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Scottish themepubs

The occasion of my leaving the house yesterday was Mike Coleman's leaving do - one of the few people for whom I would consider switching off the PlayStation. We started off at a mock-British pub, one that appears to have sprung up in the last few months, as I don't remember seeing it before.

It's sited, rather incongruously, amongst the strip clubs, pornographic video shops and hostess bars of Kabukicho, the area of Shinjuku that much of the street scenery in Bladerunner is meant to be modelled on. Restaurant kitchens backing onto narrow alleys, pimps and hustlers loafing in doorways, neon, litter, ramen, shopfronts apparently advertising 5-by-7inch glossy pictures of numbered schoolgirls - and then this place. A mock Scottish (Mottish? Scockish?) basement bar. Tartan tablecloths, fine whiskies (and whiskeys) behind the bar, pamphlets from the sacred distilleries of the Highlands tastefully adorning the walls, and the usual shelves of dark brown, weathered items carefully chosen to scream "authentic".

They never get it quite right, though. Whisky yes, Scottish beer no. Guiness is Scottish, apparently. As is Carlsberg. And when was the last time you saw a Scots pub landlord in a bow tie and waistcoat? Who wipes the outside of the beer glass after pulling a pint, with a deadly serious expression on his face? Do locals really leave there thinking that this is what Scottish bars are really like? (Only one of the three bar staff behind the bar at any one point was actually allowed to do any serving, of course. The others just watched. Not lazily, though - attentively. Like they were on guard duty. This happens everywhere, though, and is a topic for another day.)

I know, I know; I'm being picky. Japan is as susceptible to bad imitation Scots and Irish pubs as Watford High Street, or anywhere else for that matter. This place was just horrid, though. Obsequious staff who will do everything for you short of actually serving you. 1050 yen (£5.97) for a pint. 630 yen for a Coke, for Christ's sake. The company was good, though; I met some interesting people and we lasted for a good few hours before rebelling, politely, and moving on to Footnik in Takadanobaba. Phew.

Footnik was much more fun. Watched the end of the Derby / Manchester United game; Derby won 1-0, actually, meaning they stay up next season. Which was nice. Then we tried to watch Arsenal / Leeds, but sort of gave up at half time and had a table football tournament instead. Modesty forbids me from boasting too much but, thanks to the solid skills of Alan at the back and some dogged attacking play, "Pain & Torment" triumphed over "Team Name", "London FC" and whatever the hell Alex and the other Chris's team was called. All in all, a fitting send-off for Mike and Yoko - they will be missed.

I finally wandered home at about 5am - the best thing about Footnik is that it's within easy walking distance of my flat. Today has been pleasantly hangover-free. The only affliction is the usual panic attack when I stray more than 15 feet from my PlayStation - so, nothing to worry about, really.

Posted by chris at May 6, 2001 08:02 PM | Permalink


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