The ‘library bar’. Two floors, books piled in shelves and out, making walls, nooks, spaces for groups to gather. The space seems much larger than it is because of this, and the black sofas, and the ambient lighting from lampshades and the walls and tables.
The menu is pasted in the books. If you want a cocktail, they will bring you a big basket of whatever fruit they have, and you will say you like something or something else, and they will make something for you.
We sat in the loft, up different stairs, never in flights of more than four. John selected a kiwi; they brought him a kiwi mojito, smooth, herby, sweet. I chose something called a hyōganatsu (ひょうがなつ), some sort of cross between a grapefruit and a mandarin orange. They brought a muddled sour with passionfruit; tangy, bitter, citric, barely tropical.
Then we read the books.
The golden-gai is a small area near Shinjuku station of narrow alleyways with dozens of tiny bars crammed into every available space. Many of them are pretty old, the area is a holdover from what other parts of Tokyo were like ‘back in the day’. It is perfect for bar-hopping and trying out all sorts of different vibes, because many bars have particular themes, decor, and clienteles.
Conveniently around the corner from Dan’s place. We went here after our amazing meal at Kadowaki, also close by. Stupendous bar menu, especially whiskies. Small, sophisticated yet neighbourly, with a great ambiance.