An LGBT cafe and bar specializing in queer inclusivity.
A night out in Tokyo’s famous gay district, Shinjuku Ni-chome can be an amazingly liberating experience. However, some “men only” or “women only” establishments can be off-putting for members of the LGBT community looking for inclusivity. At Shinjuku Dialogue, there is no such thing as an unwelcome guest — it is a truly welcoming queer-friendly space.
Shinjuku Dialogue was started in January 2019 as a place to openly discuss current issues, including but not limited to those facing LGBT groups. You’ll find it in Ni-chome’s neighboring district, Shinjuku San-chome.
“Dialogue” is very much the key word here, as the bar provides a space to respectfully share opinions and ideas. Simply come as you are and feel free to join the conversation, or just enjoy the food.
Cafe by day, bar by night
The “mama” (owner) of the bar is a cheery, openly transgender woman named Syun. During the day, she runs the cafe on the second floor, and at night she switches into bartender mode serving up fierce cocktails.
Menu prices are quite reasonable, with soft drinks starting from ¥500 and alcoholic drinks starting from ¥650.
The Japanese-style menu features miso soup and organic sweets, but is always changing based on what ingredients are in season. For a taste of the current menu, check out Shinjuku Dialogue on Facebook or Twitter. Though the social media handles are all in Japanese, the pictures of delicious food transcend any language barriers.
A portion of every drink order is donated to one of several causes the cafe is currently raising money for, which in the past has included charities supporting women’s equality and clean water initiatives. Don’t forget to place the bottle cap you receive with your drink order into the donation jar of your choice.
Deepen the dialogue
Shimmy up the stairs to the third floor and you’ll find an event space where the “dialogues” come to life. Syun and several other commentators on social justice and LGBT issues regularly speak at events held here. Events have included a discussion with the bartender of Gold Finger’s trans men night and a forum on intersex issues in Japan.
While English support is limited, many foreigners do stop by as people of all nationalities, sexualities, and genders are welcome.