Tonight, after a delicious teppanayaki dinner somewhere in Central Tokyo, living a Travelife, we headed to a whiskey bar at the Palace Hotel Tokyo for a nightcap.
I don't really drink hard alcohol, but it was a good place to continue talking as this was a very nice and intimate bar with not too many people.
Scroll down to read more...
We sat at the counter right in front of a very impressive selection of all the whiskeys in the world.
Meanwhile at one end sat a middle-aged lady drinking by herself. The bartender was basically talking to her.
GOOD AT MIXING DRINKS
AND LISTENING TO PEOPLE
After observing them for a few minutes, I whispered: "I guess if you're a good bartender, you need to also be part pyschologist."
In Japan, it's quite common for people to drink alone at a bar, you see, and a good bartender is almost like a companion -- especially in an upscale bar that isn't too busy.
SECRET TO SUCCESS
My own dinner companion replied: "The trick is to give a good one-liner every so often. This is really important."
I looked at him questioningly.
I had very little experience -- either with bars, bartenders or drinking alone. I don't even go with groups to a bar.
I so much prefer one-on-one dinners where you can simultaneously have good food and honest-to-goodness communication -- conversations don't have to be edited for other people if there's only two of you around.
For groups, my magic number is at most a party of three or four.
And I generally don't drink unless there's a very good reason to do so -- like a great bottle of wine, a celebration, a moment in an enjoyable holiday, or a restaurant or destination experience that just won't be complete without some champagne.
Without any of the above, I'd rather have sparkling water.
ONE LINE DETERMINES EVERYTHING
He explained further: "I know this, because even I listen carefully to the one-liner that a bartender gives, when I'm at a bar. The good bartender doesn't say much, but he must know when to time his one-liner and exactly what to say."
We continued to observe the dynamics between the lady and the bartender until she finally went home.
This was when my companion added: "You'll be surprised how many Japanese women go to bars by themselves. The other day, at XXX Bar, there was a lady seated alone in the next table, and she drank four glasses of champagne straight, and then paid and walked away."
TOKYO'S ULTIMATE BAR
|This isn't XXX Bar, but the bar we went to tonight...|
The bar in question is a very famous, old-fashioned bar.
It's the bar that business tycoons go to meet their friends, or to take their geisha girlfriends. You've got to be a big shot in Tokyo to be a regular at this XXX Bar.
I've only been there a couple of times, and it's been at lunch for their famous hamburgers and club sandwiches. And even at lunch, it's a very high-powered and conservative business place.
Meanwhile, the bar we went to tonight didn't have this kind of social pressure, although it has a very good reputation as it's a refurbished version of a very old and respectable favorite.
Although I'm not "a bar person," I have to admit that this was a very nice way to end another wonderful evening in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.
TRAVELIFE MAGAZINE on Facebook