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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 Matt Bateman

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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