Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Roaming Tokyo (2): Bar Hermit Regalo

Every city often than not has a mini-chain of bars, usually fairly commercial and nothing distinguishable between them. Tokyo is an exception. Here distinguishable mini-chain bars flourish, especially in the Shinjuku and Shibuya area and there is one particular chain setting themselves apart from each other and that non-commercial chain goes by the name Bar Hermit. Technically there are four bars that don the "Bar Hermit" name; however the owner has six bars in the chain that are all in Shinjuku.

As far as I know, surprisingly no one else has ever written anything about this chain in English except for Dramtastic over at The Japanese Whisky Review (here and here). It was from these posts that made my decision for this particular trip easy, settling on Bar Hermit Regalo - conveniently located near Shinjuku JR Station - South Exit (two minute walk) in the Kyoshin Building (10F). This bar, like its siblings is a haven for old Hanyu bottlings (Card Series) and very cheap at that. They seem to have certain specials for a certain length of time before changing the theme. On Brian's visit to Bar Hermit Regalo he had the lucky pleasure of being there for the Card Series specials list. On my visit I was in time for the Owners Cask specials - an impressive specials list I must add. On a rough count I noted at least 20 bottles and almost half of these were at very reasonable prices, naturally including a few of their own. Impressive as all these were I was there for some young but old Hanyu, and lucky for me the kind staff poured my drams at the same prices as the previous Card Series specials list from a few months ago. BH Regalo is quite compact, therefore it can be quite smoky when patrons spark up, however this can be overcome by moving to a window seat that overlooks one of the main roads in Shinjuku. But at the end of the day it is not about space but the quality of drams, and besides it is quite cozy regardless.

No where have I ever seen such an array of Card Series in one place, and according to Brian's posts all the establishments appear to have an impressive selection, something never really seen in Kansai. So between these guys and Zoetrope if Hanyus are what you're after then you know where to go while in the area. A few favourite drams of mine on the night were the Single Cask Hanyu 2000-2005 #6076 and Ichiro’s Malt Ace of Diamonds 1986-2008. These were very satisfying whiskies at satisfying prices. Next time I'm in the area I'll be checking out the other "Hermits" while making BH Regalo my first port of call. Special thanks to my kind tender on the night - Matsuura san. 

Address: Tokyo 1-18-4 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Kyoshin Building 10F

Telephone: 03-5908-3805

Info in Japanese (Gurunabi)