A bar dipped in warm light, the sound of a cocktail shaker in the background, and a nice glass of delicious whisky in your hand - this is the general image that pops into people's mind when talking about "going out in Ginza". For decades, the area has had a reputation for being upscale and classy, the perfect place to go to enjoy good spirits as well as laid-back conversations on a high level. We've found the three bars that represent this image best.
A Drink and a Chat with the Bartender
The owner of Star Bar Ginza was the first Japanese contestant to win the IBA World Cocktail Competition in the Longdrink category. The calm, classy atmosphere isn't only created by the elegant interior but also by the charming bartenders who make for excellent conversational partners - each and every one of them has really interesting and unique stories to tell. This laid-back, welcoming atmosphere has earned the bar many a fan.
A Fruity Cocktail to Refresh Mind and Soul
Our special recommendation when visiting Star Bar Ginza is a gin-based fruit cocktail made with ripe, juicy oranges from Kochi Prefecture: Little Summer, or konatsu in Japanese, to be enjoyed for 1,870 yen. The subtle sourness of Little Summer goes excellent with the sharp dryness of the gin, making for an extraordinarily delicious taste. Despite the ripe oranges, Little Summer isn't too much on the sweet site and thus a great choice for everyone without a particularly strong sweet tooth. Besides this cocktail, evergreens such as Gimlet or Manhattan are of course also on the menu.
Star Bar Ginza スタア・バー・ギンザ
- Address Sankosha Bldg. B1F, 1-5-13 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo-to 104-0061
A Vast Space Evoking the Spirit of Imperial Hotel's Good Old Days
The Old Imperial Bar inside the same-named Imperial Hotel is built in the very same style of the previous main building of the hotel, thus conveying a nostalgic, elegant atmosphere to enjoy a drink in. Nineteen large, comfortable chairs invite guests to lean back and relax as early as 11 a.m. and from morning until night, these chairs are never empty - hotel guests as well as regular customers frequent the Old Imperial Bar all around the clock.
Japan's Most Famous Mountain in a Cocktail Glass
The recommendation for the Old Imperial Bar is a recipe that has been passed down from the original Imperial Hotel: Mount Fuji, to be savored for 1,630 yen.
The gin base is enhanced with cherry liqueur and pineapple juice, then shaken with raw cream and egg white, creating the characteristic refreshing sweetness of the drink as well as the pleasantly bubbly, creamy feel on the tongue. Served with a cherry, the drink evokes the image of the sun rising behind a snow-covered Mount Fuji. This original recipe, passed down for over a hundred years, is particularly popular with the bar's many international visitors and a warm recommendation to every guest of the Old Imperial Bar.
Old Imperial Bar オールドインペリアルバー
- Address Imperial Hotel, Tokyo, Main Bldg. 2F, 1-1-1 Uchisaiwaicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo-to 100-8558
A Classic Bar Run in the Second Generation
The Bar Miura was founded in 1977 and is now run in the second generation, by the son of the original founder. The atmosphere of this bar is what one can only describe as a place for classy socializing. Kazutsugu Miura, who is both owner and bartender, creates each and every cocktail exactly as the customer asks for it. The original founder, Yuzo Miura, is said to be on active duty behind the counter more often than not as well.
These different generations aren't only represented by the two owners but also by the regulars of The Bar Miura - the place is frequented by a large variety of people, ranging from 20 to 80 years of age.
A Rich Repertoire of More Than 150 Drinks
While The Bar Miura doesn't have a fixed menu, the bartenders will mix whatever cocktail their guests desire from a repertoire of about 150 different spirits. One of the bar's most popular classics is the watermelon cocktail, or suica cocktail in Japanese, to be enjoyed for 1,512 yen. Especially during the hot summer months, this is a refreshing and delicious choice.
The watermelon is freshly prepared and shaken after the initial order. The fresh fruit pulp is so rich, one can hardly call it "drinking" when savoring the cocktail, one rather eats it.
The Bar Miura ザ バーみうら
- Address Marugen No.15 Bldg.7F, 6-5-11 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo-to 104-0061