This tiny wine bar occupies a sliver of space in the basement of an easily overlooked building, one minute away from Nakano station. It's a counter-only affair, and despite the close quarters, Navel is a relaxing place to enjoy a couple of drinks and a bite to eat. Around ten wines are available by the glass (Y300-), and selections change daily. There's no wine list, but the friendly and knowledgeable bartender will recommend one for you based on your preferences.
Like the bar itself, the food menu is small, but all of the dishes are reasonable (Y399-) and nicely done. Tasty snacks like homemade sausage patties, melted Camembert cheese, and grilled seafood are prepared on a diminutive iron griddle behind the counter.
In addition to wine, there is a large selection of distilled spirits - from single malts to unaged corn whiskey, and a range of eaux de vie. If you understand Japanese and you're curious about the difference between Cognac and Armagnac, tequila and mescal, or grappa and marc, this is a good place to ask. The bartender will be happy to expound on the topic.
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.