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bar news and views
word of mouth

499: AGAVE
498: Miss Sixty Café
497: The Pink Cow
496: Cantik
495: Billiard Bar Cosmo
494: Soma
493: Hajime
492: Rm.39
491: Coopers
490: Bar Nemesis
489: Franziskaner Bar & Grill
488: NOS
487: Diego
486: Sekirei
485: Bonny Butterfly
484: So Ra Si O
483: Maduro
482: Space Punch
481: Cento Cose
480: Bamboo
479: Heartland
478: Sign
477: Yoshino
476: Omamori Cafe
475: So Bar
474: Traumaris
473: Naka Naka
472: Tsuki no Akari
471: Bar
470: These
469: Atomic Heart Mother
468: Soft
467: Milano Bar
466: Mother
465: Omocha
464: Insomnia 2
463: Lucusfloor
462: Pulse
461: Mahna Mahna
460: Ten
459: Trees'
457/8: Mayu
456: Lounge Sinner
454: Ja Ja Bar
453: See
452: Republica
451: Shanghai Bar
450: Tsuki no Kura

Issues 500+
Issues 449-
Issues 399-


by Matt Wilce


Sometimes all we want to do is live la vida loca, get dressed to the nines and down some serious bubbly with a leggy Latino, and when we get the urge we know where to go. Currently hotter than Havana, the revolutionary Republica champagne bar and adjacent restaurant Kubakan, have spiced up Aoyama's nightlife with an easy blend of Eastern style, Western sophistication and Latin hospitality. Whether you choose a center table, sit at the gleaming counter, or tuck yourself away behind a palm, it's almost impossible to stumble into unflattering lighting or an undesirable spot. We settled on a kanji-inscribed corner booth as the best place to survey the sharp suits, sleek and slinky senoras and capacious menu. The attentive, well-informed, liveried staff guided us through what is probably the city's most extensive list of bubbly—around 40 to 50 varieties, including some cuvées and vintages not usually available outside the caves of Champagne. We discovered that the menu reads in order from the most full-bodied varieties at the front through to ultra-light rosés at the back, a helpful detail that makes ordering a breeze. From vintage Krug to Cristal and Pierre Jouet to Pommery, all of the regular party poppers were present along with some more outré offerings—expect to find a few special guests on the menu during the festive season. We settled on an old friend, the Bollinger Grand Cuvée '92, a fizz that's packed with subtle flavors (¥2,600/glass). The extensive number of champagnes by the glass is good news for exploratory drinkers looking to branch out, while business barons with big bucks have every opportunity to splash out and sparkle with the pricier bottles of fizz.

Savoring our tony tipple and the equally effervescent elan of the moodily lit bar we were faced by several options for further entertainment. We flirted with the idea of another flute and a plate of pinchos (Latin yakitori), or popping down the street to catch some jazz riffs at Blue Note. In the end, the thought of more champagne and the fiesta of fusion flavors at Kubakan proved too much of a temptation, and we opted to move next door to the main restaurant. One thing's for sure, next time we entertain a Havana smoking honcho or sultry Spaniards, we'll be heading back to Republica wishing that all revolutions were as much fun.

Open: 6pm-midnight Tue-Sat, 3-11pm Sun. Closed: Mon. B1 Raika Annex Bldg, 6-4-6 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5467-7135. Nearest stn: Omotesando.

Photo credit: Kiely Ramos