Hundredth Time’s a Charm


Nearly three and a half years have passed since I moved to Tsu. Many of the restaurants and bars around the area have suffered my presence at least once; however, some places have escaped my notice and others, I have passed over. Vitamin Bar falls into the latter category.

Located on Shinmachi Doori (新町通), I must have walked by a hundred times. Certainly, I noticed it there, but never felt curious enough to enter. Those who know my nature will realize how noteworthy it is when someplace doesn’t invite at least one visit from me. I can’t say what about the bar left it below my threshold, but there it was for years.

Last night, we were having a birthday party for one of the teachers. No planning had been done, so we had to find a place that could handle a rush of nine foreigners at 9:30pm. A lot of restaurants are taking the last round of orders at that time, and the few popular restaurants open past that hour have long waiting lines for parties of two and four. Someone recommended the Vitamin Bar and I, having passed by to see no customers inside, figured it was our best shot.

The bar is lined with old bottles of beer from all over the world. The “menu” is a cold case, holding one each of several beers. I say “menu” because it’s really the stock as well. We rummaged through the cooler and pulled out an assortment of nine drinks and the birthday party was under way. My discovery on the icebox adventure was a bottle of Long Hammer IPA from Ballard’s own Red Hook brewery. Feeling thirsty, I later found a Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery Tadcaster Celebrated Oatmeal Stout. This took me back to my time working in Warwick, England.

At the end of the evening, I got the usual reminder that I have expensive taste, when the bartender told me my tab. I think I chose the two priciest bottles from his stash.

I think 18 people could be shoe-horned into this little hole in the wall. The owner was quite congenial. I have to say, I was mistaken to overlook it. The lack of customers might make it a good spot for the next spontaneous party.


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