Here is the perfect spot to feel the nostalgia of the late Showa period in Japan or around the late 1970s to 1980s, with its antique-style interior, slightly lit by the light above on the counter. Old-time music aired, slowly shaking the space. Nowadays, you can hardly find a place in Tokyo such as here, since we keep demolishing the old and replacing them with the new for the sake of, maybe, protecting the city from natural disasters like earthquakes.

This bar, Kuro, is known to many travelers from overseas. It makes sense at a glance when entering here by noticing many pinned notes on the wall behind it. It was run by a lady who started this bar and created this fantastic place but unfortunately passed away a few years ago. Fortunately, her will is carried on by her son to keep running the bar, and the buzz you hear from the counter bar never stops.

I came to a stop at the bar because of the loudly playing music that came out of the bar to outside. It was the melody of an old song. I do not remember exactly what it was, but anyway, it made me curious enough to check inside the bar. Probably for many, the courage it takes one to go in is higher because you cannot see the inside even though the door is wide open. It is dark and black; by the way, in Japanese, “kuro” means black.

the bar kuro in golden gai

At that time, I was kind of into the melody of Ishihara Yujiro, a big star in the late Showa period, and listened frequently to his songs and watched his movies. In those days, the leading actor in the film was also a good singer. Many of his famous pieces come from the movie in which he played a leading role. So I used to ask her to play his songs. Now, the melody is a bit forgotten, and fans are limited to the older generation. However, sometimes I see in the younger folks, usually the ones who engage in some music, like listening to old melodies, some of which I have never heard of.

Yujiro Ishihara (1934-1987) was an absolute star in the Showa period.
Old Crow is my favorite to drink here.

For such a place like here, Old Crow is the best drink. The oldest bourbon with ice on your glass is a perfect match. Its history goes back to the age of the Civil War in the United States, and General Ulysses S. Grant loved it. When served on the counter, the golden liquid shines like amber and seems to mirror and recall the scenery of forgotten days.

The bar Kuro is located in the Golden Gai district. Follow the passage called Ichiban-gai. It’s next to a parking lot. Look for the black door. (Kuro in Japanese means “black,” although the bar name Kuro is written in different Chinese characters, so it means something else.) There is no cover charge and cash on delivery.  

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