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As is the tradition with old-school 'snack bars', this spot is run by a ‘mama’, Rumi Kazama, to whom you can chat while drinking shochu and eating cheese curry bread and spare ribs. There’s also karaoke on offer for those who think they’ve got talent. The cover charge is a little hefty at ¥3,000 but, in this case especially, perhaps it’s worth it to get the chance to meet the owner. Kazama, who is a bundle of cute, vivacious energy, was a successful Japanese pro-wrestling star in her younger years and as we sit down to share a drink on the red velvet chairs that line the bar’s back wall, she points out posters of herself from back in the day. Up on the wall are also two of her pro-wrestling costumes, which she says she sometimes even dons for her customers’ entertainment. She took over ownership of Lumiére in mid-2014 and says she hasn’t changed a thing from its original appearance (aside from the wrestling garb, of course). Since it’s hidden on the fourth floor of a nondescript building, this feels more like you’re entering someone’s living room than walking into a bar off the street. But that’s all part of the snack bar allure.
401 Sankei Lumiere Yotsuya, 4-20 Funamachi, Shinjuku-ku
|Transport:||Yotsuya-Sanchome Station (Marunouchi line)|
|Opening hours:||7pm-12midnight / closed Sun|