Ebisu hides many secrets -- especially at night. And Button -- a neat, two-story attic perched on top of a building near the Nishi-Ebisu fiveways -- is one of the area's most precious. And you know it the instant the elevator doors open onto the sixth floor.

One is greeted, in the flickering shadows of candlelight, by two carved Chinese dogs standing sentinel on either side of a tall, leafy ikebana flower arrangement heavy with orchids. It feels private, like someone's home. And that's the atmosphere that Taichi, Button's young, effervescent master, wanted to create.

"I love meeting and talking to people -- that's why I opened my own bar. But I don't want to advertise because I don't want to be run off my feet by hordes of demanding customers," explains Taichi, as he rolls his eyes and gasps in mock horror. "That would spoil the fun . . ."