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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 Michael J. Miller


Unless we were college students or getting our hair done at one of the numerous beauty salons in the area, we normally wouldn't have a reason to venture down the narrow street that borders Aoyama University. But even though someone had to tell us about NOS (Nature Off Stage), once on the street it's hard to miss the modern glass structure or the glowing cubic sign with its schematic diagram of the establishment's three-plus stories.

Pulling open the huge folding glass door, we entered a garage-like standing bar space with a small counter, various bottles lined up against the wall, and two bicycles parked on the concrete floor. The bartender called out to us over the hip-hop music and said that if we wanted to sit upstairs, it was the terrace or a long wait. We opted for the terrace.

Climbing the spiral staircase to the second floor, we passed what appeared to be a private living room with sofas, a small gallery space, and a couple of cave-like rooms crammed with people-mostly youngish, well-dressed Japanese. Another spiral staircase led us to a third-floor dining hall, with candlelit tables and huge paintings hanging on the black walls.

Finally reaching the terrace, we noticed it was more like a stuffy greenhouse, enclosed in clear vinyl, which the staff said they couldn't open. But they were able to move us to an inside counter area with a kitchen view.

By this time, it was clear we had entered a kind of restaurant, not just a simple watering hole, so we quickly ordered some standards from a rather basic drink menu, skipping over the longer wine-by-the-bottle list (from ¥3,400).

When our Moscow mule (¥750) and draft beer (¥650) arrived, we were deeply engrossed in NOS's original food menu. Picking from headings such as "Energy," "Source" and "Beauty," we selected a carpaccio of snapper (¥1,000), fried salmon salad (¥880) and cheese risotto (¥1,000). Little details like giant flakes of parmesan cheese, bits of red pepper in the salad and barley in the risotto kept us talking about how nice it was to eat food that actually had flavors and not just flavor.

As the music flowed from samba to a slow, funky jazz house beat, we lingered at the counter. Too full to think about dessert, we ordered two more cocktails: a Vodka rickey and a bulldog (¥750). Digesting the ambience and the meal, and feeling totally relaxed in this self-proclaimed "Tokyo-style living space," we decided that two drinks would be a wise limit in a glass house with two spiral staircases.

5-10-17 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5774-1727. Open Mon-Sat 6pm-5am, Sun and hols 6-11pm. Nearest stn: Omotesando, exit B1.

Photos by Nobby Kealey

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