What does it take to be one of the world’s top 50 bars?

18 September, 2019 by Andy Young

This week Bars and Clubs talked to Hiroyasu Kayama about his world top 50 bar Bar BenFiddich and his approach to drinks and hospitality.

Hiroyasu Kayama has a unique approach to cocktails and to what he offers in his bar, with no menu and a lot of his own home-grown ingredients, it is fascinating to understand more about how he creates drinks for his guests.

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So, Bars and Clubs sat down with Hiro to chat about this approach, his farm-to-bar ethos and how he is the first person to bring the Japanese food concept of Kochu Chomi into the world of drinks.

In explaining the concept behind his Bar BenFiddich in Tokyo, Hiro said: “Bar BenFiddich has been open for six years, I create a lot of cocktails because I have a farm and I grow my own plants. This is what I bring to the bar to create the cocktails.

“I don’t have a menu in the bar, but people in Japan are very happy to wait while we talk about the kind of drink they like and then I make them a drink.”

So with no menu, the question is how do people know what they can drink? Firstly the bar is small, with just eight seats and two tables, so it is a much more intimate setting, which means Hiro is able to talk with the customers in much more detail about drinks.

“Because there are a lot of bottles on the back bar, it can be really hard to make a choice, so first I welcome the guests and then ask them what they like and which way they would like to go with their drinks. It’s all about communication. Because there is no menu that personal interaction with the guests like almost like deep-diving. So it is very common for me to get to know my guests and get to know what they like through a lot of communication.”

It’s this type of interaction that has helped elevate Bar BenFiddich to be one of the world’s best bars, Hiro adds: “I try to get close to the guests and communicate with them and this helps to create relationship with the guest, which hopefully makes their experience and special one and helps them to enjoy the drinks we make.”

To find out what Hiro has done in bringing the Japanese concept of “Kochu chomi” to drinks, head to the Bars and Clubs website.