Nearly hidden from view, down a steep and narrow flight of steps lurks Decibel Sake Bar, a low lit sake destination. The space is small with few tables, so groups of six or more could get a bit crowded here. There is no standing room once inside, so you must make it past the keeper of the rope before you're admitted. Thankfully our group got there early enough to be allowed in an managed to grab a much coveted table. By the time we left, hours and hours later, the line went out the door.
The space is filled with dark corners and odd details. For example, our table had a pit in the middle of it with a huge metal fish and dull spike hanging that would sometimes twirl around and get near our eyes (until a kind waiter fixed it). I am sure there is a functional reason for this table decoration but we were having such a fun time gabbing that we really didn't even question it. With the graffiti walls, dark shadows, and constant murmur – it feels like a secret meeting spot. And in some ways it is. Despite the line, Decibel's popularity is due to word of mouth more than hype.
Renowned for an extensive sake menu, which is a pretty intimidating two page tome of unknown wonders. Happily Jim and I went with that new old standby for us, the excellent Wakatake. We also branched out an each tried a glass of other kinds, but because a bottle had already been consumed, I'm afraid I can't recall what their names. If you were more serious minded about it though, an intensive crash course in sake could be acquired here.
Don't fear if you end up here and are not a huge sake fan. There are a few beers to choose from and cocktails too. My friends can recommend the sake-tini and the kamikaze. There is also a great lineup if foods for nourishment. We shared some edamame, rice crackers, Okonomiyaki (vegetable pancake with bonito flakes) – I've had this dish before at the nearby and delicious Otafuku), but this experience was unique. The heat of the pancake was making the bonito flakes move around, giving the thrilling illusion that it was alive? Spooky! Wasabi Shumai were our last and best dish, piping hot and full of that wasabi kick, this is one I'd repeat indefinitely on future visits. I have been wanting to go here for years and the experience was all I could ask for.
And thanks, Sarah for the lovely photos!