Famed cocktail bar in Tokyo’s glitzy Ginza district by legendary Japanese bartender Hidetsugu Ueno

bar high five tokyo

October 18th, 2017


Consistently highly placed on lists of Asia and the world’s top bars, BAR HIGH FIVE is one of Tokyo’s stand out destinations for sublime drinks and traditional Japanese bartending. Founded in 2008 by the internationally celebrated bartender Hidetsugu Ueno, BAR HIGH FIVE is located in the heart of the glamorous Ginza shopping and lifestyle district. Occupying a compact basement space of an office building, Bar High Five epitomises the legendary service ethos of Tokyo’s premium bars, refreshed with subtle nods to contemporary mixology.  Drawn by the legendary bartending skills of its founder, BAR HIGH FIVE features prominently on the itineraries of visiting cocktail enthusiasts, members of international bar community – while primarily attracting a discerning and knowledgeable local clientele.

Prior to opening his own bar, Ueno-san honed his bartending skills at the nearby Star Bar – one of Ginza’s most famous high-end bars. A master of both the “hard shake” technique – and the art of hand-carved ice, in recent years Ueno-san has garnered international recognition through his judging role with annual Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year competition.

Cocktails – At BAR HIGH FIVE there is no drink menu – the bartenders engage with the guests and establish spirits and taste preferences before creating their bespoke cocktails. In addition to the polished cocktail service, the expansive back bar showcases an impressive collection of several hundred Japanese and Scotch whiskies.  Among the signature cocktails of Ueno-san are the “Ceremony”– featuring all-Japanese ingredients – Hakusha Whisky, Hermes Green Tea, and Suntory Matcha; and another locally inspired cocktail – “Full Bloom” – with Kinobi Gin, Cherry Blossom and Luxardo.

The classic bar interior features a showpiece 12-seat timber bar counter, timber panelling and flooring, while a plush green velvet banquette together with several small table settings are found at one end of the room. Reservations are not taken – but if phoned ahead an available seat will be held at the bar for 10 minutes only. Opening hours are Monday through Saturday from 5 pm to 11:30 pm last entry – bar closes 1 am; closed on Sundays and national holidays.


BAR HIGH FIVE cocktails

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    Full Bloom - Kinobi Gin, Cherry Blossom, Luxardo
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    Ceremony - Hakusha Whisky, Hermes Green Tea, Suntory Matcha
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    Yoichi Highball - Yoichi Whisky, soda water, hand-carved ice
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    Hidetsugu Ueno - owner/head bartender