Kurando, the proprietress at Shibuya ‘snack’ bar Utsubo Kazura, is an eager traveller. Originally from Saitama just north of Tokyo, she spent years running pop-up boozers at art fairs in the countryside before setting up her own joint in the capital in 2016. Although she spends most of her nights at the bar, Kurando occasionally wanders into competing establishments on her nocturnal journeys...
‘Before opening my own place for the night, I usually start out with a proper meal at Otechikiya (Towa Aoyama Bldg B02, 2-8-4 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, 03 3400 7071, 5pm-11pm, closed Sun & hols, 2nd Mon of the month), an eatery right by my bar. They specialise in local cuisine from Kagoshima prefecture down in Kyushu – think plenty of heirloom chicken and shochu – and I love the laidback country accents of the employees.
Another unmissable early-evening spot is Fujiya Honten (B1F, 2-3 Sakuragaokacho, Shibuya-ku, Mon-Fri 5pm-9.30pm, Sat 5pm-8.30pm, closed Sun & hols, 4th Sat of the month). This iconic, 130-year-old basement bar is as retro as it gets, and I love the old-school appetisers that go so well with Hoppy, a beer substitute that makes the basis for a crisp, refreshing DIY cocktail.
Later at night, I join the poor souls who’ve missed their last train home at the Aoyama branch of Chinese Cafe Eight (5-51-8 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, 8aoyama.com, 24 hours daily), which serves cheap Peking duck, is casual and always open.
That does it for me on most nights, but, if I’m feeling really energetic, I head to Sakuragaoka’s friendly Cataratas (Dolce Shibuya B2F, 16-14 Sakuragaokacho, Shibuya-ku, 03 3461 6615, from 6pm, closed Sun) for one last sip. They’ve got a great import beer selection.’