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word of mouth

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 Steve Trautlein


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 staff.

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.

Photos by Nobby Kealey

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