Tokyo's mysterious street numbering
system stymied us on our way to Rm.39, a Nishi Azabu bar we'd
been dying to try out for the past few weeks. Thrown off by
the fact that the drinking den shares an address with a different
building on the same block, we wandered around until we found
ourselves staring up at the mammoth Roppongi Hills complex.
How did we get here? We were sorely tempted to give up and
continue on to one of the mini-city's trendy, crowded
bars, but decided to double back and give the search for Rm.39
one last go. And boy, were we glad we did.
Unlike the hipster enclaves at RH, Rm.39's cool quotient
has nothing to do with its address or newness and everything
to do with its vibe. Behind a heavy wooden door inlaid with
black metal on the second floor, the bar's good music,
low lighting and helpful staff add up to a casual, sophisticated
scene. The interior's so dark our eyes took time to
adjust, but once they did they feasted on leather couches
and low-slung, wood- and glass-topped coffee tables. Candles
floating in scented oil and narrow-beamed spot lighting provided
the only illumination, while up-tempo but unobtrusive club
tunes from the DJ booth lay down a soothing aural atmosphere.
As we entered, a pretty young woman, obviously a regular,
sat at the bar and enjoyed a jovial conversation with the
The drinks menu is fairly standard and contains
helpful descriptions of some of the more obscure items. A
Road Runner turned out to be a vodka-based cocktail with coconut
liqueur and amaretto (¥1,000), sweet and very stiff. The
Beauty Spot, a new favorite of ours, came with gin, dry and
sweet vermouths, orange juice and grenadine (¥1,000).
Served in a martini glass, it looked as good as it tasted.
We decided to stay away from the TTT (tequila, Tanqueray and
Wild Turkey ¥1,500), which reminded us a bit too much
of our anything-goes college days, a trend that continued
when a bottle of Heineken (\800) arrived sans glass. Rm.39
also has a decent food menu; an Italian ham and mozzarella
okonomiyaki (¥1,200) seemed unlikely but was actually
hearty and delicious.
When it came time to go, one of the solicitous staff gave
us a little help opening the thick door. We walked back to
Roppongi Hills and decided that its in-your-face cool and
teeming throngs were good for one thing, anyway. It was a
good place to catch a cab.
Table charge: 3-1-18 Nishi-Azabu,
Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5771-6202. Open daily 7pm-4:30am. Nearest
stn: Roppongi, Roppongi Hills exit. www.39jap.com
Photos by Nobby Kealey
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