Your Exclusive Peek At Vegas’ Newest Speakeasy – Forbes Travel Guide Stories

365 Tokyo

365 Tokyo

You know what they say: where there is smoke … there is a whole new mixology bar that burns positively. And smoke – sweet pecan, hickory, maple and cherry – is one of the first things you will notice at the entrance 365 Tokyo, The latest issue from downtown Las VegasA nervous (and busy) future restaurant group. Fantastic fumes swirl around the lights, carried over fresh smoky antiques and colliding with the dark dark glass that makes up three walls of this jewelry box bar. The mysterious 10-seat venue stands out from the second story of the Inspire Theater, ostensibly hovering over East Fremont Street. And opposite, or below, it is almost impossible to imagine what special kind of alchemy takes place inside the black glass case.

The experience begins at the front door, where Inspire members and their guests check in for invitations to 365 Tokyo (the official name of the bar is actually five Japanese figures who Mean 365 Tokyo, and they are pronounced San Rocco Go Tokyo). The concierge calls the host, who calls you in advance to a staircase inside. Upstairs, he uses his – or his friend’s fingerprint – if they want to – to open the door, which is actually a mirror placed inside a bookcase. If you did not know exactly what you were looking for, you might just go for it.

As they enter, they are greeted with a new face in Japanese with a courtesy bow, a glass of cucumber ice water and a warm, fragrant towel. Chief bartender Seong Ha Lee, or his assistant John, present the cocktail menu – in English, Japanese or Korean – with both hands. While it’s tempting to dive straight in, it would have been better to take a moment to appreciate the small details of this small space – and there are many – like the artistic look over a collection of antique cocktail shakers I use, the abundance of vibrant green herbs and citrus decorations Le smears with Silver-plated silver tongs and cups and cups of copper mules.

Make the menu an overview of vinyl jazz albums available for purchase or play. The only other sound you’ll hear than, say, Miles Davis Kind of blue It’s a soft chatter of couples raving about Lee Rupongi Hills’ unique lychee cocktail or his confident vibration behind the bar.

From here, the next move actually falls into your hands: you can try a smoked negro à la minute with a cherry tree in a large bell jar and served on an ice ball scratched by hand. You may want a 365 well-served martini in a deep-cooled glass using liquid nitrogen. Or you can just soak up your choice of spirit in a selection of herbs and herbal plants. Drinks come with an amazing show, and a tip is automatically added to the bill (tickets only, please), so there is no unnecessary discussion about money.

Why all the fuss about cocktails here? Well, when Michael Cornwall, owner of Tokyo, Michael Cornwall, who also runs popular Vegas venues, a downtown cocktail room, a school in Ogden and the Inspire Theater’s Wayfarer Bar, was in Japan on his honeymoon, he admired the level of service he received at bars. Moreover, he was impressed by the precision, humility and dedication of the Japanese bartenders. When Cornwall returned to Nevada, he could not find where to visit this bar experience, so he vowed to create one where he could live his small part of Tokyo, 365 days a year.

Photo courtesy of Crystal Ramirez FRG

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