Monday, August 19, 2013

Whisky Bars in Kansai (3): Bar K, Osaka

Post by Stefan Van Eycken, Tokyo

We’re continuing our series of Kansai bar reviews with an introduction to an establishment that has quickly become one of my favourites in the country. It’s the sort of place you would only tell really good friends about… or someone with a true appreciation of the marvels that liquid art has to offer, such as yourself, dear reader.
© Stefan Van Eycken
Bar K is located in the heart of the city, about a 10-minute walk from Umeda station. To get there, you will have to duck hostesses, scouts and assorted drunks left, right and centre, but once you find the place, descend the stairs and open the door, you enter an oasis of tranquility and intimacy. It’s a bit like Alice stepping through the looking glass. Here, the focus is on the drinks and the attention to detail is second to none. The cocktails are impeccably executed – don’t leave this place without having a few, even if you’re a malt otaku. I had a Manhattan, as usual, to wake up the taste buds and it was so exquisite it took me half an hour to get to my first whisky. Talking about which...

© Stefan Van Eycken
They have an incredible selection of whiskies. Among the real treasures are a 1985 Karuizawa single cask (#3323, 1985/2005) that was bottled to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Japanese trading company Mitsuya Boeki, one of the very few, pre-Number One Drinks bottlings for private customers; a Hakushu single cask (2001/2011, hogshead) that was only available to bars that took part in the “Friendship of Hakushu” program; and two Yamazaki Owner’s Casks, one a peaty offering (1991/2005) bottled for a customer of Bar K – one of the finest exponents of that medium-peated style from the early 90s -; the other, a lovely hogshead selected by the owner of nearby Bar Harbour Inn (1997/2007). On the Scotch front, the two absolute stars of the place – but not for long since the end of their reign there is near – are the 1971 Glenallachie (bottled for 3 Rivers’ series “The Life” – don’t you just love that label?) and the 1971 BenRiach bottled for Shinanoya & BBI Japan last year. It doesn’t get much better than that...
© Stefan Van Eycken
I could go on for a while but I think that’s enough. Find out for yourself what they’ve got going on behind the counter at Bar K next time you’re in town.

Address: Kouyou Building B1F, 1-3-3 Sonezakishinchi, Kita-ku, Osaka 530-0002
Tel: 06-6343-1167
Hours: Mon - Fri: 18:00 - 2:00, Sat & National Holidays 18:00 - 0:00, Closed on Sun


Dale said...

It looks amazing and i can't wait to try it. What else would you recommend in Osaka?
Thank you

James said...

While the supply of booze is plentiful in Japan, it can be tough to find a good bar. Thanks to this post, I visited Bar K during my trip a few weeks back. The bar was just as you've described and maybe more. The staff isn't totally fluent in English but they speak well enough to understand. Selection was incredible, prices were pretty reasonable, and staff was totally nice, which all made for a great experience. I'll be back next time. Thank you for being such a great resource and guide to whiskey in Japan.


Stefan Van Eycken said...

Many thanks for your kind comments.

Nat Pond said...

Loved the rec. Went 3 nights in a row we were so impressed with the whiskey selection and the quality of the cocktails. The price was insanely low for everything across the board. Staff spoke English quite well and was super knowledgeable. Thanks for the tip!