'Coffee Only' reads the sign outside Café de l'Ambre, which has been keeping the Ginza hordes well caffeinated since 1948. Remarkably, it's still run by the same man – Ichiro Sekiguchi, now just a few years shy of his 100th birthday – though he's entrusted some younger tykes to handle the day-to-day running of the place. Though they treat their coffee with the utmost seriousness, this isn't one of those fussy, killjoy coffee temples where conversation has to be conducted in furtive whispers and customers need a secret handshake to get through the door (we exaggerate, but only slightly). On a recent weekday afternoon visit, it was packed and only marginally less raucous than an average izakaya, with all of the tables taken and only a couple of vacant seats at the bar. The interior looks like it was last remodeled in the early '80s, although some of the equipment is clearly much older, and it's also the only coffee shop we've visited that has a washing machine behind the counter, on account of the cloth filters used when preparing drinks. Take your pick between a lone blend coffee and 30-odd single origin varieties, including a good number of aged coffees. The air of accessibility extends to English-language menus, and practically demands that you order something odd: we end up plumping for an 18-year-old Brazilian Bourbon variety that's downright intense.
|Venue name:||Café de l'Ambre||Contact:|
8-10-15 Ginza, Chuo-ku
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat 12noon-10pm, Sun & hols 12noon-7pm|
|Transport:||Shinbashi Station (Yamanote, Keihin-Tohoku, Tokaido, Ginza, Asakusa lines)|