Like millions around the world, Jonathan Bethune has spent much of the last year working from home. But he now has a powerful incentive to spend much more than the occasional day at his office in the vibrant Tokyo district of Nihonbashi.
Since March 31, the native New Yorker has been able to ride the elevator down to the sixth floor of Nihonbashi Muromachi Mitsui Tower, where he works, to decompress or grab a bite at the newly opened Tokyo American Club Nihonbashi. “I think pretty much any day I’m going to the office, I’ll be stopping over there, if not for the gym then to have lunch,” says Bethune, who joined the private membership club a few months ago. “And it will be great for business opportunities and for meeting people.”
Tokyo American Club Nihonbashi represents the first expansion of the Azabudai-based Tokyo American Club in its 93-year history. By becoming a member of the Azabudai club, Bethune, an executive in the tech sector, enjoys automatic access to the adults-only Nihonbashi facility.
“Members can expect a wow moment when they enter the club”
Located steps from Mitsukoshimae Station, Tokyo American Club Nihonbashi is open on weekdays and more compact than the main facility. But its spaces for working out, dining and relaxing alongside an international group of members prove that big things still come in small packages. “It’s a very minimal, simple entrance, but a whole different world inside,” says Daishi Yoshimoto, the architect behind Tokyo American Club Nihonbashi’s interior design. “Members can expect a wow moment when they enter the club.”
Yoshimoto says the club’s striking walnut, pitched ceiling, basalt feature walls, custom-made carpeting and curated artworks are intended to imbue the space with style and warmth. “One of the key points around the club is creating an atmosphere of what I call ‘urban sophistication,’” says club member Terry White. Nowhere else is this truer than in the bar area. Set in front of floor-to-ceiling windows, the bar’s wood-and-brass aesthetic, complete with pendant lights, footrails and an illuminated central liquor display, is sure to catch more than a few eyes. “We want this to be the wow factor,” Yoshimoto says.
In the adjacent Muromachi Lounge and American Room restaurant, the kitchen’s creations take center stage. “While the menus have these Japanese inflections, the core of them are modern American,” says executive chef Lindsay Gray of the breakfast, lunch and dinner offerings that feature such standout dishes as beef tenderloin with shiso leaf chimichurri and classic pastrami on rye with English cheddar and kimchi-mango slaw. Between the bar and dining areas, there may be no better place to meet with friends or entertain clients in the Nihonbashi area. But just in case the need for some serious business arises, the club also enjoys access to a separate conference room with its own bar.
Of course, what kind of urban escape would Tokyo American Club Nihonbashi be without the chance to work up a sweat and blow off some steam. For that, the club boasts industry-best fitness facilities.
With a warmup area and top-of-the-range cardio and weight-training machines, the club’s fitness center pulls no punches when it comes to providing members with the variety of workouts they crave. “We were adamant that it be a multipurpose kind of gym where anyone could find a good way to work out,” says club member Jim Fink of the exercise options, complemented by locker room saunas and whirlpool baths to maximize recovery.
It’s true that there’s no shortage of great bars and restaurants in Tokyo. Look hard enough and you’ll also find a gym that suits your particular needs. But to find all of this combined with a cosmopolitan pool of members is nearly impossible. That’s what truly sets Tokyo American Club Nihonbashi apart.
Feature image by Kohji Shiiki