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Nozaki Sakaten

Sake is the raison d’être of Nozaki Sakaten— not the cheap mass-marketed version of Japan’s national tipple made by the major sake companies, but jizake, quality brews crafted on an artisan scale by smaller regional kura (breweries), especially limited-edition versions that are often hard to get hold of beyond their immediate locales.

Lest there be any doubt about this single-minded focus, virtually all available wall space inside the cozy two-floor dining space is covered with sake labels, banners and blackboards inscribed with daily recommendations. The floor staff sport happi coats emblazoned with the names and logos of notable breweries, and are well versed in the minutiae of their specialty.

They can offer close to 100 varieties. These are sourced from across the country and span the full gamut of styles from fresh, straightforward junmaishu to complex, florid daiginjo, and from lightly petillant to thick milky nigori-zake and golden, aged, sherry-scented koshu. All are available in either two or three sizes, from small tasting glasses to full 180 ml tokkuri flasks.