KUMO Sake & Whisky Bar
The buzz: KUMO Japanese Kaiseki, which offers the dining concept of omakase, has opened sister bar specializing in Japanese booze and bites, just a few doors away.
The décor: It has the works of a traditional Japanese establishment with contemporary touches—a clean-lined, wood-heavy interiors, shoji screen as sliding doors, norens (fabric dividers) hanging on the ceiling and old-school sake barrels placed in front of the bar. The tiny, hole-in-the wall spot sits just about 10 indoors, with bigger tables outside to accommodate another 15 to 20 more customers.
The drinks: Sakes dominate the generous drinks list of over 100 labels. Most types are available, including sparkling and cloudy sakes (from $19 for 300ml), junmai daiginjyo (pure rice wine without added distilled alcohol, from $88 for 720ml), tokubetsu junmai (which uses special rice or a higher polished rice, from $24 for 300ml) and honjozo (which contains a small amount of distilled alcohol, from $21 for 300ml). Whiskey options, despite the bar’s name, are much less comprehensive, with only a handful of labels like Yamazaki (from $14 per glass, $218 per bottle) and Hibiki ($22 per glass, $318 per bottle). For beers, there’s the ever-popular Asahi, Sapporo, Kirin Ichiban and Suntory’s All-Free Beer with 0% alcohol that is perfect for drivers (from $6 per glass). Umeshu, shochu and Japanese wines of the grape varieties are also on the menu (from $8 per glass).
The music: None for that matter, just the chatter of patrons and background noise—great if you’re looking for a relatively quiet spot.
The crowd: Japanese expats and in-the-know local sake connoisseurs, though the bar has also caught the attention of corporate execs working nearby.
Why you’ll be back: Asahi beers are currently going for $6 and selected sake bottles are 20% off. Plus the promo isn’t about to end anytime soon.