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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 Martin Webb


It wasn’t until we’d walked across the whitewashed floor, settled into our furry gray armchairs, and rested our elbows on the surgically white table that it dawned on us. There, in glorious Technicolor on a giant plasma screen, was an image of the handsome young Argentinean sportsman who came to be known as Maradona. One of the most skilful soccer players ever, the man every England soccer fan loves to hate, the man responsible for eliminating England from the 1986 Mexico World Cup with his fabled “Hand of God” foul play, Diego Maradona is now the man who has a bar in Daikanyama dedicated to his fame.

Smirking at the contrast between the Diego’s painfully cool-and-clinical café interior and its sweaty, testosterone-driven theme, we ordered a glass of the sweet and swiggable house red (¥600) and a white Russian (¥750), which came with an extra-generous serving of vodka courtesy of the beaming barman. Quite taken with our sophisticated surroundings, which included a big, bristling cactus plant in the corner, an attractive Japanese couple slurping spicy pasta dishes, and an unoccupied DJ booth stacked with club flyers, we chatted over the sounds of Latin lounge music flowing out of neat white Bose speakers screwed to the ceiling. How refreshing, we agreed, to find a South America-themed watering hole that so studiously avoided clichéd sentimental souvenir displays and tacky trophies, and one with such a secluded, exclusive location.

Although our fellow patrons seemed to be delighted by their dinner, we hadn’t the stomach for a full meal and instead opted to sample the black sesame pudding (¥450), which proved to be a subtly flavored and smoothly textured gray goo that was an ideal partner to a second glass of that house red and an icy gimlet (¥750). Having discussed the arrangements of an upcoming private party with the still-smiling barman, the blissfully in-love couple at the adjacent table wandered out into the night, leaving us with only the company of a plasmafied Maradona and the flourishing cactus. Heavy eyelids and pressing next-day deadlines prompted us to make our excuses and make an exit too, but we were sure we’d be back for some masochistic Maradona gawping and cocktail gulping before the soccer season began in earnest and stylish Shibuya-based sports fans stole all the seats.

6-6 Uguisudani, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5458-8105. Open daily 11am-1am. Nearest stn: Shibuya or Daikanyama, near Air.

Photos by Nobby Kealey

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