Zoetrope bar verified


5 / 5

May 11, 2018

Looking for a whisky bar in Tokyo? Go down a Nishi Shinjuku back street, up a slow, stuttering elevator then get off on the third floor. Step into the tiny venue with the intimate low lights, and you've found your way into Tokyo's whisky-loving heart: Zoetrope.

With only three tables and just six seats at the bar, Zoetrope, the cult Tokyo whisky bar is further proof that good things frequently come in small packages. Famous for its unrivalled Japanese whisky collection – over 300 bottles and counting, including several varieties that are no longer on the market – spirit aficionados come here seeking tough-to-find whiskys and are often richly rewarded.

The bar’s owner and only bartender is a passionate whisky fan himself, a fount of knowledge for fellow whisky lovers, and generous with recommendations for those new to the game. From shots of rare Yamazaki editions, to standard faves like Nikka Single Malt Yoishi, at this Tokyo bar there’s a whisky tailored to your tastes, whether you’re a connoisseur or a spirit dilettante.



The love of the grain-based spirit at Zoetrope is rivalled only by its love of cinema. The whisky bar‘s decor was designed by legendary Japanese art director, the late Takeo Kimura. Silent black and white films are screened constantly in the venue, a vintage backdrop that clashes comfortably with its alternative soundtrack. The cinematic feel adds a cool but relaxed vibe that’s in keeping with the atmosphere and crowd here.

This tiny, popular bar fills up very quickly, so your best bet is to visit on weekdays when it’s easiest to get in. A singular spot among the impressive offering of bars in Tokyo, for lovers of cinema and whisky alike, Zoetrope is a treasure trove. Definitely pencil this miniature whisky wonder for a reliably good drink (or two) on your trip to Tokyo.



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