Bar for pre-crisis bankers falls on hard times

Bloomberg

Heartland, the bar in Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills complex where bankers from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. partied before the 2008 financial crisis, has shut its doors after more than a decade.

The bar, downstairs from the Japan headquarters of Goldman Sachs and Barclays PLC as well as the former Japan head office of Lehman, was closed as of Monday, said Kirin spokesman Kan Yamamoto. The brewer opened the bar in 2003 to promote its Heartland-brand beer.

“The brand has gained enough support from our customers now,” with sales growing at more than 10 percent annually, Yamamoto said.

Once an exuberant party venue where the champagne started flowing at 5 p.m., Heartland suffered a 30 percent drop in revenue after Lehman went bankrupt and Goldman Sachs cut back staff in Japan, leaving it with fewer customers.

The bar in recent years saw an influx of new patrons from Google Inc. and Apple Inc., both of which moved their Japan headquarters to Roppongi Hills as financial firms vacated.

Before the financial crisis, bankers from upstairs would order as many as 100 champagne glasses for parties and offer them to bar staff and strangers, Mai Shioya, a manager at Heartland, said last April. After the crisis, customers drank less even with new tenants such as the tech companies moving into the complex, she said.