Let’s face it, trying to navigate bars and other drinking establishments in Japan without any assistance can be a completely random guessing game. This rings even more true if you are wondering the streets of popular sections of Tokyo. There are not only the street level store fronts that you have to contend with, you also have to consider what is above your head. Buildings often have multiple floors that contain even more places to drink. It would take a life time to even attempt to check out each establishment. To make things more difficult there is a high turnover rate and new spots are always popping up.
So how does one find a good whisky watering hole? I would first check out Nonjatta for some initial pointers. But what I would really pick up is Nonjatta’s author – Chris Bunting’s book Drinking Japan. I lived in Japan for a year that was about 5 years of partying and drinking distilled down into 4 months – please excuse the poor pun. I also go back as much as possible. But reading Drinking Japan opened my eyes to even more drinking establishments (not just whisky bars). It is more than a list of bars – there are very thorough descriptions and details of each establishment that is mentioned.
However, during a trip in February of this year I was given a suggestion by a local (to Tokyo) whisky connoisseur Mr. Iwasa. He told me that I should check out a whisky bar called Campbelltoun Loch as it has the best selection of malts. With that kind of endorsement I had to check it out even though I had never heard of it. Tomorrow I will post about my visits (yes more than one) to Campbelltoun Loch. Till then a small glimpse of the bar.