It’s a glorious day, folks, because we’ve discovered a hidden, members-only bar that restores our flagging faith in hidden, members-only bars. Leave it to the Japanese. Since we’ve been sworn to secrecy, we can say only that Bohemian, the soon-to-open Noho sister of a bar in the Nishiazabu district of Tokyo, is tucked into the back of a building that used to belong to Andy Warhol. To reach the front door, you pass through a hallway dubbed “Basquiat Road” (the artist died in his loft at this address). Once you’ve used your swipe key to get in (only 200 will be distributed), you’re in an apartmentlike, low-ceilinged room containing just 25 plush seats, including a couple of couches and a six-seat yellow pine bar. The white-walled room is Zen simplicity, from the back bar made of tatami mats to a diorama-like mini Zen garden built into one wall to a central skylight that facilitates the art of “tsukimi sake” (moonlight boozin’). Once a liquor license is secured (the owners are hoping for a mid-May opening), bartenders of B Flat and Angel’s Share caliber will serve a mix of signature and classic Asian and American cocktails, plying their craft with such precision that each time they present a drink, they’ll shine a spotlight on it.
Kiyotaka Shinoki, formerly the executive chef at Chanto, tells us Bohemian will be more of a restaurant in the evening. He’ll serve a mix of American, French, and Japanese small plates (everything from a burger with homemade pickles to beef-heart carpaccio), and then later in the night, until 2 a.m., the space will take on a lounge vibe, with bossa nova, jazz, and Japanese music. As with the Tokyo original that’s hidden behind a house, there won’t be any standing room, just seating at a row of low-to-the-ground two-tops and a couple of couches. In fact, Shinoki says he wants to maintain a maximum 60 percent capacity. Given that he hasn’t hired a PR company like some members-only clubs, that may well be possible. Again, we can’t share the secret number, but if you know Japanese, Bohemian’s website might help you along the path.