Maduro Lounge Premium booze and all that Jazz at Tokyo Grand Hyatt.
It had been a fair few years since I had visited Maduro- the Tokyo Grand Hyatt’s plush Jazz bar located in Roppongi Hills. The entrance is a little hidden, its large wooden doors tucked away in between floors of the plush five-star property.
It’s a Thursday and the bar has just opened its doors, no band yet and it’s relaxingly quiet. Besides me, 3 suits are finishing off the day's business over a drink and two couples are having an aperitif before dinner.
The interior is exactly what you would expect for a luxury jazz joint. Tastefully backlit, comfortable chairs and round candlelit tables are around a typical jazz band stage. To the right is the bar, boasting a hefty selection of rare whiskeys-more on that later. I settle into a back table and peruse the menu.
If you are an early bird to this luxurious jazz joint-- they have an excellent offer: Their ‘Regalo Night’ is a two-and-a-half-hour plan that includes the table charge, a set drinks menu, some light tapas, and the first set of the show. At ¥7,000 it's an absolute steal (considering the quality of the drinks and entertainment) and is a no-brainer for pre-dinner drinks or an après-boardroom decompress.
Maduro is known for its cocktails, popular staples like premium champagne sherbet with locally sourced fruits, craft gin and tonic, and the most popular, a scrumptious Mojito. I try the latter, and it’s the perfect start to the evening. It's got plenty of mint and a not-too-sweet balance, allowing the rich premium rum flavor to sit front and center on the palate. While I am immersed in my beverage the band almost ease into position almost unnoticed and begins with an instrumental tune. I forgot how good the sound is here, hearing every single nuance from the trio on the stage but at a comfortable level where you can talk normally with your companions makes the perfect ambiance. The singer, on this evening, from Brazil, slinks onto the stage; an enchanting voice, mellow and soothing almost whispering the sensual sounds of her home. Bossa played by a band with some serious jazz chops is the theme, and I’m loving it.
The Grand Hyatt Tokyo F&B Director, Thomas Angerer drops by to say hello, an affable and knowledgeable connoisseur, with 20 years’ experience at the Hyatt group, having opened three properties in Istanbul, Australia and Dubai at the respective properties as Executive chef, obviously relishing his current role, mingling with the customers like myself. He is clearly passionate about creating a wide array of experiences at the Grand Hyatt the group's flagship hotel in Tokyo. When I asked him about the challenge of his Tokyo role he says: ‘I love it, It’s an enjoyable but relentless search for perfection. But what better city to do it in than Tokyo?’.
What better indeed. I enjoy our discussion about the extensive whiskey available at Maduro. I try the in-style and in-demand Japanese Ichiro whiskey, an original branded blend for Maduro, produced at the main Chichibu distillery, and my word! what a superlative drop it is. They produced an initial run of 400 bottles last year and at ¥60,000 a bottle it’s as smooth as they come, with a heady after taste that delightfully rasps, mimicking the sustained notes on the contrabass in front of me.
I casually inquire as to what would be the rarest of the whiskeys in house and was whispered that there is a Macallan Red Ribbon 1950, for those with a flair for the occasion. For a more down-to-earth option for anyone coming through Tokyo who would like to try a few different vintages, the bar can prepare an Isley whiskey tasting course consisting of Lagavulin 16 yr, Caol Ila 25 yr, Port Ellen 35 yr.
The Maduro is also a cigar bar, and during the Olympics next year it will probably be one of the only places where you can enjoy a stogie. Thomas tells me there are 25 Cuban and Dominican Republic cigars available. Interestingly, Maduro will offer its very own original cigar, currently being developed and available at the bar next year. There is a large standing table in front of the bar where you can smoke freely, but non-smokers needn’t worry as the ventilation above this area is state-of-the art and impact on the air quality is very minimum.
After enjoying a Davidoff Grand Cru No. 3, l wanted something to cap off the evening and settled with a 1967 Armagnac brandy, which was so smooth, it almost drank itself. I nursed that through the third set and decided it was time to float home.
As I bid farewell to the Maduro and the attentive staff, I become aware that this bar is the best of its kind in Japan, it comes with a price, but the difference is how consistent and enjoyable the service, music, and drinks are no matter when you come.
Like a nostalgic evening with an old friend, I vow for it not to be too long since we meet again, and I think it won’t be.
Weekday 4 stages from 20:00-23:00
Weekend 5 stages from 20:00-01:00