Last week I introduced Tre Tre — a funky little hole-in-the-wall near the entrance to Golden Gai. Gaku, the master, has not only helped many new-generation barkeeps leverage their way into the area, he also knows all the coolest spots to drink. So, this week and next, we will stay in Golden Gai and sample two of Gaku’s recommendations.
First up is Krishna, which — funnily enough — is the antithesis of Gaku’s bar in three significant ways. First, Krishna is on the street that defines the end of Golden Gai. Second, it is huge — not only when compared to the majority of Golden Gai’s bars, but compared to any bar in Tokyo. And finally, it is run by two girls — Shiho and Noriko.
There are, however, several ways in which the girls resemble Gaku. Like him, they are twentysomethings; they have never run a bar before; and they love traveling — especially in Asia. The latter possibly explains the one thing that both of their bars do have in common — red walls (red being the color of Asia).
Shiho and Noriko have known each other since their midteens and, of course, have many things in common. They went to the same college in Shinjuku to study fashion. And, as fashion schools typically attract a rather colorful student body, the girls made many interesting friends — all of whom loved to party and some of whom were gay.
One night, a friend took them to a new-half (transsexual) bar in Golden Gai. And when they heard that the “mama” was giving up the lease, they decided to take it over. They loved the space. Having little money for furnishings, they filled one end with cushions. Their years at fashion school came in handy as they set about making covers and drapes — all in white.
“We wanted to create a lounge bar where a woman — even on her own — would feel relaxed,” Noriko says, and Shiho nods vigorously in agreement.
The result is clean and simple with a whiff of the Middle East. Clusters of plump, white cushions surround low tables, with each grouping separated by sheer, white folds of fabric falling from ceiling to floor. The walls add warmth. A bar occupies the other end, where the girls offer Asian beer (Maharaja, Singha and Tiger) and some European classics (Guinness and Bass Pale Ale). A limited but tasty selection of food is also available (I found the Krishna curry with rice for 900 yen perfect to offset a night of drinking).
Krishna has only been open a month, so in addition to their own network of friends, some customers still walk in expecting to find a new-half bar (but most of them stay for a drink). The girls scored their highest points for playing an entire compact disc of the Shibusa Shirazu Orchestra, whose untold members create a cacophony of sound.
Stay tuned for the next adventure . . .