Mado Lounge sits on the 52nd floor of the Mori Tower Building in the Roppongi Hills complex. As the last stop at the top of the structure, it is a fitting location for the building’s official City View attraction. For 1,500 yen, a whisper-quiet elevator smoothly whisks you to the top in less than a minute, and thus elevated, Tokyo lies prone at your feet. Other high-rises are so dwarfed that the red signal lights on top appear to blend in with the blink of traffic and neon at street level. At this time of year, they also give the city a jolly, festive look.
Unlike the 51st floor, which is exclusively for members of the Roppongi Hills Club, on the 52nd floor everyone is welcome. And now that Mado Lounge has opened, you can linger in comfort and sip a cocktail as you contemplate one of Tokyo’s most fabulous views. When you consider that members at the club pay more than 1 million yen (for milli-yen-airs only) to indulge in the same privileges, the 52nd floor is, in fact, a bargain.
Mado Lounge is every bit as chic as the high-end bars one floor below, but much more hip. Local talent Yasumichi Morita designed the interior throughout, and every surface shimmers and reflects — the floors, the walls and even some of the ceilings. The entry is understated, with simple white plaster walls and a kitchen and a service bar each tucked into a corner. From there a series of silky white fringes, which cascade from ceiling to floor like synthetic waterfalls, lead you through an anteroom lined with white upholstered couches on your left and your first taste of the view through the glass-enclosed VIP room on your right.
This brings you to the main sitting area, which is sparsely furnished with small clusters of tables and chairs — all positioned to face the view. This area also houses the main service bar and the control center for visuals and sound. A stack of projectors in the center feeds images onto several large screens, which encircle the room and cling to the ceiling above. Built into the wall behind is a fully equipped DJ booth from which appropriately mellow grooves — in the vein of Maceo Parker, Booker T, Stevie Wonder, et al — are disseminated to all areas.
Beyond that is a smokers’ lounge, which, like the VIP room where smoking is also permitted, is walled in behind glass. In contrast to the main room, the tones in the smokers’ lounge are warm and earthy. High tables and stools line the windows, low tables and couches fill out the area behind and a large elevated banquet table surrounded by high chairs (literally dinner chairs on stilts) occupies a cozy spot at the far end of the room. The VIP room, on the other hand, is a riot of textures and flashes of color. A red velvet-covered dentist’s chair, studded with sequins and trimmed with gold brocade, immediately catches the eye. Then you spot the glass-topped coffee table supported by a sculpture of a naked female down on all fours, with her hollowed-out cranium full of pachinko balls.
If location is everything, then Mado Lounge has it all. And with various club and live events scheduled most weekends, it is sure to establish itself as one of Tokyo’s premier venues. It certainly injects a breath of fresh air into otherwise stale basement-style clubbing. Particularly recommended is the forthcoming “Hat Attack” event hosted by seasoned Tokyo party person Raymon, featuring DJ Patrick spinning his special brand of disco-house and designer Sawa exhibiting her latest collection of hats (Friday, Dec. 8).
If that doesn’t appeal, then check the schedule online for a complete list of events. Or you could avoid those nights, especially if it’s a quiet drink — or a romantic setting — that you’re after.