Yesterday, we spoke of the classical Japanese gastropub, the “izakaya”. Today, we’ll talk about its modern, compact cousin, the Tachinomi… A standing-room-only bar.
What was once considered a slummy holdover from Japan’s post-war reconstruction era, is receiving a “quirky” and “stylish” resurgence of popularity. Real estate is valuable in Japanese cities, and the country’s people have had to become masters of utilizing every square foot of space available. In tiny storefronts, tachinomi “standing bars” have found popularity as a comfortable place to drink without having to get too settled in.
Tachinomi generally serve similar fare to izakaya, though dishes are small and easy to hold while eating. This snack may even be a requirement; some tachinomi carry a small cover charge, often the price of the snack the customer receives, simply as a way to start their tab for the night. While a bar or tall tables might be available, table space is not guaranteed.
Dawdling is somewhat dis-encouraged in tachinomi. Because of the limited space, any customer who isn’t partaking is taking up space that could be filled with a customer who does want to eat and drink. Tachinomi are less laid back, and more of a convenient and time-saving place to catch a drink and a bite to eat among the company of friends.
The “Drinking In Japan” series continues tomorrow with Snack Bars, less expensive alternative to Hostess Clubs.