At first glance Eight Base looks like your typical prefectural antenna shop. There's a retail section up front selling crafts, produce and drinks from Aomori Prefecture, with a small dining area in the back where you can sample local dishes.
On closer inspection though, you might notice that the sake list is much deeper than you'd expect from this sort of shop. Several well-chosen premium Aomori brands - Mutsu-Hassen, Momokawa, Hachitsuru, Kikukoma and Jokuu - are represented by five or six varieties each, so you can easily put together your own tasting flights to compare them all.
The food menu seems to play a supporting role to the sake, with simply prepared dishes based on local ingredients like mackerel, horsemeat and Takkogyu beef. We enjoyed several dishes made from Shamo Rock chicken - a local hybrid of shamo (a bird bred for fighting) and Plymouth Rock chickens. The tsukune was especially good, as were the ringo-tsukune (pickled apples), both of which go very well with sake.
One nice thing about the antenna-shop format is that it's more casual than a typical izakaya, so you can just drop in for a few drinks and snacks and then be on your way. Food and drink are reasonably priced, with sake starting at Y500 per glass or Y1,000 for an ichigo flask. Most lunches are Y950-1,300.
If you're wondering about the name, the shop was set up to promote a district in the southeast of Aomori called Hachinohe-keniki, which comprises eight small towns and villages. You can inspect some of the local crafts in the retail shop, and bring home sembei crackers and fresh garlic from the area, and of course sake.
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.