Second Line / Soulbar {Shinjuku, Tokyo}

On my 2nd trip to Tokyo, I booked my hotel in the Shinjuku area. Shinjuku is famous for its nightlife block called "Golden Gai". It's a whole block filled with bars, most of them are dive bars. Many of those places can only host a handful of customers, and are very limited in size. 

I heard about bar called "Curtis", which reminded me of the soulsinger Curtis Mayfield, it sounded like the right place to start my evening as a solo traveler. Due to a total lack of free-wifi spots in the area of Shinjuku, I wasn't able to get the right adress of "CURTIS" while walking through the tiny alleys of Tokyo.

Outside of a building I saw the wooden sign "SECOND LINE". In New Orleans -Second Line- is called the dancing crowd, which follows the brass band during a street-parade. I totally got the idea behind the bar name, and felt this would be a great substitute for "Curtis Bar".

I went downstairs to the basement, and entered the first door on the left. It was small bar, very dark, with 2 people sitting in a corner on a round table, and two other customers sitting on the counter. I took place on the counter as well, and the bar owner started to introduce himself in pretty good english.

A pretty big collection of vinyls, soulmusic playing in the background, dimmed lights above the tables, and I was watching the owner cutting ice blocks with an ice-pick for my drink. You could notice that the owner Masaaki Matsuzaki put all his heart into that bar. He told me I should call him Matcham.

Matcham introduced me to a couple of customers, which kept me busy for every night I visited his bar. We talked about records, about Japan, New Orleans and about our lives. Rarely I've been to a bar, that reflected so much passion.

After I visited "Second Line", I turned back every night for a drink or two for my next 4 nights in Tokyo. I'd recommend this place to evey music lover, and everyone who's looking for a laidback but classy place to start the evening in Tokyo.


  • 新宿3-10-11, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan
  • Facebook: Bar Second Line
  • Phone # : +81 3-3226-7890