Akitaya is no gourmet dining destination. The food is basic, the sake cheap. Clouds of oily smoke billow out from a blackened, grease-encrusted charcoal grill onto the sidewalk, where customers huddle around tables fashioned from upturned beer crates.

This battered izakaya, which has stood on the main drag in Hamamatsucho for half a century, is the antithesis of all things hip and fashionable. But nowhere in Tokyo better symbolizes the enduring popularity of tachi-nomi — literally “drinking while standing” — and the remarkable resurgence of this tradition over the past few years.

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