The J-Pop version of the famous Bob Marley tune sounds over the ipod speaker thanks to impromptu DJ Tanaka san, a salaryman from Suita. It’s half nine and we shuffle past a group of businessmen to the remaining three spots in the back of a bar the size of an SUV. We have entered the world of the Tachinomiya.
Tachinomiya are standing bars that service hardworking Japanese for a quick drink and a bite to eat on the way home (or on the way to another Tachinomiya). Drinks are generally inexpensive (partially due to cheaper taxes on bars with no seats) and each place has its own personality – generally a reflection of the owners that run these establishments.
Tanaka san has just been called home by his wife and luckily so has his ipod, quickly replaced by the cool tunes of the barman.
You wouldn’t really call the DandeLion über cool but there is a certain something about the recycled panelling that lines the walls and ceiling and the pretty serious selection of whisky curated by the owner Mr Nakayama.
DandeLion’s snacks range from de riguer edamame to avante-garde ‘sidewalk smoked family cheese’ and the bartender can even rustle up a cocktail for the ladies at short notice.
Earlier in the evening we had the pleasure of visiting Gyutora. I say pleasure because even on a cold rainy night leaning space is at a premium. The atmosphere is boisterous fuelled by an excellent sake list and excellent hospitality. If you can’t find bar space, don’t despair just wait (very) patiently outside you’ll be able to score a table when someone gets the “call” from home.
Due to the overwhelming success of his two other bars, Nakayamasan has recently opened a wine bar called Cave Rosetta. Cave Rosetta offers what I hope will become a countrywide trend – a completely non-smoking establishment.
Now if you think I’m going to share the exact location of this trio of bars think again. The regulars (me included) rely on their favourite Tachinomiya to unwind before going home and leaning posts are in short supply. If you want to find a great Tachinomiya just remember not all good things are on Google. So when you’re next in Japan step outside of your comfort zone, wander the alleyways and discover the local offerings on the roads less travelled.
Of course if we find ourselves together of a dusty night in Osaka, I might just take you there for a drink.