Must-Visit Japanese-Style Cocktail Bars In Southeast Asia | CoolJapan

In Japanese culture, there's a concept called omotenashi: the art of hospitality. From high-end establishments to the humblest ryokans, this spirit of hospitality — where the host wholeheartedly takes care of their guests’ needs — is clearly evident. Even outside the country, Japanese-style cocktail bars practice omotenashi, where highly-trained mixologists take pride in paying meticulous attention to each customer and the drinks served to patrons.

Enjoy a taste of omotenashi with our guide to the best Japanese-style cocktail bars in Southeast Asia.

D.Bespoke (Singapore)

Ranked 25 on Asia's 50 Best Bars, this Ginza-inspired bar offers a quiet, discreet space to unwind over expertly prepared concoctions. As its name suggests, D.Bespoke is where you can enjoy customised cocktails mixed by head mixologist Daiki Kanetaka, who trained under the famed Hidetsugu Ueno. Tasting flights and neat spirits are also available. With overstuffed leather armchairs and soft jazz piped in through speakers, you can easily while away an entire evening in this cosy 28-seat space.

Bar Shake (Kuala Lumpur)

Helmed by industry veteran Osamu "Sam" Kinugawa, the man behind the chic Bar NEMS in Tokyo, this cosy Japanese-style cocktail bar is well known for their fruit and sake-based concoctions. Kinugawa is particularly adept at putting a unique spin on time-honoured cocktails: using a Koji shochu as a substitute for gin in the classic G&T which gives the drink a refreshing citrusy flavour; smoking a Smoky Martini with cherry wood for 30 seconds for added aroma and more. Linked to the popular Sushi Ryu next door, this minimalist chic space is the perfect venue for after-dinner drinks.

Salon du Japonisant / Bacchus showcase (Bangkok)

Tucked within a corner shop house, this charming bar is led by the equally charismatic Kei Sawada. Originally set up by Bacchus Global — the local importer and distributor of whiskey labels such as Yamazaki and Hibiki — this Japanese-style cocktail bar showcases its collection of spirits via a carefully curated cocktail menu. Try the Roasted Bancha, which is a twist on the Old Fashioned with the addition of roasted green tea leaves for that smoky aroma, or the Mojito, where mint-and-brown-sugar-infused shochu is used in place of rum. There is also an impressive list of high-end Japanese wines available.

Odin (Phnom Penh)

Amidst a burgeoning cocktail bar scene in Cambodia's capital, this "authentic Japanese" bar stands out. Headed by Ryoichi "Shimo" Shimoda, a young but highly knowledgeable whiskey aficionado, this dimly-lit bar is outfitted with furniture imported from Tokyo and is popular with young professionals looking for a luxurious drinking experience. Here, you’ll be spoilt for choice with over 400 bottles of rare whiskey, bourbon and cognac available.