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Jan 2004
Issue 044

KS Classifieds combined with Kansai Scene this issue!

Bars that Rock

Lately, rock has been enjoying a second coming. Last year, The Darkness strode manfully up the British charts while Ozzy charmed the MTV nation with his bumbling performances. Meanwhile, in Kansai, two bastions of the rock community have been rocking like they always have done, cranking the volume up to 11 along the way. Kyoto’s Bar Ing and Rock Rock in Shinsaibashi are by no means new bars, but, like all good rock bands, they deserve a tribute.

Bar Ing, Kyoto

Ing has been on the go for 5 years, inspired by The Rolling Stones’ 1998 tour to Japan.

Owner Hako (Box to his foreign friends), how-ever, seems like he’s been on the go for many a year before that, and is central to the bars character and friendly atmosphere. A Japanese Keith Richards, Box moved from another Kyoto institution, A-bar, to start his own bar, with resounding success. He’s there every night and will always accept a drink. His love for the Stones doesn’t get in the way of the atmosphere — while the music is a little predictable, it’s one of the reasons many people go there. Ing lacks any kind of pretensions, and since its humble beginnings has been the scene of many drunken rock-and-roll nights, with Hako always in the thick of things.

The staff break open the beers (about ¥400) with chopsticks, with wanton disregard for where the flying bottle caps go. The food is, as you might expect, basic, designed to keep you going through to morning. As ominous as it sounds, try the roast garlic — a whole bulb for only ¥400. The spicy chicken, for ¥550, will also line your stomach enough for the night.

Bar Ing
Kyoto Royal Bldg 2F, Takoyakushi,
Nishikiyamachi, Nagaokakyo, Kyoto
Nearest stations: Hankyu Kawaramachi station, Keihan Shijo Station
Open: 7 days a week, 6pm ‘til late
Tel: 075-255-5087



Rock Rock, Shinsaibashi

The Mecca of all things rock in Osaka, this is the place to come if you want to meet legends. Metallica stopped by after their seminal show in November last year, and owner/manager Seiji Okada lost count when he was telling me who else has stopped by. A short run-down includes Marilyn Manson and Kiss, along with (bizarrely enough) Keanu Reeves, and the signed memorabilia that you can see everywhere is testament to this. I met the guitarist from the Foo Fighters there one day last February. Rock Rock celebrated their 8th birthday last month, and during that time they have cemented their position as arguably the most famous rock bar in Kansai. Okada’s connections ensure that there is a steady stream of both regulars and honoured guests.

Located, suitably enough, above a goth clothing store called Garden for a Zealot, Rock Rock has the advantage of being in the thick of things. Although the Amerika-mura mood may have changed since Okada opened in ’95, Rock Rock remains a cornerstone of the area. Bartender Noxl Rose is also a Shinsaibashi celebrity.

Although there is currently no live space, Okada is considering a move to larger digs to accommodate the obvious demand for live music. Sundays are Hell’s Bells nights, with the finest of rock spun by their resident DJ, Mike. Drinks are averagely priced, and there is also a fairly extensive menu.

Rock Rock
Shinsaibashi Atrium Bldg 3F,
1-8-1 Nishishinsaibashi
Nearest Station: Shinsaibashi (Midosuji Line)
Open: 7 days a week, 7pm ‘til late.
Tel:/fax: 06-6244-6969


Text & Photos: Euan Mckirdy


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