Friday, March 23, 2012

Suntory Highball Bar - Umeda 1923

The year 1923 was a remarkable year in Japan, construction of the Yamazaki distillery, Japan’s first malt whisky distillery, began in Yamazaki on the outskirts of Kyoto. The birth of this distillery was to mark the first step toward the production of a long-running delicacy that is well received today: Japanese whisky.

In order to commemorate this significant milestone and to build upon the forever growing highball market, Suntory set its mind on a new business development; the humbled Highball Bar. The first of these themed bars was opened in January 2011 in Tokyo’s Shimbashi district. Using the iconic date and location: the Highball Bar Shimbashi 1923 was born, further boosting the growth of the highball market and paving the way to what appears to be a successful business adventure for Suntory.

The Highball Bars are in various locations throughout Japan, so if you are looking for a bit of nostalgia, and whisky highballs are your preferred nectar, Kansai residents have the opportunity to visit one of these specialty themed bars right in the heart of Osaka. The Umeda 1923 Highball Bar offers a variety of highball cocktails that go beyond the heavily publicized Kakubin and soda concoction, these highball cocktails, which Suntory market as premium quality are served from specially designed dispensers developed by the distillery giant.

Besides the ideal location, the experience, the wide range of highball flavours, and nostalgia: bygone Suntory whisky advertisements, perhaps the biggest standout, in my opinion, are the cheap proportions of single malt that are available neat. These themed bars do require a cover charge of 300 yen, which I personally try to avoid however; this cover charge can be easily justified by scoffing down a variety of mixed nuts and rice crackers included in the charge and with the “all you can eat” policy. The establishment is adjacent to Yodibashi camera and is within a few minutes walk from either the JR or Hankyu Umeda stations.

Umesendo building 1F,
2-1-3, Shibata, Kita-ku,
Osaka-shi, Osaka, 530-0012

Opening Hours – Daily
Lunch: Mon – Sun and holidays 11:30 – 15:00
Evening: Mon – Sat 17:00 – 01:00, Sun and holidays 17:00 – 24:00


Map obtained from Gurunabi


  1. Very interesting piece. You are right about the significant year for Japan. It was, of course, the year of the Great Kanto Earthquake, the worst natural disaster to hit Japan, exceeding even the 2011 Tohoku quake.

  2. Thanks for pointing that out Chris, I completely forgot about this. So, although this was a significant year for some it certainly wasn't for others.