, 2018
Looking to sing your rocks off? Bar Hammer is the spot to hit up karaoke and see live events, plus it’s located in the same building as Bar Sign Oh!. However, this bar has a few restrictions: It clearly states on their website they prefer gay men only and are open to foreigners who speak Japanese. (If you’re Japanese isn’t so hot, this is probably not the spot for you).
Bar Hammer regularly hosts themed parties, genre-specific DJ nights and even sports viewing events for the gay community in Sapporo. Pop by to sing your heart out to the latest hits or have a drink with local drag queens. Event information is regularly posted on Bar Hammer’s Twitter (in Japanese).
🏳️🌈 Gay men, foreigners who can speak Japanese
⏱ Tues-Sun 8 p.m. – 2 a.m. (Closed every Monday and third Sunday of the month.)
📍SA Building 5F