Absolutely a fantastic bar in Ebisu, “The Bar”is found inside the Westin Hotel in Tokyo, which sits next to Sapporo’s shopping complex, the Ebisu Garden place. The name “Ebisu” is a premier brand of Sapporo” beer lineup, and the company was operating a beer factory here since 1887 (and until 1988), and the station was made initially to ship beer by railway, the town was also named after the beer brand. The entire area basically originates from the beer making history of Sapporo. And now this place has transformed itself to one of the most fashionable shopping complexes in Tokyo, which accommodates not only a shopping complex but also cinema, sports club, museum, fancy restaurants including one nominated by Michelin, corporate buildings and the hotel Westin, all in one location.
One fascinating thing about this bar is it opens from 11:00 AM, rarely find the bar opens so early in day time. One thing I learn lately is a joy to drink under the sun, which was rarely the case before. Somehow here in Japan it is still uncommon to drink from the mid of day, and it is not even suggested to have a drink on your business meetings. I have learned about this bar, and that it opens from the morning, from a whisky “afficionado”I met at my frequently visiting bar. I was so missing an opportunity of drinking a dram in daylight, so I came to visit here quite soon after I got to know the good news.
The Bar is a quite authentic styled one, and there you have nice counter seats, and the tables you can sit with a group by the big wide window facing to inner garden of the hotel. I assume here is not only visited by hotel guests, but also visitors who come for meeting or dating. I came around lunchtime, and on the counter sits only one person in a nice business costume, seemingly came for some appointment. All others were also in nice attires and enjoying conversation in each table, quite fancy atmosphere here that perfectly blending in with the lobby lounge and restaurant of the hotel outside bar, which look also gorgeous. The bartender was very nice and charming, a real professional, and supports all your needs. After taking a seat on the counter stool, and I was provided with menu for whiskies, looked up all pages, everything sited clearly including price, so I was quite comfortable to ask one which I feel right to start. I wanted to have a Scotch blend with an ice, and try something new to me, so I chose “Scallywag,” a Speyside blended malt from Douglas Laing.
A very nice dram, fruity and rich aroma. While observing around the bar and checking bottles on the shelf, I was offered a set of nuts and dried fruits to go with the whisky, and it was a perfect match. Quite many Scotch single malt bottles from distillers and bottlers, the bartender who attended me told that they have more than 400 bottles in total, which is quite a lot, I guess, among bars you find in hotel.
Next stuff I went for, and I was kind of looking for, was the hotel’s original bottle from Ichiro’s, which was blended of its own single malt with finest whiskies from Scotland, Ireland, Canadian, and American. My first impression of this was “matured American (bourbon).”
Quite mellowly texture like that reminds of typical aged Japanese whisky, sweet, and a long-lasting note of honey or berry-kind. This is one from a single selected cask and I heard that they have made around 200 bottles or so. I am not sure how many they have left in their stock, but I was quite fortunate to have more than 1 shot amount, because the bottle I had was about to finish and I was served all left in the bottle.
This bar is recommended for all who would like to enjoy whisky in a fancy place, and especially from daytime. I do not come up with any other proper bars (maybe there some cafes or restaurants provide whiskies but with a few choices) here in Tokyo, where you can have nice drams in daylight. Of course, this bar is very fantastic in all senses, and you can come and visit any time in any occasions. Ebisu Garden Place also provides options for eating, entertainment, and shopping, so you can easily arrange schedule to have a good time in this neighborhood, too.