The swirling motion of the striped lamp evokes a barber’s pole, reassuring me that I’ve discovered the suitable spot – not for a haircut, however for a skillfully blended drink. As I push open the heavy door on the backside of the steps, a dapper man carrying a felt hat greets me with the air of a circus ringleader. It’s clear that one thing particular is about to occur.
Certainly, from April 24 to July 10, the Barcelona speakeasy Bobby is free take over Abajo, the underground cocktail bar adjoining to the Spanish restaurant Tinc Gana in Tokyo’s Ichigaya district. Jérôme Quilbeuf — who, along with Tinc Gana and Abajo, runs Gracia within the Hiroo area and My Casa in Kamakura, in addition to his shop specializing in the eponymous cheesecake in Ginza – approached Bobby’s Free proprietor Eric Basset with the concept of popping up after Abajo opened in late January.
“I am a chef, not a bartender, so this is a chance to study in probably the greatest bars in Barcelona,” Quilbeuf says with fun. “Plus, we’re each French with companies in Spain, so we’ve quite a bit in widespread.”
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