I remember the very first time I watched Lost in Translation. It was on a flight to New York and I just remember falling completely head over heels in love with the movie. I had already visited Japan several times at that point and for some reason, everything in the film just made complete sense to me and I knew that I would have to visit the Park Hyatt Hotel in Tokyo myself and have a drink (or two) in the New York Bar. It took a few more years before I managed to visit but it was as special as I had hoped it would be. In fact after visiting again and again each time I travelled to Japan, I would say that it’s my favourite bar in the world.
The Park Hyatt Hotel is located in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo and takes up the top 14 floors of the 52 storey Shinjuku Park Tower building. From JR Shinjuku Station, it’s an easy 10-15 minute walk through the bustling Shinjuku streets but there is also a complimentary hotel shuttle bus if you prefer not to walk.
Once at the hotel, you have to first take an elevator from the entrance to the 41st floor where the hotel lobby is located. There are signs that lead you through the library and to another elevator which will take you to the New York Bar on the 52nd floor. As soon as the elevator doors open, you are greeted by the amazing staff of the New York Bar as well as your first amazing view of Tokyo below.
I have always arrived at the New York Bar just after it opens at 5:00pm. The reason for this is there is no cover charge at this time. The cover charge applies from 8:00pm on Monday to Saturday and from 7:00pm on Sunday nights. The cover charge is ¥2400 (£14) per person however hotel guests are exempt from this charge. A dress code also applies at all times.
Also at this time, the bar is very quiet so in all but one of my visits I have been lucky enough to be sat at one of the tables next to the windows with an incredible view of Tokyo at dusk before seeing the unforgettable magical night time view of the city with all the twinkling lights for miles around.
Another advantage to arriving at the New York Bar when it opens is if you are a Lost in Translation fan then this will be one of the only times to get your photo taken sitting on the same bar stool as Bill Murray in the film. The bar gets very busy throughout the evening and it is preferred that you use consideration when taking photos in the bar so not to disrupt other guests – not a problem when it is quiet and I have found that the staff are more than happy to help take your photo for you at this time.
I know it’s clichéd but I nearly always order an “LIT” cocktail – has to be done. The Lost in Translation cocktail consists of Sake, Sakura Liqueur, Peachtree and Cranberry Juice and is delicious. There are plenty of other drinks on the menu to choose from.
The service in the New York Bar is outstanding as you would expect in Japan. The one thing I do love is that they do not hassle you to order another drink to get you out of the bar as quickly as possible to free up the table where you are sitting. I have always ordered another drink regardless because of the atmosphere being absolutely perfect. The alcoholic cocktails start from about ¥1800 (£11) each so although they are not cheap, I think they are worth every penny.
There is no band playing before 8:00pm (7:00pm on Sundays) but this does not take away from the experience at all. I have always left shortly before the cover charge starts every time I have visited – the hardest part of leaving is not paying the bill but having to drag yourself away from that incredible night time view of Tokyo outside. However if it were a special occasion, I would have absolutely no hesitation in paying the cover charge in order to spend an amazing evening at the New York Bar.
It has now been over a year since my last visit to Japan and writing this has just confirmed to me how much I miss the most amazing country in the world – I really need to go back and hopefully sooner rather than later.