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bar news and views
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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 Georgia Jacobs


In time, the crowds at other Roppongi Hills establishments may dissipate, but at the complex's coolest cocktail bar, Bamboo-one third of Soho's Roppongi J interconnected trio-the hype is likely to live on. A prelude to American super chef Todd English's first Tokyo venture, Olives, and international restaurant Xen, this sleek watering hole on the fifth floor of the West Walk is the brainchild of New York avant-garde architecture firm the David Rockwell Group, and hard to miss with its perpetual line of decked-out drinkers and diners.

On our first visit, a bilingual hostess guarded the roped off portal to posh tippling, giving Bamboo a New York's finest feel, where name dropping and schmoozing-and we're not above either-gets you in the door on weekends. After playing politics with the stylish sentinel, we took a seat at the glass bar aglow in orange light and stocked with name-brand liquors and liqueurs. The menu contained cutting-edge cocktails and martinis, such as orange and saketini (¥1,200), as well as the standard concoctions that appear on most drink lists. We put in our orders for a couple of cosmopolitans (¥1,200 each) and sat back to admire the Rockwell Group's work and survey the crowd.

True to its namesake, Bamboo featured illuminated floor-to-ceiling trunks of the Japan's native plant shooting up in bunches from tiny rock gardens scattered around the place, with strings of silver beads streaming down from above like sci-fi waterfalls. Like Rockwell's famous Hairspray set, it all was a bit surreal. Between the bar and the beads sat a dozen tall, platinum-colored cocktail tables packed with fashion-conscious city dwellers.

Our pink drinks soon arrived in hefty martini glasses rather than the petite variety that reign in Tokyo's drinking dens, and just as we began to sip, we had a frightful flashback from a recent trip to a trendy SoHo-as in South of Houston-dive, where we were witnesses to spring debauchery. Two fashion victims received a lashing from 100 drunken patrons who suddenly chanted in unison, "Same shirt! Same shirt! Same shirt!" when someone noticed they were clad in matching paisley button-downs. When we spied a woman sporting our Jean-Michel Basquiat collector's edition D & G jean jacket from our Bamboo barstool perch, we counted ourselves lucky we'd narrowly escaped a similar scene-even if the Tokyo variety might have consisted of stares and snickers. On our next trip to this happening spot-and we will be back-we'll think twice about donning ultra-cool duds.

Roppongi Hills West Walk 5F, 6-10-1 Roppongi. Tel: 03-5413-9577. Open Mon-Sat 7am-5am, Sun 11am-11pm. Nearest stn: Roppongi.

Photo credit: Nobby Kealey

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