Anyone like me, who dreams of traveling to Japan but can’t quite afford a plane ticket would be well-advised to make a trip to Yopparai. This hidden gem located on the upper level of a nondescript building on New York City’s Lower East Side is the perfect sake bar, which is fitting since the name translates loosely to drunkard. From the attentive, all Japanese staff, to the classic jazz on the speakers, to the shaved ice and wooden boxes that house your sake, to the beautifully minimal design with features like built-in bar benches that double as storage lockers for bags and coats you will feel like you were transported directly to Tokyo. The draw is their expansive sake collection, featuring some delicious unfiltered selections, but the food is worthy of high praise by itself. It’s unlikely Yopparai is going to find itself on any Cheap Eats lists but given the quality of both service and ingredients (Yopparai is Michelin guide 2014 recommended) you will definitely get your money’s worth from this unique experience. I can’t wait to go back.

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