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bar news and views
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 Matt Bateman


On seeing Agave's illuminated sign, we felt that strong tequila would be the perfect antidote to the usual hassle we had just encountered walking down Roppongi's main drag. Pushing open the heavy door, we were greeted by a cavernous, dimly-lit basement filled with the serenading sounds of traditional Mexican music. Before there was time to fully fathom the incredible number of tequila bottles lined up behind the bar, a man in mariachi garb was beckoning us to our bar stools. Once seated and a little more adjusted to the dim light, we could see that we were sharing the establishment with a few small groups of well-dressed, alcoholically adventurous Japanese.

To those of us who hadn't been to Central America, Agave looked about as authentic as you could get. In a separate alcove from where we sat, lavishly framed Frida Kahlo prints graced the brick walls alongside tatty posters of the Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata. The weathered wooden cabinets on the far side of the bar displayed a vast selection of fat cigars ranging in price from ¥900-¥3,000. And with the addition of a big hardcover book explaining everything we'd ever want to know about tequila, Agave is just as much of an educational experience as it is a drinking one.

How do you begin to choose from 400 varieties of tequila? Well, with a shot of the famous Don Julio Real ringing in at ¥9,400, your wallet might help to restrict you. The English menu gave us an indication of what to go for, with helpful explanations of the four main kinds of tequila-joven, blanco, reposado and anejo.

We decided to get some recommendations from the manager, a man with enough personal knowledge to rewrite the aforementioned book on tequila. In full faith we started with a measure of Hacienda De Tepa (¥900) washed down with a spicy sangria chaser. Our "down in one" approach was quickly corrected when told that a good tequila should be sipped. A little embarrassed, we proceeded on to a glass of Tres Alegres Compadres (¥800). For the final shot we were pointed in the direction of a fine anejo named Viuda De Romero (¥1,000), which proved to be the most enjoyable of the night.

Now corrected in our misguided preconception that tequila bars should be places to throw back a quick couple of slammers, we regretted not being able to spend more time in this nostalgic shrine to Mexican culture. Nevertheless, as we climbed back up the steps with the essence of the anejo still slowly burning in our throats, we felt a whole lot more knowledgeable about the good ol' Mexican firewater.

B1F Clover Building, 7-15-10 Roppongi, Minato-Ku. Tel: 03-3497-0229. Open Mon-Fri 6:30pm-2am, Sat until 6:30pm-4am, closed Sun. Nearest stn: Roppongi.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Agave

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