Sumptuous is the word for the Mandarin Bar at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Nihonbashi. The interior by Ryu Kosaka, with richly tactile accents by textile designer Reiko Sudo, is chic and inviting, dominated by seductive earth tones. The scale of everything here, from the bathtub-sized chairs with gargantuan cushions to the fireplace that stretches nearly two floors to the ceiling, feels playfully large. The bar itself is rather spacious, with two main seating areas on either side of the central bar.
The extensive drinks menu - the wine list is its own separate tome - features original, mostly fruity, cocktails from Y1800. The Ancient City, a blend of tequila, Cointreau, and passion fruit, lacked impact but was greatly improved by an additional shot of tequila. There are flavored martinis to suit everyone's fancy, but the classic and dirty martinis (Y2100) can't be beat.
Malt whiskey by the glass (Y1995 - Y4000) and bottles of sake like Okunomatsu 88 Tokubetsu Junmai-shu (Y5040) and Tatsuriki Junmai Ginjo (Y12,600) are also available. Snacks from adjacent restaurants Sense and Signature can be ordered until 11:00.
The Mandarin Bar fills up after 8pm, so you may have to wait for a table. A live jazz band performs nightly for the relaxed and casual crowd, a mix of locals and visitors. No cover charge.
by Melinda Joe