From the Tokyo's Best Stuff series
Ebisu is an inner suburb of Tokyo that seems to have the highest population of ex-pat gaijin and foreign businesses in the megalopolis. What you get, of course, when you mix a high popluation of foreigners working in Japan is a greater-than-usual concentration of bars and restaurants. Ebisu might be all business at day time, but comes alive at night with a gentler and more sensitive vibe than the hardcore Roppongi.
"Top of Yebisu"
Glassed elevators take you to the 39th floor of the Yebisu Garden Place building for a great view across Shinjuku. The ride is free of charge, and once at the top of the building (home to companies such as SGI and Kodak), you have the choice of several dozen bars and restaurants. Try the yakitori-ya at the south end for cheap draft beer and snacks. At night, you may be lucky to see a helicopter land on the adjacent building's roof, no more than 200m away from your plate glassed vantage point.
The Sapporo Beer Museum
One of my all time favourites -- it's on the site of the original Sapporo brewery, and consists of a guided tour that includes an admittedly tired for Y2K VR-goggled tour of what it would be like to be a beer molecule! Dated (oh, so '90's) but cool all the same. Ends in the tasting bar, where fresh-today draught brews are dispensed in tiny glasses for ¥100 each. Totally recommended. Pick up some chilled Yebisu beer jellies on your way out.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Photography Museum
Great for lovers of photography - also in the Garden Place complex which is home to the two attractions above. Three (or was it four) floors of photography -- the last time I visited there was an amazing Polaroid exhibition with the most surprising use of the system that I'd ever seen or heard of. A bit pricey, so check out the current exhibitions first.
The Contemporary Sculpture Centre
is free and is on the 1F of the Nibankan Building, just beyond the beer museum. Fabulous on a sunny day. Buy some sushi from the basement level food-hall of the magnificent Mitsukoshi depato (department store) and stop for some lunch.
Billy Barew's Beer Bar
Billy Barew's is a chain of beer bars in Tokyo that specialises in imported beers and good times. The Billy Barew's in Ebisu is one of the friendliest of the chain that I've visited -- indeed, it became a local on my last visit. Take the west exit from Ebisu station (if you look to your right and see the koban, you're oriented correctly), cross the two giraffe crossings and walk up the main road for maybe 600m. Look out for the Billy Barew's sandwitch board sign on the pavement and walk up the three floors. Ask to be served by posto petto and tell her Saymon sent you! 3-1-26 Ebisu Minami.