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bar news and views
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Issues 499-
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Issues 399-

 

by Justine Copley

Faro

Ginza, with its long, spacious and sparkling-clean boulevards, is the epicenter of cosmopolitan Tokyo style, and Faro is very much at home there. Located on the 11th floor of the famous Shiseido Building, which was constructed in 1999 on the site of the former Shiseido Parlour, the bar constitutes just one element of the cosmetic giant's emporium that features restaurants, galleries and beauty parlors.

The emphasis on the aesthetic is a priority here. As we stepped into the softly lit, elegant, minimalist space, we were promptly seated at a small table with large, comfortable chairs next to a glass wall that provided a superb view of the Tokyo skyline. Long white cotton curtains hung from floor to ceiling. A pale sea-green feature wall dominated the only corner of the room not bordered by glass, and above it a large video screen played suitably indiscernible images to background classical music. There were only two other well-dressed Japanese couples in this 37-seat bar, both of whom looked like they had come from the management offices of large nearby fashion houses.
We were handed a drinks menu, which, besides the notable omission of wine, had all the cocktails one would expect in a world-class bar. A simple gin and tonic was priced at ¥1,300, but most others were around the ¥1,500 mark. Non-alcoholic drinks like fruit juice, tea and coffee were also available for ¥900. We asked for the food menu and received a simple list of uninspiring dishes that were moderately priced, including tortilla chips (¥500), vegetable sticks (¥500), and "Oiled Sardine" (¥800). We opted for the plate of three cheeses for ¥1,000.

Turning to the drinks, we ordered a gin martini with an olive (¥1,500) and a Laphroaig 10-year single malt with ice (¥1,500). They arrived shortly. The whisky was sitting in an enormous glass of ice, and the martini came in a tiny glass that was already showing signs of condensation. A martini should be served cold and crisp, but this one was somewhat tepid, the result of insufficiently chilled alcohol and glass. Still, the drinks did arrive with a smattering of nuts, muscatels and olives presented in a delightful silver serving set, which sat nicely alongside the Christofle silverware that accompanied our six slivers of cheese and tiny slices of fruit bread.

You may have guessed it by now, but even though Faro looks great, its product has a hard time matching its setting. Our feelings were compounded when we received the bill and noticed the ¥1,500 cover charge.

11F, 7-5-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku. Tel: 03-3572-3922. Open Mon-Sat 6-11pm, closed Sun. Nearest stn: Shinbashi. Cover charge: ¥1,500.

Photos courtesy of Shiseido Parlour

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