by Suzy Small

Long before New Orleans was famous for hurricanes, the town was known for its music, warm hospitality and fantastic food. It’s this spirit of the pre-Katrina, New Orleans that’s evoked at Bourbon Street Bar. Tucked away in a side street not far from Roppongi Crossing, the relaxed atmosphere inside is a complete contrast to the chaos of Gaien Higashi Dori. Inside, you’ll find live music, great food and a cozy interior that manages to be both elegant and comfortable.

At the bar, twenty different wines by the glass, an incredible thirty-five different brands of bourbon and a long list of classic cocktails gives plenty of options. Mar­tinis are a specialty, and you can try Southern classics like a Mint Julep (¥1,500) or Sazerac (¥1,000). If you’re hungry, ordering appetizers from the adjacent Bourbon Street restaurant gives you the chance to try authentic Cajun cooking, too. Bourbon Street is a perfect venue for any kind of gathering, accommodating up to 35 peo­ple. The bar can be closed for private parties, and an open bar and spread of New Orleans style food puts eve­ryone in a celebratory mood. When I attended a recent party, there was none of the usual shyness among guests about being first to hit the buffet — just the smell of the Southern Fried Chicken was enough to start people picking up their plates, while the delicious spicy Jam-balaya and succulent Mardi Gras Shrimp ensured that almost everyone returned for seconds.

Whether you’re looking for somewhere to celebrate an occasion, or just a place to escape the winter weath­er and curl up with a nice glass of red, the laid-back at­mosphere at Bourbon Street makes it a natural choice. It really is the closest you’ll get to Southern-style hos­pitality here in Tokyo.

Bourbon Street Bar, 7-8-16 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Tel. 03-5786-2887. Mon-Sat, 6pm-2am (last order 1am).
Live music Tues-Sat (see for schedule).