For longtime fans and newbies to the classic mojito, look no further than GINZA 300BAR, the only bar in the world to have its mojitos made with organic mint recognized by the Cuban government.
In 1992, GINZA 300BAR opened in Ginza as an unpretentious place to drink in the center of Tokyo. A pioneer in Japan of Western-style bars where patrons stand while drinking, GINZA 300BAR continues to evolve and innovate — such as using homegrown organic herbs — while keeping one key element the same over the past 25 years: the cost for a drink or food remains ¥300 plus tax, with no cover charge.
GINZA 300BAR has been careful about expansion, with the original Ginza 5-chome establishment followed by the Ginza 8-chome branch near Shinbashi Station in 2005 and GINZA 300BAR Next near Hibiya and Yurakucho stations in 2014. Despite the low prices, the group takes great care in selecting ingredients and offerings for its menu.
Take the popular mojitos, made with Havana Club rum and using organic, pesticide-free mint. Five years ago, GINZA 300BAR decided to cultivate homegrown organic herbs for use in food and drinks in its bars through an arrangement with Tohoku Bokujo, the group company’s farm in Aomori Prefecture. The homegrown organic mint harvested there has been used in the mojitos since 2013. This attention to serving quality, safe ingredients means that, due to the weather in Aomori, the organic mint can only be sourced in warmer months. Thus, GINZA 300BAR only serves mojitos from April to mid-December.
Even so, GINZA 300BAR sells some 40,000 mojitos every year. The staff has received lectures on making tasty mojitos from Cuban bartenders at the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba, and on July 21, 2017, the Cuban Embassy gave GINZA 300BAR’s mojitos a certificate of recognition, the first such honor in the world.
All cocktails can be tailored to one’s wishes, so for those wishing for a stronger drink, just ask the friendly staff.
As for beer, Heineken is one of the choices available on tap for only ¥300. GINZA 300BAR is No. 1 in terms of sales of Heineken among all standing-only bars in Japan. Bar staff go to great lengths to know about the products they sell, so it was no surprise that in October 2017 some staff went to Amsterdam to visit Heineken headquarters to learn about the beer’s marketing and branding.
GINZA 300BAR also offers for ¥600 some premium bottled beer and select whiskies, including Japanese ones that sell out fast, but during happy hour from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily these items are only ¥300.
The food ranges from hamburger steaks to pizzas and salads. The golden chili potato is a popular plate of chili fries from a recipe concocted with the help of an American regular at the bar. The voluminous brochettes served with homemade herbal salt made using homegrown organic herbs are another must-try dish.
There are about 150 items on the menu, taking into account all the various cocktails, beer, liquor and food available.
The bar uses a ticket payment system where one ticket costs ¥300, and 11 tickets can be bought for the price of 10.
The welcoming atmosphere for foreign residents and visitors, with menus in English and friendly staff and patrons, makes for a fun and relaxing time.