Billiard Bar Cosmo
From the street below, the twinkling lights
of Billiard Bar Cosmo looked serene amid the cigar bars and
gentlemen's clubs that otherwise typify the executive playground
of Akasaka. Venturing inside, we eased into a stall to the
sounds of warm reggae and colliding pool balls. Perched at
the slightly raised bar area, we had a good view of our surroundings
and the relaxed billiards action taking place. The black walls,
low ceilings and obligatory neon beer signs totaled up to
that nightclub-with-the-lights-on setting we associate with
an authentic pool hall. Along with the five full-sized tables
were four towering darts machines (¥100/game).
BBC's casual clientele was made up of young Japanese
couples and more devoted middle-aged pool players armed with
their own chalk. Osamu-san, the friendly bilingual owner,
informed us that a steady trickle of foreigners come to the
bar either from the nearby upmarket hotels or the local business
district. The fact that the Japan's national billiards
champion is female and uses BBC as her practice ground means
that women are regulars as well.
BBC has no cover charge and serves draft beer for ¥500,
an Akasaka rarity that also draws customers who have no interest
in knocking balls around a table. Otherwise, the drinks menu
is pretty standard with all the cocktail favorites served
at ¥700. The Samurai Rock (a measure of sake with lime)
set the night off nicely, and a glass of Spanish red (¥600)
accompanied a filling meal of spicy sausages (¥500) and
lightly peppered fried potatoes (¥400). Osamu, a chef
in England for three years, speedily prepares the snacks in
full view of his customers. The food can then be eaten at
the bar with Shimo, the sleepy resident springer spaniel,
or delivered to the tables in the heat of a game.
After getting accustomed to the friendly
service, cozy lighting and what was now some pretty heady
jazz fusion, it was unfortunately getting near that time to
drag ourselves away. A group of unbalanced salarymen trying
their hardest to get their darts somewhere close to a nearby
board encouraged us to do so that little bit quicker.
Billiards table charges before 7pm:
¥400 (men), ¥350 (women); 7pm-close: ¥500 (men),
¥450 (women). 2F Mayuzumi Bldg, 3-10-3 Akasaka, Minato-ku.
Tel: 03-3585-4838. Open Mon-Fri 3pm-5am, Sat 2pm-5am, Sun
2pm-midnight. Nearest stn: Akasaka-mitsuke.
Photos by Peter Cook
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