In Jiyugaoka, time slows down to just the
right pace to take a break from the bustle of our beloved
megalopolis. On a recent visit, we thought, What better way
to enjoy the relaxed vibe than with a nice glass of Pernod?
And all we had to do to get a taste of la fée verte (the
green fairy), as it was nicknamed 196 years ago in Pontarlier,
France, was head on over to nearby Posso Fumare?-which,
strangely enough for a bar that specializes in this French
liqueur, has an Italian name that means "Do you smoke?"
As soon as we entered, we were enchanted with the rustic
wooden furniture and several antique radios playing Carlos
Gardel tangos, as well as the small outdoor patio that seemed
just the right ticket for a sunny weekend afternoon. We decided
to start with a round of Guinness from the full bar menu (¥850),
which also includes a soft red house wine (¥800/glass),
Bass Pale Ale (¥800) and Pernod's bitter rival,
Ricard (¥800). A good accompaniment among the dozen
or so food items on offer was a tasty spinach-salmon gratin
(¥950). Next up was the green fairy.
Pernod is a drink with its own ritual, which involves diluting
the liqueur with water poured over a sugar cube, preferably
one that's sitting on a small fork resting on the edges
of the glass. This changes Pernod's hue from clear
green to a milkier color and results in what's known
as the louche. Combined with the unmistakable aroma of star
anise, the louche gives the drink its distinctive quality,
while absinthe gives it its kick. Pernod became the "drink
of drinks" among 19th-century Paris bohemians until
it was banned in 1915. But at Posso Fumare?, there are no
laws, and with such a fine selection, who has time to worry
about hang-ups? We proceeded to test their offerings, which
include Pernod Soda, Pernod Orange, Pernod Cranberry, and
the infamous Green Fairy (all ¥800).
Time began to move slower as we thought about closing out
our wonderful evening, and we couldn't help noticing
a curious transition occurring at Posso Fumare? With local
artists popping in with their paintings and writers reciting
their latest works, the bar seemed to transform into a 19th-century
Parisian cafe. There was even, magically enough, a couple
in the process of getting engaged. So we figured, What the
heck, let's just break out some more Pernod and create
some magic of our own.
5-24-7 Okusawa, Setagaya-ku. Tel:
03-3725-2750. Open Mon-Thurs 5pm-2am, Fri 5pm-4am, Sat 1pm-4am,
Sun 1pm-2am. Nearest stn: Jiyugaoka.
Photos by Martin Hladik
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