Tokyo is a paradise of many sorts – retail, fashion, cuteness and craziness – beside all this fabulousness it also excels in presenting a very cultivated drinking cultures in thousands of bars, probably the best ones in the whole world. But these bars are small, hosting only up to 6 or 8 people at a time. A cozy atmosphere that transforms strangers into friends easily. The good places are hard to find, don't go looking for them on a main street, unless there's one located on the 37th floor between two buildings. The darker the alley the better the bar.
The beauty about japanese bars is their sense of refinement, every single glass is carefully chosen and ice cubes are individually carved by hand into flawless round balls. There's even no need for conversations as your jaw usually is busy dropping every few minutes at yet another fine detail in a japanese drinking establishment.
My dearest bar in Tokyo is the Lucky Panda. It's hidden in a backstreet that served me for cutting my walk to work short and I passed this gem of a place countless times before I dared to enter. A lucky encounter indeed and on my first visit it felt more home than home. The man running this place is fully devoted to the cause of fine drinking. Besides caribbean women, this bar is his sole passion. Prices for drinks remain a mystery and the owner rather estimates each visit freely, probably taking into account how much fun the patrons had. A few hours in the Lucky Panda will open every pair of eyes to the beauty of Japans drinking culture. On a visit to Tokyo my multitalented friend Nico Nuzzaci agreed and took the fantastic shots below. "Sumimasen, Hibiki on the rocks please."