One of Naka-Meguro's best features is the Meguro River. And though, like most of Tokyo's inner-city waterways, its riverbed has been concreted to aid with storm drainage, the banks are topped with cobbled walkways and planted with mile upon mile of cherry trees. The blossoms are breathtaking when in season, but in summer their leafy boughs also offer a soothing escape from the sticky heat of the city.

The stretch of the Meguro River that winds from Naka-Meguro toward Ikejiri Ohashi bridge is dotted here and there with an interesting assortment of restaurants and late-night cafes. But the stretch that heads south toward Meguro proper has always seemed strangely quiet by comparison — until a couple of years ago. Now, like everywhere else in Tokyo, the dots are slowly but surely being connected.

Combine is a spacious, unpretentious lounge-style bar less than five minutes from the station — three minutes or so (depending on the lights) to cross the busy Yamate and Komazawa streets and 30 seconds or so (depending on your appreciation of nature) along the banks of the river. Compared to sucking exhaust fumes, that less-than-a-minute feels like an hour of yoga.