Have you heard? Monday, August 4 is Beer Hall Day at The Dubliners’ Irish Pub. What is Beer Hall Day, you might ask? For one day only, pints of draft beer will be sold for just ¥500. At which branch? All six of ’em! And if you can’t wait until then, stop by any of the locations (in Shibuya, Shinjuku, Akasaka, Shinagawa, Toranomon or Ikebukuro) between July 28 and August 3, and for every pint you drink, receive a ¥100 discount ticket redeemable on or after August 5.
It’s easy to grow tired of visiting the same Roppongi watering holes week after week. Opened last month, Zero Bar (1F Roppongi 410 Bldg, 4-10-5 Roppongi, Minato-ku; 03-5775-0100; www.zerobar.jp) promises something fresh—and refreshing. This new champagne bar just steps from the Tokyo Midtown complex offers a selection of over 100 bottles of bubby and wine. The small-ish space is dimly lit, with a wood counter and comfy low-back bar stools and the drinks illuminated under red lights. To find it, look for the number “0” in the bar’s ground-level window.
Up for some live jazz, pops, bossa nova, samba or chanson from leading Japanese musicians? At Boston Dreams (B1 Roppongi Five Bldg, 5-18-20 Roppongi, Minato-ku; 03-3583-3988), just off Gaien-Higashi Dori, you can enjoy three sets of live music (7:40-11pm) six days a week. Stop by during happy hour (5:30-7:30pm) and pay ¥1,000 for two drinks and popcorn, with additional drinks just ¥500. Entry starts at just ¥3,000, but mention Metropolis and get in for half-price. BJM
by Steve Trautlein
Escape prying eyes at this Kabukicho
courtesy of Can Planners
One of the things we love most about the Tokyo nightlife
scene is the popularity of oshinobi dining spots. Carrying
connotations of rendezvous and stealing
away, the word oshinobi, in a dining context, refers
to pubs that have private booths, rooms or alcoves. These
hideaways offer the perfect opportunity for space-deprived
Tokyoites to enjoy a bit of cozy one-on-one.
Bora Bora in Kabukicho is a perfect example of the type. This
fifth-floor dining bar has a slew of snug seating options,
just like its sister pub, Fuunji, which occupies the third
floor of the same building. Bora Boras interior, though,
reminded us less of its namesake tropical island than of a
Japanese design students dream project. Basic materials
dominateparquet floors and walls, tatami-topped seats
and benches, and a pebble-strewn bed under raised alcoves.
Small square shelves, arrayed on the wall of the narrow main
corridor, hold tubular vases bearing quirkily shaped sprigs.
Above, the ceiling consists of bamboo stalks laid across a
bare frame. We were seated at the bar area, which has dozens
of large bottles of sake, and we looked on as the game staff
hustled this way and that.
Further emphasizing the Japanese feel are the more than two
dozen domestically brewed liquors on offer. Ginjoshu and regular
varieties of sake, Ryukyu awamori, umeshu, and alcohol made
from black sugar, wheat and potato all share space on the
Japanese-only menu. And because almost everything is in the
¥650-¥900 range, sampling is definitely rewarded.
We stuck with sake, splurging for a Mayugoromo (¥1,200)
and a Yamahotaru (¥780). The former was fruity, tangy,
and easy to drinkdangerous, considering its 30 percent
alcohol content. The Tantakatan (¥570) was not only fun
to pronounce, but had a pleasant hint of shiso. We also enjoyed
Dai-juichi-damatsuke (¥800) and Bunzou (¥700), two
strong rice wines from Kumamoto Prefecture.
courtesy of Can Planners
Bora Bora's food is Japanese-accented, delicious and cheap. Buta
to nasu daikon no amakarani (¥860) was pretty to look
at, with a tender piece of roast pork buttressing simmered
daikon and strips of grilled eggplant. Delicate toro salmon
carpaccio (¥820) had capers, mayonnaise and mild onions,
while harumaki (spring rolls, ¥800) came slathered with
a rich miso sauceand were the best weve had in
Tokyo. We were leery of the chicken sashimi (¥580), but
after venturing a bite from our friends plate, we couldnt
stop eating the tender meat and its wonderful accompaniment
of hand-grated wasabi. We finished the evening with a marvelously
rich annin dofu (¥580), which came in a cocktail glass
that had a funky misshapen stem.
Judging from Bora Boras location and 5am closing time,
we suspect that the wee hours see hostesses and other Kabukicho
denizens arriving en masse. But during our visit early on
a mid-week evening, the crowd consisted of well-dressed office
workers in their 20s, including couples, small groups, and
a loud party in the semi-detached back room. Lovers filled
the alcoves, and like us, they were thoroughly enjoying the
5F Hashimoto Bldg, 1-6-6 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku.
Tel: 03-5155-3655. Open Mon-Sat 5pm-5am, Sun 5-11:30pm. Nearest stn: Shinjuku, east exit.
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