Friday, April 23, 2010

Tanakaya, Mejiro

Sure, I feel just a touch guilty posting a post that's only about a liquor store. But I did buy something there, and I will consume it, so I hope you'll agree it's fare gayme (squire).  Besides which, it must be the best liquor store in Tokyo. Or Japan. It's a payle shadow of the liquor stores in America, which is funny because I think the Japanese drink more than Americans (cf abundant public transportation), but when you live in Tokyo you take what you can get.And this would be a great store anywhere in the world.

Tanakaya conveys their seriosity with a couple of these lit box displays on the way down the stairs to their unobtrusive layre. This one's for uisge, there's another for beere, and yet a third is for something that I cainte remember.

When you enter, you're immediately assaulted by the smell of bare wood (my immediate thought was 'acoustic guitar store', but I don't think many of you will think that), and shortly thereafter begin the process of flabbergastation when you see how much stuff there is.

The wine selection is in a separate room and I think is more of the 'carefully chosen' variety rather than the 'encyclopedic' variety (as confirmed later by the owner of the restaurant where I ate, "It's amazing how everything they have is good."). Anyway, carefully chosen beats encyclopedic any day of the week, and it's still as big a selection as many other stores. The only thing that could be described as mediocre is the sake and shochu selection, but I bet those are carefully chosen also - the only thing I recognized was something from a smaller producer that I like a lot.

If one thing in the store could be said to be encyclopaedic, it would be the whiskey selection. You may know that that's of no use to me. What is of use is the beer selection - presented here is probably 2/3 of it. As I always say, if this doesn't excite you, you've stumbled into the wrong blog. Their breadth is divided between American, European and Belgian selections, with a large section devoted to large-bottle Belgians. And the prices are eminently reasonable.

I can't see that any more prose is needed. I've never seen or heard of another place like this in Japan.

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