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Bar Tram & Bar Trench, Tokyo: Absinthe Goes East

The green fairy has flown France and found herself a new home in Tokyo at darkly debonair pair Bar Tram and Trench.

It has been 130+ years since the likes of Baudelaire and Verlaine flittered with la feé verte in the cafés of C.19th Paris, but half a world away in a hip little pocket of Ebisu, the Wilde days of the Belle Époque live on at Bar Tram and Trench , two bohemian imbibers devoted to all things absinthe.

Bigger Bar Tram is a dimly lit den of red velvet, aesthete-approved accents and shadowy recesses where modern dandies tinker with authentic slotted sugar spoons and drip fountains. Those that are worried about wormwood-induced hallucinations needn’t fret – the drink’s psychoactive properties are as misguided as Van Gogh’s potato period – but novices can start slowly with green muse-infused cocktails like the Bitter End (Cointreau, lemon, orange and egg white) or keep it sweet with a spiked ice-cream.

Tram-p two blocks down and you’ll find little sib Bar Trench. Lined with bottles, books and a second-floor shelf that hosts the occasional jazz muso, the bitsy counter-seater serves up a shorter, seasonally-changing selection of absinthe-imbued tipples ranging from a trad Tuxedo (made with Monkey 47, Maraschino and orange bitters) to the strangely enticing, yoghurt-based Go Lassi. For the staunch anti-aniseeders there are also spirited classics like the Old Etonian and Tronto, or ask one of the mixmasters to shake you up the current ‘emotional essence’ offering, a scentuous sip designed to invoke a particular sentiment through smell. This natty nook may be the younger of the two, but she’s a gal after our own hearts.

Bar Tram, 2/F, 1-7-13 Ebisunishi, Shibuya, Tokyo, +81 3 5489 5514,
Bar Trench, 1-5-8 Ebisunishi, Shibuya, Tokyo, +81 3 3780 5291,

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