Better still, it offers American-sized martinis for about . Kyoto itself has two main nightlife districts: Gion and Kiya-machi (the River Walk.) Gion is best known as the hang-out for the Geisha.

(Ask really nicely and one might stop for a photo.)Gion’s main drag (Higashi-oji-dori) has a full range of typical Japanese nightlife from upscale restaurants to “shot bars” (dives).

What I’m basically saying is that no matter what I say, don’t take it to be gospel for every other gay person’s experience in Tokyo.

I’m just sharing what I have experienced in my year plus here, nothing more, nothing less.

Although there is a multitude of places to choose from on the main streets, most locals go to the winding side streets.

A common goal seems to be finding the smallest possible bar to squeeze into. To underscore how densely pack together these places are you may be thinking: “If we don’t like this place, we’ll go to the one down the hall, upstairs, downstairs or next door.”With taxis outrageously expensive, many people stick to spots in walking distance to home or work. To announce someone is buying shots for the whole place.

Yes, it has jazz clubs with $70 covers and “hostess” clubs that will hit you up for $200 before the girls and drinks arrive.

But, if you accept that you’ll be paying for a beer and for a shot, the town is manageable. You’ll pay 3 times as much for stuff you swear came from a screw-top. Then again, some open at 5am for the after-night crowd.

The sheer volume of options for drinking and eating are mind-boggling.

One warning: If seated on a open-air patio along the river, expect to pay a table charge of or more per person.

If you’re looking to pick a meeting spot, the front of Almond (pronounced all-mon-doe) coffee house is the place.