Bars and pubs, Wine bars Roppongi

Tokyo's first bar to specialise in natural wines is still one of its best. Shonzui opened in 1993, and its combination of unusual wines and hearty bistro-style food have made it a popular spot on the Roppongi circuit ever since. The action is spread across two rooms, painted in warm reds and oranges and bathed in the kind of convivial glow that far too many wine bars struggle to replicate. Owner Shinsaku Katsuyama is revered in Japanese wine circles, but he doesn't seem to have let the adulation get to him: there's no snobbishness here (and trust us: we looked for it), while the prices are far from outrageous, at least by Roppongi standards. Even if Katsuyama isn't on duty, the sommelier can recommend wines to suit your mood (which on a recent trip included an intense, complex Domaine Léon Barral Faugères 2009). The food is as big a draw as the wine list, with selections likely to include pate, steak and cassoulet. Note that reservations are strongly recommended, though it's sometimes possible for lone diners and couples to snag a table without booking ahead.


Venue name: Shonzui
Address: 2F, 7-10-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 6.30pm-11pm; Sat 6.30pm-9pm / closed Sun & hols
Transport: Roppongi Station (Oedo, Hibiya lines), Nogizaka Station (Chiyoda line)
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