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 Beau Miller
Slow down and Load up on sake at this rustic bar and grill
|Photos by Nina Uchida
Chez Aburiya was right under our noses. At least
once a week, we pass by its wooden gatesevocative of
the teahouses of Kyotos Gion districtand we never
thought to peek inside. One day, we picked up a meishi from
a nondescript box near the entrance and, curiosity piqued,
called the number to make a reservation. The following Monday,
we slipped through Aburiyas gates for the first time.
We were seated at the single table on the first floor; the
accompanying bar space was already full, and would remain
so until we took our leave. The second and third floors have
more seating, and judging from occasional roars of laughter,
also accommodate parties.
We started off with a bottle of red Italian wine, Lacryma
Christi del Vesuvio (¥2,800/bottle), but if ever there
was a spot to sample sake, this is it. We tried the days
recommended selection, Hideyoshi (¥900), a chilled sake
from Akita Prefecture with a 300-year history. While light
on the tongue, it was unapologetically potent; in other words,
it walked soft but carried a big stick. Following the sake,
we tried a kokutou (black sugar) umeshu (¥650), which
tasted too much like alcoholic prune juice, and then we had
a fantastic barley shochu with jasmine tea extract (¥500).
After a few drinks, the waiter brought out a shichirin for
grilling our food at the table, and in response to our questioning,
almost reluctantly informed us that this particular type of
charcoal, binchoutan, goes for around ¥10,000/kg.
In general, Aburiyas service was not overly attentive
so as to be annoying or bothersome, yet at the same time it
was exceedingly accommodating. For example, for those who
do not eat meat, the standard fish-based otoshi was swapped
for something more suitable.
By the time our initial order of assorted veggies (¥950)
arrived, our stomachs were groaning with anticipation. The
marinade was painted on, we waited impatiently for the colors
to fade to black and, finally, we dined. Superb! Later, we
tried the fried onigiri (¥350), a plate of six or seven
kinds of Japanese mushrooms (¥950), and savory Chinese
garlic fried rice (¥700). We also sampled, three times,
the handmade zaru dofu (¥600)easily some of the
best soy around.
While the quality of Aburiyas food and sake is unquestioned,
we must take minor issue with its Guinness draft
(¥900), which to our disappointment was most certainly
not on tap, and for the itchy, straw seat covers. (Remarked
a friend, These cushions are like Kanyes new workout
Granted, the air got a little smoky from all the barbecuing
going on, but we suppose it only added to the allure of the
rustic wooden interior. It was apparent that Aburiya is not
the type of establishment for a quick bite after work, but
rather somewhere to come to take in the ambience of bamboo,
lanterns and shadows artistically cast upon rows of sake bottles
by glowing coals.
3-12-4 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku.
Nearest stn: Omotesando, exit A4. Menu in Japanese only. Open
Mon, Tue, Sat 5pm-2am, Wed-Fri 5pm-4am, Sun, hols 5pm-midnight
(L.O. one hour prior). Tel: 03-5770-5039. Reservations recommended.
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