Saturday, November 28, 2009

Bar Lupin

Those of you familiar with the Lupin III series probably know about Lupin's ancestry, and the fact that he's based on the original stories of Maurice LeBlanc's (1864-1941) "Gentleman Thief" - Arsene Lupin.

Bar Lupin first opened in Ginza in 1928, where it became the second home of writers like Ton Satomi, Kyoka Izumi Ken Kikuchi, Kafu Nagai and Yasunari Kawabata, as well as various painters, actors, and even medical practitioners. They renovated in 1935 to take on an L-shaped bar, and in 1941 the military government banned foreign names, so they renamed themselves "Pan-tei" ("Mansion Bread"). During the War, Ginza was the site of heavy bombing; although Lupin did escape a direct hit, the building became structurally unsound. Immediately after the War, the Urgent Bar Control Act prohibited the sale of alcohol, forcing Lupin to turn into a coffee shop while selling hard liquor secretly behind the scenes. Lupin remained a strong attraction to the publishing industry through all this. In 1972, water and gas leaks due to the building damage finally forced the owners tear the place down, so the bar owners tore out the interior and put it into storage. When the new structure was completed, the old interior was moved into the new basement in 1974.
-- From the pamphlet handed out at the bar.

(Sign board for Lupin.)

Lupin's just a few blocks from the JR Yurakucho station in a little side alley. I have no idea if there were any writers there that night, but the bartender did mix me up a smooth little martini, which was then followed by a splash of very good cognac. About 3400 yen for the two ($36 USD), but in Ginza, that's cheap. Arsene may be a thief, but he's a very elegant one. Good times.

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