A liquor shop, a standing bar, and a casual sit-down grill, Bar Maru is many things to many people. Browse the shelves, and if you find something you like you can crack it open on the spot for a modest Y500 corkage fee. Pop into the tachinomiya next door for a quick drink, or head to the second floor for a more comfortable scene. There are about sixteen wines, including homemade sangria and, in the colder months, hot wine.
Sit down to a glass of Siglio (admittedly no Gran Reserva, but at Y450, who's complaining?) and start grazing on Spanish and Japanese tapas - an array of cured meats, sauteed mushrooms luxuriating in garlicky olive oil, grilled free-range chicken and fresh seafood, all reasonably priced.
Get more serious with a big, bold Cabernet Sauvignon from Israel's Yarden Golan Heights Winery and move on to grilled Iberico pork or entrecote steak. The friendly atmosphere, with its eclectic mix of Shimokitazawa-style hipsters, salarymen, and Hatchobori locals, is as compelling as the food and drink. No English.
by Melinda Joe
This book will introduce you to more than twenty of Japan's favorite specialty foods that are less well known abroad, along with a guide to the best places in Tokyo to try them and expert tips on what to order. From Bento.com.