Sake Diary - Mr. Happy: Jimbocho


The mood at Mister Happy is festive, to say the least. The floor staff are relentlessly cheerful, telling jokes, leading toasts and pulling small pranks on unsuspecting customers. But this is more than just a boisterous izakaya – behind the hijinks, Mister Happy is a serious sake bar, stocking an impressive selection of more than fifty different sake from around the country, with a strong focus on sought-after premium labels.

Tasting flights are one of the selling points here, and these include single-kura tastings from breweries like Kaze no Mori and Aramasa. Regular servings of sake come in proper glasses rather than tiny ochokko – a touch that serious sake drinkers will appreciate. They’ll also be happy with the prices, which start at just Y240 for small tasting-size glasses and Y400 for regular glasses.

The food menu is built around grilled meats and small sake-drinking delicacies, with several dishes that feature A3-grade wagyu beef. Some highlights during recent visits were a deeply flavored beef-tendon nikomi, a garlicky vegetable ajillo (served in a bowl rather than swimming in oil), and very tender A3 wagyu rump steak. Potato salad topped with corned beef hash is an unusual take on this ubiquitous izakaya dish, and tiny bites of tuna topped with uni were an appetizing combination.

Non-sake beverage options include a couple of beers from Hitachino Nest as well as more typical lagers and soft drinks. Budget around Y3000-5000 for ample food and drink at dinnertime. …continue reading