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.
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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.