Bars can Welcome an Unlimited Number of Customers
It All Started at the Entrance of a Liquor Shop
It makes me happy when I find a standing bar that I can casually stop by on the way home after work. I enjoy a few drinks with some bar snacks, and then I go home. It is a typical routine for Japanese salary-men (employees) and we can also find good manner in this environment. It is said that tachinomi (drinking while standing up at a bar) has been common since the Edo period. The origins of tachinomi was when customers started drinking and eating the food and drinks at the entrance of the shop where they had just purchased them. As the liquor shop was not a bar or restaurant they could not offer chairs. Then, naturally people started drinking and eating while standing. Although the popularity of tachinomi had declined, it has been revitalized as one of the various drinking styles that bars can offer and we can find a lot of tachinomi bars in Tokyo nowadays.
Akabane in Tokyo is well known as having a lot of bars. ‘Tachinomi Ikoi Honten’ has been in business for 46 years and this place is a mecca for drinkers as they can start drinking at 11am. In the evening, the bar is filled with customers and everyone is drinking close to one another. Even in that state, the bar staff never turn away customers who try to come in. They simply ask the existing customers saying “Can you please scooch over a little more?” or “Can you make a little more space?”. Then every single customer follows that and creates an extra space for the new customer. A regular customer who continues to come to this bar for 35 years laughed and said, “I think I started drinking in the middle of the bar counter but I ended up at the right edge of the counter in the end”.
Manners are Used to Make the Bar a Comfortable Place for Everyone
There are a lot of rules at standing bars, such as not going as a large group, not bringing in any big bags, not going in heavily drunk or with too much perfume on you, carrying a lot of coins to pay easily, not staying too long and so on. However, these rules were never set out by the bar owners. The regular customers themselves actively try to observe these ‘rules’ to avoid trouble with other customers and the new customers naturally started to follow, then they became common (unwritten) rules. The bar owner, Mr. Nishino says “As the owner of the bar, what I would love the customers to do most is enjoy the food and drinks without causing any trouble for other customers. That is all.” To create a comfortable place for everyone, the good manners that each customer brings to the bar are essential.
|When was it started?||In the Edo period. The customers started drinking and eating what they purchased at the entrance of the liquor shop.|
|Where can I try tachinomi?||Streets where standing bars line up along or under the highway or train tracks. A lot of bars can be found in Akabane, Tateishi, Ooimachi, Shinbashi and Kichijoji|
|Best suited time of the year or day?||Around 7pm on a weekday or weekends. You can enjoy the busy atmosphere with lots of other customers.|
|Data||Average budget: Around ¥1,200 per person |
Average time to stay: Just under 40 minutes
|Please note||It is necessary to communicate with other customers in terms of saying thank you or hello, but there are some customers who want to drink quietly just on their own, so be mindful.|