Izakayas!

You're in Japan. You might even not live in Hiroo or Azabu. You might even be Japanese. Or you're coming here on vacation, and you want to bond with the local wildlife. Where to eat? Izakayas.

This list is just izakayas. No classy kappou, kaiseki or kourse places. No junk food like tonkatsu or ramen. And certainly no sushi. Those are separate topiks. I've left out the crappy ones and some of the boring ones, but erred on the side of including places with at least one standout factor, even if they're bad on others. Trying to assign number ratings really brings home the fact that I've only been to most places once; if I've maligned your favorite, let me know. And then let's go there together.

Plunging in, some of the more mentionable izakayas I've hit are:

NameTownFoodSakeRoomTotalNotes
KoyuNezu4329Best food. Solid sake. Uber-clean/modern. Quiet.
RanmanNakano3249Best atmosphere. Sweetest service. Good fish.
Ishii Shinbashi3429Fires on all cylinders, just expensive
Honoka Musashi Koyama3429Love the 'freshness dating' for each bottle on the sake menu. Good food.
MoromiyaNihonbashi3429Lights are a little bright. Otherwise, spot on.
NekoyaTsukiji2439Hostess must have been a...hostess, but sake's great. Food's a little homey.
TakabanKanda3429Solid performer, standout elements
Shuan SuikoOshiage2439The perfect sake bar, and good snacks to match.
SakanaTakayama (Gifu)4228Equal best for food, but location is a problem...
BesshanMitaka2428One of the best; too bad it's so far, even from Mitaka.
Omasa KomasaHigashi Nakano3418Best sake - breadth AND quality. Unique food. Grumpiest master ever.
WakamatsuMorishita4228Sake limited but high quality. Bad location.
Tobu SakanaShimo Kitazawa3328Fun, fresh, rough, not exactly cheap (watch your order).
Hana ModernKagurazaka3328All-around performer with good prices.
KojuKanda 2428Individualistic sake for connoisseurs. Snacky food to go with.
YoshiokaKyobashi3418Poor lighting hurts amazing sake list, good food.
KaeruKita Senju3429Lights are a little bright. Otherwise, spot on.
KitayamaOtsuka2428Offbeat sake varieties. Nice U-counter, old-time feeling.
YamatoMorishita2428Recent refit, great neighborhood place. Multiple sake options from many brewers.
DajareAkasaka2428Specialist snack food, specialist sake, salon atmosphere
KapporeKamata (Kanagawa)2428Huge sake selection, farmhouse atmosphere.
HanabishiMonzennakacho3148Ex-geisha service is unfriendly, but sorta funny, and worth it.
YuwaeruKuramae3328Natural and healthy, but awful tasty. Great, great value.
UmiKayabacho2328All-rounder w/almost 30 sakes and good fish; menu difficult to read (really).
TamanegiyaKagurazaka2428Food great but limited. Sake v well kept (incl. aged) but expensive.
HayashiyaAsagaya2327Sorta fresh 'n' natural vibe; staff uninformed re sake selection
Oumi Tachikawa2327Suburban place that really cares about sake, serves good tidbits.
Luck! ZenNingyocho2327Focus on specific brewers yields deep selection. Try the ribs.
Fish Rsrch CenterShinbashi2327Must be tons of good hidden places like this; never find 'em all.
Uoshin Shibuya3227Good example of how small chains are often great in Japan
Kudan Gakugei Daigaku2327Probably leads in the area; worth a short trip
Manaita Kanda3227Retired architect makes  unique fish-heavy food; only 1 v good sake variety at a time
Mitakaya SakabaMorishita2147Friendly slice of downtown life ca 1974. But not clean.
GochiShibuya2327Chicken 'n' sake, both good. Interesting minor brewers.
SabrosoOchanomizu2327Lights are a little bright. Otherwise, spot on.
EdoichiOtsuka2237Really old interior + mama. Lots of hot sake. Cheeeap.
KonakaraOtsuka2327Lights are a little bright. Otherwise, spot on.
TamamuraMonzennakacho3227All class; light, fresh; top-quality fish, tempura, veg.
MagorokuMonzennakacho3227Grilled chicken, game meat, veg, sake sommelier? Yes.
MomosakuAsakusa2237Relocateded farmhouse atmosphere. Good tastes.
IzumiyaKanda2327Branch of liquor shop downstairs, good all around
TarafukuSendai2237Firepit cooking, local sake.
SatoTama Plaza3227Suburbia's best: good izakaya, sake and sushi together.
UoshinShibuya
(and others)
3227Good fish + cooking, cheap. Small but nice sake selection.
SantensanKamiyamada (Nagano)2327Good food (horse), great sake but storage quality suspect
Shiba no UraTamachi2327Ordinary-looking sake menu conceals cool stuff. Ask.
KawashimaMusashi Koyama2417Funny pick-your-glass sake program. Good food limited.
TsugaruKashiwa (Chiba)3317Great fish, good prices. Ask for off-menu sake.
MameyaShintomi2237Nice row-house renovation, healthy food, good sake.
YuwaeruKuramae3227Organic focus, good cooking. Small, quality org. sake list.
AkaoniSangenchaya2417Food interesting but not great.
Sake no AnaGinza2417Huge sake selection, industrial food and room.
FukudenMonzennakacho4127Great food. A bit expensive.
OgawaMonzennakacho3227Local favorite - creative food, well-chosen sake.
Okanaga ClubKodemmacho2327Good sake, focused on older styles - no nama. OK food.
All That JazzArakicho2327Creative southern sake list. Need to check food more fully...
UmibatakeIkebukuro3227Modern style, great food, 15 rotating sake choices.
KyusukeNingyocho2237Decent food, but warm Taisho-living room style is fun.
Good OneKanda1416Fantastic sake standing bar. Great great sake, good prices.
KanaeShinjuku 32316Good sake; food better on paper. Expensive.
Ippou Ebisu2316Big sake list, food less good than it should be. Smoky.
Daruma Monzen Nakacho1146Hard to find this slice of Showa life any more.
SasashinNingyocho1236The olden sadness of the room is worth seeing. Once.
FukagawahamaMonzennakacho2226Undistinguished except it's in the neighborhood.
Doromitei Kagurazaka3216Guy can cook, puts up a few specialty sakes
Umejin Kiyosumi Shirakwa 2226Nondescript, but every town should have one this good
Za SakanaKitami 2136Master is a notably great host
Shoujou Monzen Nakacho22262nd-tier, but not 3rd; solid. Sakes changes constantly.
Gingin Oomori 2226Widely reputed, but lacking energy in the room and sake.
NagomiSendagi2226Good chicken-based food; small but fun sake list.
MiharukomaIkebukuro2226Lots of sake, but v expensive.
Gasshomura SantaNingyocho1315OK sake; weak food, dank room. Master is an ass.
FujiMorishita1135Nostalgia value from 80+ year old mama
Osakaya Monzen Nakacho2125Gut stew has been cooking for 3 generations. Maybe one trip.
Daruma Kiyosumi Shirakawa1135One of the saddest Showa relics I've ever seen. Wow.