Shingo Gokan’s flagship Tokyo bar spent much of 2021 boarded up with a “We regret to inform you…” sign outside. Unlike most bars in the city, though, it wasn’t closed. If you read the sign vertically, in Japanese, it said “We’re open”. Those who figured it out found the three-storey bar as busy as it’s ever been. In the basement, it’s still hard to snag a seat for the head-spinning creativity of head bartender Yuya Nagamine, whose latest creations include the exceptional Wind of Oslo, with its base of shochu, aquavit and condensed beer. A floor above, everyone can find space in the casual bar where long drinks rule, and up top, the once members-only bar is now open to all, with veteran barman Takahiro Watanabe serving drinks to match the various stages of a cigar. These days, Gokan is next door in his new bar-restaurant Swrl, where innovative wine cocktails are poured alongside South American influenced cuisine.