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Quintessential Watering Hole

June 15, 2015
Yamariki (Honkan)
Nowhere does after-work boozing quite like Tokyo, and if you too want guzzle with the panache of a local professional, look no further than the humble izakaya; a Japanese rendition of the traditional pub, if you will.

Going like spit since 1924, and now in its third generation of ownership, Yamariki is considered by many to be one of the city’s best izakayas, dishing delicious house specialities and top-notch sake in the old downtown district of Morishita.

Look for the big red paper lantern hanging out front (that demarcates most of these simple old watering holes), if not, you’ll probably spot it from the queue out front, which usually forms at least one hour before opening. Once inside – if you’re lucky enough to secure a perch – you’ll be presented with a hot towel (oshibori) and a neat little appetiser (otōshi) to line your stomach for the night of tipsy revelry ahead.

Not for the faint of heart is their signature nikomi, a fragrant concoction of innards slow-cooked with port, Hatcho miso and bouquet garni until tender – a recipe so time-honoured it hasn’t changed for the past 40 years. Or offal not your cup of matcha? Then opt instead for other toothsome share plates like the yakiton grilled pork skewers, pickled mackerel, chicken liver terrine and Japanese-style omelette.

To accompany, most izakayas (including this one) offer a solid selection of sakes, but what makes Yamariki stand out from the crowd is its French-only wine list, curated by affable in-house sommelier, Mizukami-san.

Queues longer than a piggie’s vitals? Fret not, staff can direct you to their second outpost, Yamariki (Shinkan), just around the corner. Hai!

Koto-ku / Morishita 2-18-8 / +81 3 3633 1638 / 5:00 pm-10:00 pm Mon-Sat / arrive early /