Sake Genkabar, the Perfect Place If You Are New to Japanese Sake

Japanese sake can be intimidating. Although you may have a rough idea of what sake is, once you are in Japan there are so many varieties. And with colorful labels and often more colorful names it can be hard to choose what to order. Plus, the fact that most menus are only available in Japanese makes a visit to a restaurant or sake bar a little daunting for many.

So the trick is to find places that bridge the gap, ideally those that provide an English menu and have a passion for sharing their knowledge to make your sake experience more fun!

Entrance: Sake Genkabar

Sake Genkabar is exactly that place, serving amazing sake combined with great Japanese hospitality. With a few locations around Tokyo, it is easily accessible, foreigner-friendly and great with big groups. They even take reservations for each branch through their online reservation system. Visiting could not be easier. Once you pay the admission fee, you can enjoy Japanese sake to your hearts content! The restaurants are generally quite spacious, just keep in mind this is still Japan, so you may be squeezed together a little. But this, too, is what makes the charm of a traditional Japanese izakaya.


The concept is simple, tapas-style dishes combined with small and extremely affordable bottles of sake in a relaxed and casual atmosphere. It feels like a local izakaya, without being too scary and the staff are incredibly friendly and outgoing, ready to help and eager to explain.

The Sake

As a sake sommelier, I love the sake menu. Featuring a variety of premium sake from all around the country, the menu also categorizes each sake according to different taste profiles such as dry, fresh or fruity, making it easy for you to order. But if you do need a little bit of help, the knowledgeable staff are happy to make suggestions. Once you have decided, small glass vials will promptly arrive, filled with the sake of your choice and beautifully labeled for you to know which is which. Not just practical but also highly Instagram-worthy.


I would recommend getting the sparkling Dassai as a starter. But be careful, at 13% this one really has a kick to it. And make sure to also order at least one sake from their seasonal menu sometime throughout the night. These might be a little more expensive, but often feature high-end premium sake that is hard to find. The key and the most exciting part about drinking sake is to try a few, compare and hopefully find something you love.

How About Food?

As for the food, the beauty of these restaurants is that the dishes are already designed to go well with Japanese sake. They offer regional specialties from all over Japan, such as Osaka’s famous kushikatsu (fried vegetables and meat on sticks), to name just one that I love. You may also be surprised to find a rather extravagant cheese board on the menu too! If you think this is a strange pairing, let me tell you, it is a match made in heaven and a must-try!

What Else Is There to Say?

As a sake lover, Sake Genkabar is one of my favorite places to drink sake and my go-to restaurant when I have friends visiting from overseas. With a commitment to serving a great selection of sake along with great dishes in a traditional Japanese environment, it is the perfect place to discover sake. With the comfort of a menu that is easy to understand and staff who are eager to help, I promise you will leave Sake Genkabar with at least one surprising sake discovery, a belly full of tasty food and a hunger to come back for more.

Sake Genka Bar - Shimbashi-2 Branch

1F, 2F Tomita Building, 1-18-13, Shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0004
Monday-Friday 15:00 - 23:30
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 14:00-23:30
*Please check the website for current opening hours of each store.
Admission Fee
490 yen
Cindy Bissig

written by Cindy Bissig

Cindy is a Tokyo based content creator and certified Sake Sommelier. Her goal is to share her obsession for Japan, teach you about Sake and show you the local hidden treasures that she finds on her travels.