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Star Bar, 1-5-13 Ginza, Chuo-Ku, Tokyo, Japan
LET’S HOPE STAR BAR GINZA Hisashi Kishi hasn’t heard about White Lyan - the USP of this place is the ice. Slow frozen to reduce bubbles and other imperfections, blocks are delivered daily, with shapes individually carved for customers as they wait on their cocktails.
The bar is also known for the Infinity Shake - a figure-of-eight movement which rolls the liquid around the ice, creating fine bubbles to lighten alcohol. Here there is advanced cocktail making.
It is this attention to detail that has kept Star Bar at the top of the Tokyo game for almost 15 years. During that time, one Hidetsugu Ueno tended bar and perfected the ice and shaking skills for which he is now famous, but the current crop of ’tenders, led by Kishi have a similarly fastidious approach.
Apparently the inspiration for the bar is the era between the late 19th century and the end of World War II, a rare period of western cultural influence in Japan’s history. The décor is somewhere between Japanese and European style and whisky is the house favourite.
The six staff pride themselves on keeping up with overseas trends, but all the while fusing them with Japanese techniques and ingredients. Yuzu citrus has been a particular favourite recently.
For those bars that have missed out on the list this year, Star Bar is proof that ‘out’ can be a temporary status. It debuted back in 2010, missed three lists, then reappeared this year. We hope this old-timer sticks around for a while longer.