By Sarah Norbakhsh
Good things come in little packages; the phrase is oft overused, but wine bar WW takes it for another spin with their electric oasis hidden in Tokyo’s Shin-Marunouchi Building. The interior is sleek and swanky, with a large helping of futuristic, an equal portion of modern and a splash of art deco interior design that oozes into the bar a Gotham-city like funk. Electronica flows freely into the room giving the small 30- seater bar a club-like atmosphere as well. WW’s location—perched modestly on the 6th floor—doesn’t offer much of a view, unfortunately, but chances are that patrons will be too busy gazing at the amazing ceiling- mounted wine cellar to notice.
The menu will also undoubtedly keep bar-goers occupied, as WW—the name itself reportedly stands for “World Wine”— boasts a catalogue of 1000 bottles from over 16 countries. While the classic French and Italian wines are a given, pearls from recent wine-making meccas such as Chile, Argentina and South Africa also dangle from overhead.
Those with an extravagant tasting session in mind will be disappointed to know that the majority of these 1000 temptresses are only available by the bottle. There is a healthy list of selections available by-the-glass for those not willing to commit, however, ranging from a modest Italian Rosso Piceno Superiorell Brecciarolo 2003 to a deliciously sweet French Chateau Cantegril 2003. The extravagant Cuvée Royale from American winemaker Joseph Perrier is also worth a splurge and pairs well with seafood or works as an aperitif. WW also offers the “World Wine Flight” set; a sampling of any three wines from their by-the-glass menu for one price gives the adventurous a chance to try more exotic selections from Spain, New Zealand and Germany.
A limited bar menu is also available, courtesy of WW’s neighboring restaurant Modern Australian Salt. The cuisine, created by celebrity restaurateur Luke Mangan, is a blend of European flavors: brioche, tapas and even sashimi make an appearance, as well as extravagant cheese, vegetable and seafood plates that are the perfect accompaniment to a tangy white or a glass of that Cuvée Royale.
Both the location and the atmosphere make WW the perfect haven for a round of after-work drinks. On any given evening the long sexy counter and relaxed lounge area plays host to a healthy combination of Japanese and foreign professionals. And despite its stylishness WW is not an exclusive and unapproachable beast; for all their pack-instinct, it’s not an unusual sight to see a Marunouchi OL having one or two alone before heading home or out for the night at one of Tokyo’s many haunts.
Far from a “hole in the wall,” WW peers demurely out at passerby’s and could be easily missed in its Shin-Marunouchi nook, impossible to notice from street level. But for a quick one—bottle or glass—after work WW is definitely worth the elevator ride up.