Asano Nihonshuten
Hamamatsucho: Liquor shop
Asano Nihonshuten (Hamamatsucho: Liquor shop)
Asano Nihonshuten
Open noon-10pm daily.
Sun: Open Sundays

A combo sake retailer and standing bar, Asano is a great place to try before you buy, with more than 130 different sakes in stock. Or you can just drop in for a quick tasting flight and perhaps discover some new favorites. Everything here is ready to taste, in sensible 45ml pours so you can try a few at a time.

Sake tastes better with food, and Asano offers a well-prepared selection of snacks to go with your drinks, featuring sake-friendly items like smoked duck, iburi-gakko (smoked daikon pickles), and miso with roast leeks.

If you'd prefer a more guided experience, you can choose from two different special tasting flights each month. These showcase three different styles from the same brewery, with three 45ml glasses plus a small snack priced at Y1,300.

If you're putting together your own flight, prices start at Y340 per 45ml glass, or Y500 for 90ml. (Higher-priced premium bottles are marked with colored stickers corresponding to prices on the menu.) Draft beer and soft drinks are available if you'd like a chaser.

Service is friendly, and the staff will enthusiastically advise you on sake choices (in Japanese) if you ask. Like many standing bars, the atmosphere can be a bit more interactive than your typical izakaya, so don't be surprised if sake-centered conversations with neighboring tables erupt.

Minato-ku, Hamamatsucho 2-11-16.

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Venue listing from Bento.com5 Star Rating: highly recommended