...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, October 2, 2017

An intro to the great Malt Bar South Park

I missed out on a LOT of bars during my second trip to Japan. Basically all the ones that were recommended to me. (Sorry!) There were other reasons, very personal ones, behind the trip and those took priority over whisky on most days.

But there was this one bar...

I went there twice. It's not in a traffic heavy section of Tokyo. And unlike America's Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants arenas that can be spotted from a quarter-mile away, this Nakano bar was hidden. But not hipster-speakeasy-hidden. Instead it's modest. Nothing flashy in its entry way to steal your attention.

You have to look for the whisky bottles lined up not far from the sidewalk. Follow them to a steep concrete stairway — which is something to consider before one starts drinking, seriously — and then you'll see this:

When I saw this part of the sign...
...I thought, "Boy, I could get comfortable here."

And then I opened the door, looked within, and thought, "Boy, I could get comfortable here."

Malt Bar South Park was spotless. Like, not a mote of dust on a single bottle. There were about 10 or 12 seats, a pair of which were occupied in each corner. The tall, stately chief bartender Fujita Satoshi sported a vest and a crisp unwrinkled (like unearthly so) shirt.

It has taken me five years to craft the Pandora station that I use only for whisky tasting. Somehow, Malt Bar South Park has lifted it. I mean, every single song...

And then, you know, the whisky. Whiskybase says the bar has 1000+ bottles. That's probably a safe guess. I have no idea. It's a lot. It is, as someone else described, a library.

I was not expecting this. A strategy was needed.

Fujita-san helpfully handed me a small menu which awoke me to the fact that the entire bar counter was neatly lined two-deep with Cadenhead's bottles. There were, in fact, 139 of these current Cadenhead bottles to choose from. And the prices were, again, very reasonable.

While I was lost in Cadenheaven, Fujita-san placed a plate of excellent fruits, nuts and dark chocolate in front of me. Having recently completed an excellent Ben Nevis tasting at Highlander Inn Tokyo, I spied a way to begin...