Izakaya or Japanese-style pubs, with their wooden booths and diverse menus, are a great place to go with some friends, but after you’ve been to a few you’ll have seen all they have to offer. If you’re looking for something exciting that’s truly one-of-a-kind, check out this new Vegas-style challenger in the no-holds-barred world of Tokyo watering holes: Tokyo Fight Club.
As you might guess from the name, Tokyo Fight Club is in a different weight class from your ordinary drinking establishment. Located in the heart of Shibuya, on walking into Tokyo Fight Club you’ll be struck by an atmosphere that feels more Magic Mike than “Kin no Kura.” Graffiti-covered walls, neon lighting and disco balls set the tone for suave waiters in waistcoats serving an eclectic menu of food and drink.
What truly makes it stand out from the sea of other contenders, however, is the mixed martial arts cage that dominates the center of the club. Here, you can view real martial arts matches ranging from traditional amateur wrestling and boxing to MMA and Muay Thai fights.
On Fridays and Saturdays from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. you’ll be able to see a large variety of styles and fighters with top martial artists from all over competing for glory. It almost feels like you’re a Roman emperor watching two gladiators battle it out for the entertainment of the crowd while you snack on exotic foods available from the corners of your far reaching empire.
In case you feel you don’t have the most stellar view from your seat, the action is easily visible everywhere in the club thanks to its numerous monitors displaying the bouts from every angle. You’ll see, hear and be a part of the cheers from the crowd and the fury of combat happening in the octagon. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can walk right up to the mesh for an up close and personal experience.
If pugilism isn’t your thing, fear not: Tokyo Fight Club has other entertainment experiences for everyone. The club hosts a variety of different acts including magic shows and dance performances. Future plans include hosting idol shows allowing fans, or even just the curious, to experience another side of Japanese culture that is usually quite difficult for foreigners to gain access.
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Even when there’s no fight card, performances or dancing, Tokyo Fight club is a great place to visit just for some cool music and the sheer variety of food options. In fact, TFC is structured like a food court with different kiosks and vendors plying all sorts of international cuisine. After you’ve done some edible globetrotting, there are even hookah pipes to rent out. Drinks are also a steal from ¥300 between 6 p.m. to 9 p.m..
And the international flavor isn’t confined just to the food or invited fighters — the club is very welcoming to foreign guests. The club seats 250, but the seating is purposefully movable to make room for a dance floor and take advantage of the venue-flooding sound system.
Entrance to the club costs ¥3,000. While ¥1,000 goes to the entertainment, ¥2,000 is added to a Tokyo Fight Club member’s card as points to be spent on food and drink while you’re there. Instead of paying in cash, it’s a case of topping it up whenever you need to. Whatever you don’t spend will be carried over to your next visit.
Izakaya and club by night, TFC also functions as a boxing and martial arts gym in the day. TFC members can make full use of the facilities, which include sandbags, the ring, gloves and weights, as well as showers and a locker room.
With the same uniqueness, humor and high-production value of places like Shinjuku’s Robot Restaurant or Kawaii Monster Café, Tokyo Fight Club is the kind of unique hybrid bar-restaurant, show and gym that you could only find in Japan — or maybe the Vegas strip!