Whisky Magazine Issue 104
This article is 20 months old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.
Copyright Whisky Magazine © 1999-2013. All rights reserved. To use or reproduce part or all of this article please contact us for details of how you can do so legally.
Dave finds himself on the other side of the bar, dispensing wisdom and drams
It's one thing being positioned in front of a bar; it is my default seating you could say.
Being behind the stick once more is a rare occurrence, a thankfully rare one many would say, but when a chance came to dust off those hard-won skills I couldn't resist. What bar-fly could turn down the opportunity to work a bar in Tokyo's Golden Gai?
I've written about this weird republic of Tokyo bars before, but for those of you who were asleep at the back, Golden Gai is a former red-light district in Shinjuku which now contains in excess of 200 bars compressed into the space of a city block. That means that they are small, even by Tokyo standards, but I was delighted to discover that my bar was full to bursting with six punters downstairs and the same number in the loft. I squeezed behind the bar, popped on a mix of George Jones, The Band, The Dead and Kathleen MacInnes on the iPod, and began dispensing drams and chat.
The punters were, as you might expect, an eclectic mix: bloggers, geeks, bartenders, locals and gaijin. Among them was an impressivelybearded Norwegian called Halvor who I could tell instantly knew his way around my side of the premises: the raised eyebrows as I tried to dispense snacks and position the correct bottle in front of the right drinker spoke volumes.
He began telling me of his bar in Oslo called Fuglen [www.fuglen.no] which operates as a topend coffee house (though not in the Dutch sense) during the day, then transforms itself into a bar at night. What'...