I love standing bars. As a matter of fact, I spend 2-3 days a week grabbing some food and drinks there. The atmosphere gets you pumped up with waiters/waitresses bustling about the place, bringing highballs, beer and the like to your table. However, some places get so busy it’s hard for the staff to keep that golden smile up their entire shift. One place that manages to balance this well is Sosoya in Yokohama.
I might sound biased, considering I go there almost every week and I get along with the owner quite well, but that is solely because Sosoya provides the kind of atmosphere that keeps me coming back. It’s the little things like instead of saying the general “irasshaimase” they greet you with a “otsukaresama desu” which has more of the feeling of good work today, chill out and have a few drinks. This may not seem like a lot but after a hard day it can really raise your spirits.
As far as the menu you goes, there is so much that I wouldn’t be able to cover it all in just this article however, I’ll give you some of my favorites. First and foremost is the cheese tsukune, a sort of chicken meatball with cheese on top. This is unbelievable and without a day I never skip ordering it (unless it’s sold out). The other main dish I recommend is the fuji san moori, which has cuts of tuna and a tuna paste in a bowl along with cuts of seaweed with a little wasabi on the side. If you love tuna or fish for that matter this is a go-to on the menu.
Sosoya for me is more than just a bar but a place with a lot of random exciting encounters. Just like in the video, there have been many cases where another Japanese customer would insist on drinking with them or their group. Although you could argue this experience at any other place, I feel that the small size of Sosoya, and the upbeat atmosphere puts customers in a cheerful friendly mood. Needless to say a standing bar isn’t supposed to a place where you enjoy a few drinks and food and be on your way. It should be a place that creates a social environment that can be the spark to a wonderful evening. Sosoya is that place for me and I hope it can be for you as well.