Aoyama after work: Roy’s Bar & Grill

Food & Drink - November 19th, 2004
tokyoweekender_Roy's

Where do you meet someone after 5 o’clock when you are not sure what time they will be able to get off work? A lot of forlorn girls wait at Hachiko or in front of the Almond for what sometimes turns out to be a long time until their salaryman boyfriend shows up. Or some girls will wait in a coffee shop, turning page after page of their bunkobon novel until their prince comes. But a coffee shop just feels like lunch, or killing time during the day. I want to feel like the day’s finished, and nighttime has just begun.

That’s why I need the mature atmosphere of a bar in a sophisticated part of town. Aoyama fits nicely — it’s central and just a short cab hop away to Nishi Azabu, Roppongi, Akasaka — or you can even just stay in Aoyama, there are so many good places to eat. And in Aoyama I’ve found that Roy’s Bar & Grill is a perfect place. Everybody knows it, or has heard of it. It’s easy to find with the big, bright sign. And its big, comfortable bar and high-ceilinged elegance makes it a stylish place to meet someone special.

If both of you work, giving each other a little extra leeway on the meeting time can make the rest of the evening more relaxed. Best of all, if one of you is very late, and the person waiting goes into the third or fourth drink, they don’t need to stumble out onto the street again — they can just have dinner in, right there at Roy’s.

So what do I drink at Roy’s? They have a new original cocktail each month, so I always order one since I know it will be soon replaced with another. The bartenders there are real professionals, and can always whip up what my date orders. Roy’s even has their own house wine, and their own beer made for them at a small brewery in Kona.

The atmosphere is a bit classy and stately, but it is a friendly place you can enter without hesitation. Best of all, drink prices are reasonable, and there’s no otoshi, the extra “seat charge.”

So who’s Roy? He’s Chef Roy Yamaguchi, one of the pioneers of Pacific Rim cuisine. He was born in Hawaii, where he opened his first restaurant in 1988, and he’s now got something like 20 restaurants all around the Pacific Rim. He’s won awards in the U.S., and was even on the Iron Chef program once.

During the day, the Aoyama ladies-who-lunch show up, and lunch elegantly. On the weekends, families can be seen. On weekday nights it’s couples like us. Roy’s seems to be everything to everyone, like a family restaurant, but does it with infinitely more class.

Roy’s Bar & Grill

Riviera Minami Aoyama Bldg. 1F, 3-3-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo
One-minute walk from Gaien-Mae station on the Ginza subway line.

Tel. 03-5474-8181
Lunch: Monday to Friday 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (L.O. 2:30)
Dinner: Daily 5:45 to 11:30 p.m.(L.O. 10:30)
Brunch: Saturday, Sunday, national holidays 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (L.O. 2:30)