Timing and location are everything. For the Tokyo-based German beer pub Schmatz, both were in perfect alignment when its latest branch opened in Nakameguro, overlooking the sakura (cherry) trees lining the river just as they were about to blossom.

Over the past five years, this rapidly growing chain has been popping up all over the Tokyo area. This, their 14th location, is the biggest and buzziest to date. And for Christopher Ax and Marc Luetten, the two young Germans who founded Schmatz, it represents a full turn of the circle.

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