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Tokyo Bar Only Lets People In if They Come Alone

Nights out on the town are much better when shared with friends or loved ones, but while most bars and clubs around the world welcome groups, one particular Tokyo establishment only welcomes parties of one.

Hitori, a small bar in Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood, has a very particular admission system – everyone is welcome as long as they come alone, no groups allowed. They make that abundantly clear from the front door, where a sign informs would-be patrons that this is a “bar limited to parties of one”. If you and your work buddies want to get a beer after a long day, or if you’re on a date with a special someone, this is most definitely not the place for you. But that doesn’t mean Hitori is a bar for loners or the socially awkward, quite the contrary…

Photo: Josetxu/Pixabay

SoraNews24 reporter Mariko recently visited Hitori Bar after learning about its bizarre admission policy and found out first hand that it’s a much more inclusive place than she had imagined. When she walked in, she saw about a half-dozen other customers sitting at the bar, but instead of ignoring each other, they were involved in conversation. She was soon approached by the friendly bartender and directed toward an empty seat at the bar.

Confused by the what she was witnessing – the other patrons, who had all arrived by themselves, talking to each other like old friends – Mariko ordered herself a drink, but didn’t know what to do next. Luckily, the bartender, who turned out to be the owner of Hitori, sensed her confusion and asked her if it was her first time there, and how she had heard about the bar.

As the reporter answered the questions, the other patrons started sharing their own stories of how they first came to Hitori, and soon Mariko became involved in the general conversation. That’s apparently how things go at this bar, and that’s by design according to the owner, who, by the way, had never worked as a bartender prior to opening the bar last year.

“But that means I wasn’t bound by what people usually think a bar should be like,” he told SoraNews24. a”And so I was able to think of what kind of place I wanted Hitori to be on my own. I want it to be a bar that offers customers a fun chance to meet new people.”

“When you’re here, it’s sort of like a mix of being out by yourself and being out with others. It feels just right, and you get to talk with a lot of different people,” one of the other patrons told Mariko.

“At other bars, if I talk to women I don’t know, sometimes they think I’m trying to hit on them and get upset. Here, we all just talk naturally with each other, and it’s easy-going and fun,” another man added.

So while Hitori’s admission policy may seem anti-social, it actually creates the kind of environment where you can meet new people and strike casual conversations without any sort of pressure. In that sense, it’s probably a lot more inclusive than most bars.

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