R2 Supperclub: Tokyo’s secret speakeasy?
R2 calls itself a “supper club,” a concept reminiscent of the Prohibition days in America when speakeasies served as the hushed backdrop for late-night trysts and shady dealings.
Though the business here may be less sordid, R2 Supperclub is clearly targeting a monied expat crowd with its own mix of cocktails, cuisine and creativity. The venue is the latest project from ECN Holdings, the group behind Aoyama’s Two Rooms restaurant, and aims to deliver a higher-end nightlife experience in an area of town that is often criticized for lacking sophistication.
Located in an alley with two prominent Tokyo nightclubs as its neighbors, R2’s dark interior and unassuming entrance give way to a stark, open setting like a New York City artist’s loft.
There’s a splash of color in the oversized painting that’s the focal point of the club, but the owners’ vision is to showcase local artists’ work on the walls on a rotating basis in the future.
In fact, the whole venue is meant to be a creative hub largely dedicated to local talent. R2 Trio is the house band, consisting of a drummer, DJ and saxophonist, that plays upbeat jazz on Friday and Saturday nights.
Sundays are designated as a chill night with bossa nova, and Wednesdays are reserved for funk. Suzu of Fresco, a respected artist and musician who’s worked with hip-hop legends such as Pharcyde and The Roots, is collaborating with the owners to bring in new acts and a modern flavor to the lounge.
Latin-inspired cocktails such as mojitos, caipirinhas and margaritas are the drinks standards at R2. The novel-like food and beverage menu is overwhelming -- it may be simpler to just pick your favorite fruit flavor and ask the staff to work with it.
The passion fruit caipirinha was one of our favorites and the Valhrona chocolate cocktails seem to also be a big hit. Drink prices average between ¥1,600-¥2,200 and though they may be fruity -- fresh juice is hand-squeezed every day -- the cocktails are not just for ladies; they definitely pack a punch.
R2’s food menu is similar to Two Rooms in its emphasis on fresh produce, using local ingredients whenever possible. The staff is a bilingual mix of servers from South American and African nations who are well trained in the art of hospitality, which is what you’d expect from a group with combined experience in 10 different countries.
R2 Supperclub, open seven days a week, 4 p.m.-4 a.m. Roppongi Station, Tokyo Midtown exit.
1/F Centrum Roppongi Building, 7-14-23, Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, +81 (0) 3 6447 0002. Website.