The cozy bar I discovered this time in Kyoto is called Nuestra Casa, or maybe it should be “Casa Nuestra.” I’m unsure as I’ve only taken a Spanish course, and the word order differs from English and other Latin languages. Nonetheless, it’s a rare find in Kyoto – a small, cozy mezcal bar resembling Shinjuku Golden Gai’s style. While strolling along the famous alley Pontocho, we explored a side street to see if anything was interesting to visit. Since dinner was over, we were looking for a place to enjoy a nice drink and a cozy atmosphere on a smaller scale, preferably with an open-air or outside view. In Kyoto, finding such a small bar with an open window serving drinks at night is difficult. Many bars maintain a traditional style and rarely offer outside views. Venturing into these small bars without prior knowledge requires a bit more courage.
Fortunately, we passed by Nuestra Bar and noticed several couples enjoying their drinks inside. Intrigued, we decided to enter and take seats at the counter. Behind the counter, I spotted several Mezcal bottles and some unique skull-shaped bottles, indicating that it was a Mexican bar. Since no menu was available, we approached someone at the counter to ask for recommendations. The bar had excellent ratings on Google reviews and many positive comments from the people sitting at the counter. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy the bar’s renowned quality fully, or maybe I need to be more spoiled. Nevertheless, the atmosphere was charming and cozy, with a comfortable noise level. It would be a perfect spot to have a few drinks during a break from exploring the area. We were not charged a table fee; each drink cost around 1,000 yen. Unlike bars specializing in rare and expensive liquors like Scotch, wines, or Japanese sake, this bar offers a more casual and relaxed experience, perfect for chatting with the people around.
Kyoto has always been full of tourists, which makes things expensive and challenging to access. The limited number of highly-rated places are crowded with visitors worldwide, resulting in long lines everywhere. It feels like Disneyland here, with fans with high expectations and willing to spend their time and money to experience what they have read or heard. And they are here, maybe even more than expected.
I’ve noticed that many more stylish cafes, bars, and shops have started operating to meet the increasing demands of these fans as they overflow the streets of Kyoto. This is probably good news for visitors because they can enjoy better service and a more unique experience. However, it needs to be clarified if locals are happy with this trend, as it brings more people and creates crowds, driving higher prices. If you want to enjoy outings in your town, you must be as financially capable as the incoming tourists.