Monday, June 21, 2010

Ginza Shennanigans - Star Bar Tokyo, Japan

Working hard is pretty much the norm in Tokyo town. Locals work real hard but they party even harder. Walking around Ginza around 11pm at night, you wouldn't be hard pressed to see a few of the suits curled over a gutter spilling out the 10 bottles of Sake drunk only half an hour earlier. We thought that it would only be fitting if we tried to do as the Japanese do and find a bar and do the same.

The really cool thing that we found about Japan was that it was really easy to find little bars. Bars are everywhere you could think of. In side streets; up stairs, down stairs, lane-ways and everywhere else they can be squeezed in. Wandering around Ginza one evening we decided to check out a bar that a friend from Aus. had suggested - Star Bar. Having looked it up and plugged in to the Iphone GPS we were on our way. Meandering down a lane and past what was pointed out to be a massage parlour, we eventually found Star Bar which was marked by a plaque on a wall.
Descending down a set of stairs we set foot back in time. Jazz music, mahogany furniture, bartenders with bow ties and suspenders, it was pretty old school. In an old school bar we thought it was fitting to have some classic cocktails so we settled for a martini. Trying to strike up a conversation with the bartender, we ended up discovering that he was a friend of Sydney's Tetsuya. After discovering we were from Australia he produced an issue of Gourmet Traveller magazine where he was featured. (Read the article here) Apparently Hisashi Kishi (the owner of Star Bar) is a world champion bartender and ice cutter who happened to be more than happy to put his skills on display for us on the night.

It was a very exciting experience as it was something we had never seen before. We've never given much thought to ice here when having a drink, however Hisashi explained that cutting and carving ice was a dying skill among bartenders as of late. He grabbed a big block of what he told us was pure Japanese ice, as clear as glass. He grabbed a tool kit from underneath the bar and opened it revealing a series of different sized knifes.
He grabbed the biggest knife and a mallet. Using the mallet on the knife he cut this ice block in half perfectly. With more of the pieces he cut from the block he proceeded to carve a cube and then an ice sphere. We thought that there would be nothing better than to have a drink with what was world championship quality carved ice. I settled on a 25 year old Japanese whisky and Gianna had a Spanish port. It was truly one of the most standout experiences and I would recommend anyone visiting Tokyo to stop past Star Bar and have a drink.

Star Bar, Sankosha Building B1F, 1-5-13 Ginza, Chuo-ku,Tokyo; 81-3-3535-8005


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