Bidding farewell to an era as bankers’ bar Heartland closes

Food & Drink Tokyo Life - January 9th, 2014

Even with the recent infiltration of tech firm employees replacing those of finance companies at Heartland Bar, the former go-to hot spot for bankers and expat businessmen, pre-financial crisis, has closed its doors.

The stand-up-only bar, fully equipped with large projectors for sporting events, a DJ, and a well-stocked shelves, announced Monday that they are shutting down with no plans to reopen or relocate in the near future, Bloomberg reported.

Originally opening in 2003 by Kirin Holding Co. to promote its Heartland brand beer, management says that the club has achieved its purpose. “The brand has gained enough support from our customers now,” says Kan Yamamoto, a spokesperson for the company, noting substantial sales growth each year for the brand.

Before the financial crisis in 2008, the champagne flowed freely and corporate cards had no limits. Men in suits and women on the prowl weren’t unusual sights at the former party scene for Tokyo’s financial world.

After the real estate bubble burst, however, business declined from Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers patrons, whose headquarters were housed in the same area as the Roppongi Hills bar. And as the bankers filtered out of the building and the tech companies trickled in, the clientele in Heartland Bar shifted to a crowd that was a little more casual—and less likely to break out the no-limit expense accounts.

Tech powerhouses such as Google and Lenovo now claim real estate in the Mori Towers. Even more changes in real estate seem to be on the horizon now that the books are closed for the decade-old bar.

Main Image: Tomohiro Ohsumi