Ever since US3 turned jazz into pop currency, we've
been a little wary of anything billed as a jazz bar. Earnest
young men with knitted wool hats, scratching their goatees
and musing about Miles Davis' impact on post-modernist
art could seriously put you off your beer. But Mahna Mahna
in Sangenjaya is a lot more than it's cracked up to be.
We arrived there a bit bemused to be so far off the beaten
track but ready for a change of scenery anyway and made our
way upstairs to the spacious, well-upholstered balcony area.
We settled into the comfy sofas as the resident DJ cheered
up the Jazz skeptics among us with a funky '70s set.
It turned out that Mahna Mahna was more eclectic than we thought,
with a mixed crowd of Shimokitazawa drop outs getting into
tunes covering the last 20 years of soul, pop and funk.
We set about the drinks menu with a purpose, ordering loaded
Long Island Ice Teas (¥900) and hot wine (¥600) to
keep out this desperate cold. The drinks list was fairly standard
with only a couple of notable exceptions such as Shandy Gaff
(¥700) and Cassis beer (¥700), neither of which really
sounded that appealing, but we had to admire the nod to adventurism.
Having decided that food might be a good idea to balance what
sadly seemed to be a mainly liquid diet, we weighed into the
extensive snack menu ordering olives (¥400), Okinawa specialty
taco rice (¥800) and their delicious homemade lean pork
chashu (¥600). Everything went down a treat, and we realized
that leaving Shibuya may not be such a bad idea after all.
The space and vibe is perfect for small parties or live bands,
and the friendly staff seemed keen to promote Mahna Mahna
as a venue for any kind of low key event with punters only
having to pay the ¥300 per head cover charge. This month's
schedule for example includes a hip-hop event called Nymphoseek,
a Jazz Brazil night from DJ QT-4 and something
called Banzanispa with DJ Diasuke. None of us
had any idea what any of this meant of course, but at Mahna
Mahna it'll probably be fun anyway. Stephen Cotterill
Open Mon-Sat 7pm-4am Sun 1pm-4am.
2-9-26 Taishido, Setagaya-ku. Tel: 03-3419-7909. Nearest stn:
Denentoshi line, Sangenjaya stn.
credit: Anatole Papafilippou