Tokyo can be overwhelming for the uninitiated. The cacophony of the megalopolis, its neon lights and endless sea of human traffic are enough to piss you off. But there is great beauty beyond the chaos.
Of course, in most cities, at the end of most days, you will need a drink. Lucky for you, we found something off the tourist guidebook. Hidden behind the back streets of Nishi-Azabu is These Library Lounge (pronounced “teh–zeh”), a gloriously quiet bar that’s been a neighbourhood secret since 1999.
Tokyo’s Hidden Snug
It is the watering hole of choice for discerning imbibers and professional bartenders alike, and it takes you by surprise even when you most expect it. It’s a great find for quality drinks and conversation.
Time slows as you enter. Get there early and let your eyes adjust — the bar is dark in the best possible way. The ambience is charming and borderline mystical; lit by soft amber point lights and backed by dark wooden panelling, retro leather couches and sliding shelves of books and knick-knacks. It is almost as though you’ve been invited into someone’s old study to ponder over life and a good glass of whisky.
At These Library Lounge, there is, of course, more than just whisky. The space offers an entire host of tipple, including beer, wine, champagne and the stiffer stuff like French apple brandy and Cognac. And if you’re in the mood for a cocktail, the bartender will present you with a basket of fruit. Take your pick and he can create something as unique out of say, persimmon, and tea-infused vodka. The classics are just as good.
Consider this a fair warning though. The food here is equally stellar — get the quesada or curry — and in good company, These is the kind of bar you could lose yourself in. So much you’d wish that time stood still.
These Library Lounge is located at Quartet Building 1F, 2-15-12 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 106-0031 Japan. Book a table via the Keyyes Membership App
Opening image: A peek into These Library Lounge. Photography by Shinsuke Matsukawa