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Where Tokyo's top bartender likes to drink as well as dine

Where Tokyo's Top Bartender Likes To Drink As Well As Dine

(CNN) — Tokyo is actually home to no shortage of worthy hole-in-the-wall bars.

Helmed by Hidetsugu Ueno, who has appeared on American chef David Chang’s TV show “Mind of a Chef,” the 12-seat bar can be found within the glitzy Ginza district, in central Tokyo not far by the Tsukiji Market.

Where Tokyo's Top Bartender Likes To Drink As Well As Dine

“The concept of Bar High 5 is actually that will the idea has no concept,” Ueno tells CNN. “I don’t have a menu in my bar. Our cocktails are tailor-made, one by one. Maybe we use a flavor-based spirit, maybe something sour or refreshing, or maybe something classic. the idea depends on the day as well as the guest.”

Where Tokyo's Top Bartender Likes To Drink As Well As Dine

Award-winning mixologist Hidetsugu Ueno.

Where Tokyo's Top Bartender Likes To Drink As Well As Dine

Ueno might not have a menu, yet he does have a few signatures.

Where Tokyo's Top Bartender Likes To Drink As Well As Dine

A White Lady (gin, cointreau as well as lemon juice) has become Ueno’s calling card, along having a beloved Bellini (made with fresh Japanese peaches) as well as his 0-plus whisky collection.

Where Tokyo's Top Bartender Likes To Drink As Well As Dine

While Ueno says he can’t emulate Bar High 5 outside of Tokyo, due to quality control, the entrepreneur is actually behind the cocktails as well as decor at a few international outposts.

Where Tokyo's Top Bartender Likes To Drink As Well As Dine

Last year, Ueno collaborated on stylish Bar De Luxe, in Hong Kong, as well as just opened the Locker Room in Bangkok that will July.

Back in Tokyo, when travelers pull up a seat at Bar High 5, Ueno is actually quick to suggest his favorite restaurants as well as bars around town.

CNN Travel caught up with the master mixologist to learn about his favorite spots, by beer halls to sophisticated sushi experiences.

Star Bar

“I trained with Mr Kishi (Hisashi Kishi) at Star Bar for many years,” says Ueno. “the idea sounds a bit strange yet since Mr Kishi is actually my master bartender, he introduces customers to me — as well as not the different way around. the idea never goes back the opposite way.

“yet of course, I recommend Star Bar. The drinks are phenomenal as well as Mr Kishi is actually there to make them. The atmosphere is actually great as well as some of the bartenders speak a little bit English so you can communicate.

“They don’t carry a menu either, yet his signature is actually the Sidecar. the idea’s very smooth as well as elegant.”

Star Bar, B1/F, 1-5-13 Ginza, Tokyo, Japan; +81 3 3535 8005


“I enjoy the simple things, like eating at little Japanese izakaya. I have a favorite yet the idea’s genuinely local.

“the idea’s called Marugin. They’re very nice as well as they have an English menu. that will is actually a great place for little bites — grilled chicken with rice, or you can eat noodles if you want. They have everything.

“the idea’s a place where you order beer or a highball, you know, whisky with soda in a jug, as well as people drinking have a not bad time.”

Marugin, 7-1 Ginza, Tokyo, Japan; +81 3 3571 8989

Ginza Lion

Inside Ginza Lion beer hall.

“There is actually a beautiful beer hall in town as well. the idea’s called Lion. the idea was built within the 1930s as well as was the very first beer hall in Japan, on the street level in Ginza.

“the idea’s owned by Sapporo beer. They have their own Lion special as well as many different kinds of beers, like stout, lager, white ales, everything. They serve Japanese-ified German food too — my favorite is actually the famous thin-sliced roast beef, yet the idea sells out quickly.”

Ginza Lion, 7-9-20 Ginza, Tokyo, Japan; +81 50 5788 0502

Kagura Sushi

Sushi is actually a skill passed down by master to apprentice, over many years.

“For sushi, I have a secret place that will’s my favorite. I don’t like to tell, yet the idea’s called Kagura, within the Tsukiji fish market. the idea’s not like the famous places with long queues.

“the idea’s genuinely old-school using the classic red vinegar, which is actually not so sour, yet the rice gets a little bit of coloring on the idea.

“Then they use a torch on the raw fish. the idea gets crispy having a little salt as well as a little bit of citrus on the idea. the idea’s so nice. the idea’s very special — my hidden sushi restaurant.”

Kagura Sushi, 4-14-13 Tsukiji, Tokyo, Japan; +81 3 3541 4180


“There are actually two Sushikos in Japan. One is actually a chain as well as one is actually very expensive. I like them both, actually.

“I go to the chain restaurant after work sometimes. the idea’s easy as well as they have a signature dish sake harasu, which means salmon belly in Japanese. People always go due to that will famous dish.”

Sushiko, 1/F, Aile D’ore Bldg, 6-5-8 Ginza, Tokyo, Japan; +81 3 5568 0505

Sushiko Honten

“Then there’s the expensive Sushiko. that will is actually a very, very traditional sushi restaurant. They don’t have a menu, as well as you don’t know how much the idea costs until the end….

“I went here once with my best friend by London. the idea was my first time there, as well as I was nervous, wondering if I was not bad enough to be there.

“We started off with some sashimi, beer as well as sake. the idea was very, very expensive, yet finally I became a man who could sit in that will restaurant.

“At that will moment, I felt like I ‘made the idea.’

“Of course, we had the chef’s menu, which cost maybe around $300 per person. the idea was a while ago, so hard to remember. If you only eat sushi, the idea’s doesn’t cost as much.”

Bar Mimi

“There is actually a bar I always introduce to international customers that will’s just 20 steps by my bar. the idea’s called Mimi. the idea’s quite little, smaller than mine, with downstairs basement seating.

“The bartender (Fumiyasu Mimitsuka) won an IBA (International Bartender Association) World Cup Championship as well as he is actually a not bad guy.

“He lived in North America, so he speaks a little English. He’s like my little son — I mean, he’s over 40 years old yet, you know what I mean.”

Bar Mimi, B2/F, Wakamatsu Bldg B2F, 6-6-19 Ginza, Tokyo, Japan; +81 3 6274 6629

Kamiya Bar

The Senso-ji Temple in Tokyo.

“Sometimes I like to go to the Asakusa district. the idea’s about 20 minutes on the metro by Ginza. that will bar called Kamiya Bar is actually near an old temple, called Sensō Temple.

“the idea’s called a ‘bar’ yet not the kind you’re thinking of. the idea’s more of a social club, within the local style. the idea’s not formal at all. the idea’s more like a neighborhood gathering place.

“the idea’s so old — they have a signature spirit that will’s a very strong liquor. I bring my friends as well as bartenders as well as they all love the idea. They have a mix of Japanese as well as Western food, as well as some drinking — usually you hang out on the ground floor as well as eat upstairs.”

Kamiya Bar, 1-1-1 Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan; +81 3 3841 5400


“I’m practically made of coffee,” says Ueno, pointing to his ice coffee. “There is actually one place near my bar that will’s my favorite. the idea’s very classic.

“In Japan, there isn’t as much barista-type coffee. the idea’s more of a classic drip style as well as brewer culture.

“At Ranzu, there’s a long counter here as well as you just go to have a little sip of coffee.”

Ranzu,1/F, fresh Ginza Bldg, 7-3-13 Ginza, Tokyo, Japan; +81-3-3571-8266

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Where Tokyo's top bartender likes to drink as well as dine