Please note, 7 Tales in now closed. Time Out Editors, October 2018.
Pull back the slitted curtain – or ‘noren’ to Japanophiles – in the basement of Jason Atherton’s Sosharu restaurant and you’ll find 7 Tales: an achingly cool cocktail bar that’s a homage to Tokyo. The walls are plastered with black-and-white images of the city’s street signage, and the glow from a cheeky neon sign that says ‘drink sake stay soba’ warms the room as well as setting the playful tone. It’s not pure silliness, though – the music selection is slick-as-hell hip hop and staff are just plain charming.
Tongue-in-cheek continues in one of the bar’s most popular drinks, the Champagne Papi – a fizzing glass of champagne and umeshu (Japanese plum liqueur) lightly infused with banana that comes, according to the menu, with a side of ‘vending machine’. We were presented with instructions and a token to take to a colourful machine, out from which popped a Kinder Egg-style pod carrying a Japanese proverb and an absinthe-soaked sugar cube.
We plopped it in and revelled in the sweet transformation. A frothy, bittersweeet Amarito came minus any horseplay, but cocktails don’t need it when they’re this flawless.
The pre-dinner cocktail hour can get quite busy with early restaurant diners, but 7 Tales should be a destination in its own right. Don’t forget to order exceptional bar snacks and check out the heated toilets for extra kicks. You know, if that vending machine isn’t enough fun for you.