Whether you’re looking to plug in your laptop and get some work done in a chic environment or while away the afternoon in a dedicated coffee-tasting session, Tokyo’s Ebisu neighbourhood has something for you.
Just one stop on the train from Shibuya lies Ebisu, the former’s classier, hipper older sister. By night, this area is filled with merrymaking salarymen enjoying the various bars and izakaya (Japanese pub). In the daylight hours, the discerning office workers and residents of this chic, upmarket neighbourhood require coffee and refreshment, and Ebisu delivers.
Cafe, Coffee, $$$
With comfy sofas and aeroplane-style windows that provide views of incredible street art, Pile Café is so uncool it’s almost on-trend. Despite being located less than two minutes from Ebisu station, Pile has a cosy tucked-away feel, partly because it’s rather difficult to find. The pasta and the latte art are worth it, though.
If you’re looking for a more serene coffee experience, walk seven minutes from the station to a residential part of Ebisu. Here, you’ll find drip bar COFFEE AND CRAFTS, a creative hideaway where time moves slowly, and coffee is taken seriously. The proprietor typically writes six of the daily brews on the blackboard, in order of strength. For ¥1,000 (£6.82), you can order a “tasting set” in which you get two coffees of your choice to savour and compare (ask for nomi-kurabe). Upstairs is a charming gallery and shop, as well as the studio of a working jewellery maker.
Vegans and Muslims sometimes struggle to find good lunch options in Tokyo, but not so in Ebisu. Just off the main road, this young independent café has been turning the heads of Japanese food bloggers and the beauty community. Not only is the entirety of the menu halal and free from animal products, but it also favours organic ingredients with no chemical seasoning. Food is a mixture of salads and Asian-fusion cuisine, and the highlights of the drink offerings are the health teas and the smoothie of the day. Well-priced lunch sets make this a great choice for those on a budget.
Although Ebisu’s izakaya are traditional, many of its daytime cafés and restaurants tend towards a modern style. Those looking for a classic coffee shop where they can spend a relaxing few hours should head to Loger Café, where cosy leather sofas and standing lamps abound. Food is Western style, complete with excellent desserts, but Loger’s unique selling point has to be its adorable latte art, with cute bears, bunnies and cats available. In the evening, Loger functions as a laid-back bar.
Yebisu Garden Palace feels like stepping into a European fairytale tucked away in upscale Tokyo. At its centre is The Westin, an opulent luxury hotel. If staying in one of the plushy rooms is out of your reach this visit, the hotel’s lounge is open for discerning café hoppers. Enjoy English-style afternoon tea, complete with scones and cake, while you sink back into the luxurious Rococo decor. The Lounge also boasts views of The Westin Garden, with the gorgeous greenspace adding to the feel of tranquillity. It’s not cheap but still a perfect option for those looking to inject a little elegance into their lives.