Saturday, September 19, 2009

Flaneur Cafe, Gaienmae

After learning that there IS one decent Mexican restaurant in Japan, it was still early. We elected to find a cafe and/or bar, and started walking in the general direction of Gaienmae. Somewhere along the way we ran across Cafe Flaneur, which is the kind of place that makes city living so nice. Tokyo style.

You'd probably want to call this an art cafe - when we were there, they had an exhibit of photographs spread over the top two floors. To top it off, they were celebrating Saturday night by having the photographers come in and curate a space for the evening, which meant in practice that two guys had a DJ setup on the second floor and were playing their musical selections loudly through a big pair of JVC studio monitors (which, if you're wondering, sounded pretty upper-midrangey and harsh like all JVC monitors are reputed to. Either that or the DJ board they were using.). I though initially that it was a Beatles remaster listening party, because when we walked through the second floor, and the rows of customers in chairs listening intently, the song was 'Your Mother Should Know'. It quickly got into weirder territory though, with a lot of Philip Glass-like stuff on strings.

It's this kind of place. You saw the green velvet stool and climbing plants above - these were just a little alcove at the top of the stairs. The third floor was a mix of roughly-finished walls, leather bench seats, vintage upholstered chairs, and auxilliary speakers gently replicating the music from the middle level. Individual lamps provided a nice, homey feel.

The other main design element at the moment is these dried plant installations, which I think were also done by the photographers. Very reminiscent of Andy Goldsworthy (right down to the fact that they used a lot of arch shapes), but a bit less extreme since they had just stuck everything together with wire. Still, it was a bit like drinking in a forest. A very stylish forest.

Oh, and eating. Just a nibble. Bread pudding. Kinda good.

Seems like they don't want you to call them. Just stop by - open until 11:30 with last order at 11. I think they'll have a seat for you.

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