Stand-Up Bars a Rising Trend in the Land of the Rising Sun

Stand-Up Bars a Rising Trend in the Land of the Rising Sun

Food & Drink

Stand-Up Bars a Rising Trend in the Land of the Rising Sun

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By Cari Martens

I’ve never much enjoyed dining in those airport food bars with high tables and no chairs. I guess there’s more room for your luggage, but it’s definitely an eat-and-run experience.

Apparently the Japanese don’t mind standing around in crowded bars. One of the hot new trends in central Tokyo is the tachinomi bar. These standing-only bars serve reasonably priced food and drinks with customers standing around or often leaning against the bar or wall.

There are upwards of 600 tachinomi bars in Tokyo today, compared to only about 150 back in the ’90s.

One of the most popular tachinomis is a motsuyaki (roast giblets) bar named Ishii, which has the slogan ‘Nihon saisei sakaba,’ which literally means ‘a bar that will revitalize Japan.’ (An overpromise, perhaps?) This bar is usually packed with customers dining and drinking at the counter or around metal barrels placed around the room.

Why the popularity of the tachinomi? Well, space certainly comes at a premium in Tokyo. That’s undoubtedly one reason. Some say it’s the affordable prices that keep people coming back during these recessionary times. Patrons can ‘wine and dine without breaking the bank’ as one bar manager put it.

The standing-only protocol leads to a relaxed and welcoming ambiance, customers say. Another man notes that the small space and proximity to other customers makes it easy to strike up conversations with complete strangers, so it’s a good place to meet people.

It will be interesting to see if this stand-up trend works its way across the ocean to the U.S. where we’re famous for enjoying La-Z-Boys and other forms of seated comfort.

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