A pub is a pub, and a sports bar is a sports bar -- or so you might think. In fact, these watering holes come in subtle shades of cultural preference. All conveniently bear the bold colors of a national flag somewhere on the premises for ease of reference. No prizes for guessing which one you will find hanging at The Maple Leaf in Shibuya.

Yes, it's Canadian, but a Sports Bar and Grill, no less -- a hefty subtitle that belies its rather modest size (meaning, you could probably squeeze a pool table in, but then there wouldn't be much room to sit).

The Maple Leaf has already been up and running for three years, but it's off the beaten track, and yet right in the heart of Shibuya at the same time. It sits up high on the fourth floor of a vaguely European-looking building with big bay windows on a relatively quiet back street. I've walked past it dozens of times but never gone in -- those stairs look like a lot of work. And they are -- though I've since discovered the elevator.