With all the high-brow hot spots sprouting
up in Roppongi Hills, our beloved village-within-a-city, Azabu
Juban, has started to feel like a second-rate stepchild. We'll
have none of that, however, and thanks to Café Life we
came up with the perfect excuse to revisit the area. Nestled
near Azabu Juban station, this new bar is like a fresh breeze
blowing through a neighborhood that's been a little
down and out-a breeze that lasts into the wee hours
of the morning.
Making our way into the first-floor space, we were warmly
welcomed by Peter, as the Japanese host prefers to be called.
He then introduced us around and before we even made it to
our table, we'd said hello to the whole bar. We also
noted that the dark wood chairs matched the oak bar and had
just the right amount of polish to make us feel good about
polishing off our drinks.
Café Life's dramatic lighting, meanwhile, gave
us the feeling of being in '30s Hollywood and the interior
matched the patrons like a glove: high-heeled darlings and
well-groomed, well-aged gentlemen. The noise level was just
such that we could make out Johnny Hartmann's "My
One and Only Love" in the background. And after climbing
the steep, hair-raising stairs to the second floor, we were
enchanted by an oasis of soft couches, which in addition to
the perfectly dim lighting came to life as part of the rustic
décor and wood ceiling.
Enlightened by the storybook mood, we started
on the light side with a round of Bellinis (¥1,100)
to accompany a buttery starter of porcini and mash potatoes
(¥1,000) courtesy of Café Life's extensive,
predominantly Asian menu. We followed our food with a few
more rounds of Mimosas (¥1,100), Manhattans (¥900)
and martinis (¥900), and were tempted to try some Japanese
shochu from Café Life's vast list: Maoh (¥1,000),
a sweet potato concoction from Kagoshima, and Ohishi (¥1000),
from Kumamoto Prefecture. Now feeling a bit tipsy, we asked
Peter to send up a slice of their delicate cheesecake (¥600).
Finally, we decided it was a good time to head on home, pleased
that Azabu Juban's bar scene has been brought back
to life. Café Life, that is.
3-7-3 Azabu Juban, Minato-ku. Tel:
03-5419-3388. Open daily 11am- 4am (occasionally later). Nearest
stn: Namboku line, Azabu Juban stn.
Photos by Martin Hladik
bars with METROPOLIS readers at