They also have a Whisky drinking culture at home and Whisky bars are massively popular, especially those serving Highballs. Highballs are the cocktail of choice for serious Whisky drinkers in Japan.
Here we take a closer look at several bars in and around Tokyo where you can find the best tipple in the city.
1. BrillantCapturing the Japanese culture of hospitality perfectly is Brillant Bar, found in the Keio Plaza Hotel. They have a broad selection of drams, with some little known and rarer malts that you probably won’t have come across before.
They also provide a “keep a bottle” service. This means you can leave an unfinished bottle of Whisky with the bar and come back the next day to enjoy it. A great way to bring customers in but also to make their stay worth it.
2. Old Imperial BarThe atmosphere at the Old Imperial Bar is amazing. Located in the Imperial Hotel, this bar is stylish and interesting. It’s a really easy-going place to enjoy a dram, with lots of amazing décor and a vintage feel that goes well with the drams they serve.
The Old Imperial Bar, our main bar, features Oya stone and the terracotta walls used in the 1923 Main Building of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Imperial. #imperialhoteljp #imperialhotel #帝国ホテル #imperialhoteltokyo #帝国ホテル東京 #ginza #tokyo #東京 #japan #oldimperialbar #bar #franklloydwright
The Whisky behind the bar is varied, with some older editions that aren’t very common. Definitely worth a visit, especially to soak up the feel of the place, but be sure to bring your wallet - a night out here doesn’t come cheap!
3. Nikka Blender’s BarPacked with all of the Nikka expressions you could ever hope to encounter, this bar, located at the brand’s head office, is a treasure trove of Whisky. Nikka are one of the two biggest names in Japanese Whisky, with the other being Suntory. If you want to know more about the brand, then this is the place to head.
The bartenders know everything there is to know about Nikka and Whisky, and you even have the chance to blend your own. The atmosphere is lively and exciting, really drawing people in and making them feel welcome.
4. Bar UrushiA well-hidden gem in the crown of Japanese Whisky bars, Bar Urushi may not be easy to find but is worth it when you do. They stock lots of local expressions and some incredible drams.
The feel of the place is cosy but intriguing. Urushi is fairly typical of many Japanese drinking places, if you can find them and is a great bar to experience what its really like to drink Whisky in Japan.
5. Bar TsurukameAnother bar with a sophisticated, broody atmosphere, this is the place to head if you want to feel cool drinking your Whisky. The prices aren’t bad either, and there is no entrance fee or table fee to pay.
They have a wide range of old favourites and some rarer malts, so there is plenty of choice. If you’re looking for somewhere mellow but interesting, with a lot of character and lots to choose from, then this is perfect.
As you can see there are many options when it comes to Japanese Whisky bars, from high to low tempo and everything in between.
What is your favourite Japanese Whisky bar near where you live? Have you been to others in Tokyo not listed here? Let us know!