Izakayas...

Yuki inside
Walking past the graffitti'd walls of a recently closed latin bar, you see the sign for Yuki. The immediate surprise is the live music emanating from inside. That shouldn't be a surprise in New Orleans, but it is from an izakaya. Inside there's a tiny "stage" (end of the bar) where artists perform live music every night of the week. Read More...

daikaya
In the most unlikely of places, Daikaya sits atop an eponymous ramen shop, across the street from the city's basketball-hockey arena. Through the door marked simply "izakaya" (in English with no accompanying aki-chochin lantern) you climb a narrow staircase to a large open space. Read More...

SakaMai Main Bar
SakaMai may not be the kind of place that you can afford to eat every night, but you're going to want to. The food, drinks, atmosphere, and staff make this an absolutely perfect night out. I'd like to come up with a quibble so it doesn't seem like I'm completely biased ... okay, here's one. Read More...

ramen
Traditionally in an izakaya dining experience, you'll finish the night with a noodle or rice dish in order to fill up after the otsumami (small drinking snacks) courses. An alternative that's quite popular with many Japanese drinkers, is to stop off for a bowl of late night ramen. Typically these ramen shops will be packed with happily drunk people slurping bowls of soup while chatting boisterously with lots of laughter. Read More...

guu
After visits to LA, SF, Chicago, and Vancouver my expectations for izakaya scenes in other North American cities had diminished. While the izakayas I visited in those cities were authentic and interesting, there were not many of them. Vancouver had the most robust scene with a half dozen or so izakayas in the city center including the delicious Kingyo and Guu outposts. Read More...

sakamai
Let me preface this by saying I've never operated a cash register and I've never worked in the food service industry a day in my life. But that didn't stop the fine folks at SakaMai (157 Ludlow Street, NYC) from opening up their Pour Bar for me to host their first Shochu Tuesday Happy Hour last night, April 30th from 6-8pm. Read More...

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