by Julie Wolfson
Often tucked away on side streets and down alleys, some of the best bars and restaurants in Tokyo are behind unmarked doors. Bar Rage takes that notion to an extreme, with no signs of a bar from the exterior. A tiny elevator lifts guests to the third floor, unveiling a huge space that boasts an extensive vintage liquor collection, a bar with ten large club chairs and an array of other spirits alongside three smiling mixologists. The highly trained bartenders—dressed in black suits and white shirts—create elaborate cocktails infused with fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs.
After visits to the Ritz-Carlton's Lobby Lounge and the famed whiskey bar Cask with Jun Ago of Suntory's Imported Liquor Spirits Division in Japan, we ended the night at the nearly indescribable Bar Rage.
Head mixologist Fujisaki Kazutaka created our first drink, a Macallan 10 with chopped mixed berries, honey and rosemary, served with a little silver masher, a small fork and instructions to mash the fruit in the glass, drink up and eat the fruit.
Next he placed a barrage of fruit before us for requests. Choosing pineapple, Fujisaki sets about muddling and measuring, tasting and concocting a special drink. He tops it off with slices of fresh pineapple chunks he then caramelized with a torch. The resulting drink was a smooth, subtle and amazingly fresh blend of fruit and alcohol.
Subsequent visits involved watermelon and roses and many other deliciously inventive concoctions drawing on seasonal fruits and the mixologists' imaginations.