By Hamish Macnamara
While some of Tokyo’s “best-kept-secret” bars can be found stashed away down dark alleys and in basements, Tokyoites should occasionally turn their eyes towards the sky in search for that gem of a bar. These are prime places to get great views of the Tokyo skyline, but more often than not people head for the glitz and the glam found on the west side of the Yamanote line, in places like Shinjuku or Roppongi.
But hiding in the deep south of the city, stretching out along the 42nd floor of the Shiodome City Center Building lies the Oregon Bar & Grill. As the name conveighs, this is an American-themed restaurant and bar with a homey comfortable feel found in wooden floors and antique furniture, but with an upscale touch accented by high celings and that glittering Tokyo skyline.
"The bar has some of the best scenery in the city, with sweeping views of the metropolis from Chiba to Roppongi."
The bar has some of the best scenery in the city, with sweeping views of the metropolis from Chiba to Roppongi. The lounge offers what could possibly be the best view of Ginza, and the entire area along with the Marunouchi financial district and the Imperial Gardens can be enjoyed from the plush leather couches.
The wine selection features a variety of American wines; from a sparkling white 1998 J Schram to a 2005 Beaux Freres Yamhill County, Oregon—a pinot noir that will set you back 22,000 yen. While the Beaux Freres may be one for the expense account, the Mystic Wines Merlot or the Syrah offered at about a third of the price could be the perfect choice as the sun goes down and the lights come on in Tokyo’s most exclusive shopping district.
The bar stocks an impressive pinot noir collection, and staying true to the theme, all wines come from Oregon. There’s a 2002 Henry Estate Umpqua Valley and a 2004 Witness Tree Estate. Recommended is the Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Evenstad Reserve 2003.
Those with an appetite will want to head over to the grill area and dig into one of the restaurant’s dry-aged steaks, or pair a white wine with one of the Oregon Bar & Grill’s savory seafood entrees. The lobster is an obvious temptation, but the American and Ireland oysters are not to be missed.
There’s no seating charge and the bar even has a happy hour each day where patrons can sit and enjoy that American favorite, Miller beer, for as cheap as a few hundred yen. For those who have sweeter tastes, the Oregon also has a range of original cocktails available. The City Center building is a one-minute walk from Shiodome Station and a three-minute walk from Shimbashi Station.
The Oregon Bar & Grill is open everyday from 11am to 11pm.