Sake Bar O —

The Sake Speakeasy


We’ve all heard of speakeasies, low-key or even hidden bars that favor intimate atmospheres and quiet drinks. But most of them have an almost exclusive connection with Western spirits. After all, the ban on them is what spawned the first speakeasies in the prohibition era.


But what about one dedicated to the sole enjoyment of sake? To find out, Eugene and Nate sit down with food and beverage veterans Elliot Faber and Lindsay Jang of Yardbird, who share their account of an unforgettable visit to Sake Bar O, the first known sake speakeasy in Tokyo.

Hand-hammered tin counters frame the centerpiece, which is bathed in a column of cool “moonlight.”

Seasonal wild and natural flowers and weeds are foraged and brought to Sake Bar O to be changed twice a week

Track lights keep the guests experience private and focused on the bottle of sake they chose.

For both owner Jun Onishi and head sommelier Kumi Hitomi, Sake Bar O is a passion project largely unrelated to their day jobs.

Ugo no Tsuki—moon after the rain—is a special sake from Hiroshima bottled exclusively for Sake Bar O.

Each cup of sake is served with considerate simplicity and grace.

Glass and metal works for the bar are sourced from local artisan Seiwa Hada.

David Kenji Chang talks with the founder in his LA studio and new shop to talk about his life’s work and staying weird in a weird world.