In the middle of the train wreck that is Roppongi, where the women dress scantily and the men freely catcall, there is a small alley way and an iron gate protecting an entrance to an ivy covered wooden door that swings open only with a security card.
A security card? Really? I wondered, as my host hits her card and we head down into the basement.
At the bottom of the stairs a young man in a crisp white shirt and bow tie greets us and escorts us into the room revealing a lair resembling an extra large sitting room filled with dark oak furniture, bookshelves and cushy chairs. Rows of whiskey, bourbon and cigar boxes line the bar. It is smokey and dark but I can make out well dressed couples at the tables, gentlemen in tailored suits sit at the bar, the conversation level a mere murmur and it feels like I’ve stepped into the private home in a New England estate. I can’t help but gawk.
“The master (head bartender/owner) is an expert in smoking foods” my host says, as she curls into one of the padded chairs.
I want to know everything about this place and the man but it’s only my first visit. Unraveling the depths will most likely take a while because this is Japan. Where everything takes time and double the effort…
*The name is withheld because I don’t know the name.