Saturday, March 27, 2010

Por Tin Tin, Yoyogi Uehara

We all know the stereotype of Japanese people who do something really well, to excess. If you didn't know, that applies to all classes of endeavor - including smoky jazz bars.

Just up the hill on the north side of Yoyogi Uehara (I think it's 'Uehara Ginza'), you'll see a small street on the right, and on that street you'll find all manner of oddities including two Italian restaurants and two jazz bars. This is the better-looking of the jazz bars, and it's nice.

Inside is dark, woody and smoky (depending who you're sitting next to). The room is dominated by a big U-shaped counter crowded with various bartending implements, and around the back of the counter near the bathroom, a turntable. The vinyl collection is on the walls, and the staff periodically take something down and drop it in a bin above the turntable for later play. I presume this is the French-Japanese equivalent of a jukebox, but I didn't ask to play anything. I also didn't see what the amp and speakers were, so I can't comment; the sound seemed adequate, not outstanding. When we came in the platter that mattered was Dave Brubeck's Time Out; a very ordinary choice, but of course a classic. After that I remember some Tommy Dorsey and Nat King Cole, but nothing else.

Drinks - good. For some reason I was drinking gimlets, and they took a while to come because the bartender had to wash, dry and juice a lime each time. Fresh lime juice is one of the best things in the food world (almost up there with maple syrup for me), and thus gimlets, a manly sort of drink despite being small, straight up and fruit-based, are also a strong choice (amusingly, after writing this I googled 'mens cocktails', and the first list that I saw had gimlets at #1. I also have a fondness for Rose's Lime, don't worry.). Other customers were drinking things like Jack from kept bottles.

Service - good. One of those awkward places where they want to speak to you in English, but the interactions are too brief for you get up enough rapport to settle on one language. I talked to mama at the end, and after a few sentences I diagnosed (as she admitted) that she had lived overseas, but some time ago. I recommend going, spending some time, and having a good ol' chat - she was nice, and I bet would be happy to practice some English.

Not sure what any of this has to do with our Franch friend with the dog.

I'm a little proud of myself for forgetting to mention the bill; I would guess based on what I paid that we're looking at Y500 charge, Y1000 drinks, berry normal stuff.

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