Drinks in Translation: Visiting New York Bar at the Park Hyatt Tokyo

New York Bar, Park Hyatt Tokyo's iconic hotel bar, looked classy in "Lost in Translation," but is it worth a detour for wine or cocktails? Yes! Here's why.

Let’s get this out of the way early: yes, the Park Hyatt Tokyo hotel will be forever linked to Sofia Coppola’s 2003 film, “Lost in Translation.” Yes, you may have originally clicked on this post because you want to pretend you’re Scarlett Johansson sipping on cocktails with Bill Murray at Park Hyatt Tokyo’s New York Bar.

The iconic hotel bar may have looked stunning in Coppola’s film, but is it really that classy and sophisticated in real life? Are the drinks any good? And, most importantly, is it worth a detour in your precious Tokyo itinerary?

The answer, it turns out, is a resounding yes. In other words, for good times, you’ll want to make it Suntory New York Bar time. Here’s why.

Where Is This Heaven Of A Bar, Anyway?

New York Bar is housed on the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt Tokyo, which is located at 3-7-1-2 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-Ku, Tokyo, Japan, 163-1055.

If you look on this handy dandy map below, you’ll find that New York Bar (and, therefore, the Park Hyatt Tokyo) is located in the Shinjuku neighborhood of Tokyo. It’s roughly a 12-minute walk from Shinjuku Station — the perfect amount of time to burn some calories before sipping on some wine or cocktails.

How to Get There (Or: How We Embarked on a Bar-Finding Quest)

If you’ve watched “Lost in Translation,” you’ll see Bill Murray’s character, Bob, pull up in a black car to the Park Hyatt Tokyo in the first few minutes of the film. The scene immediately cuts to Bob being greeted by staff in the hotel lobby. Then, voilà! He’s in the hotel bar. Piece of cake, right?

Not quite.

The first thing to know is that the Park Hyatt Tokyo occupies the top 14 floors of a 52-story building called Shinjuku Park Tower. The Shinjuku Park Tower, designed by Kenzo Tange, was completed in 1994. It also happens to be the second-tallest building in Shinjuku, Tokyo.

In hotel math, though, this means that the Park Hyatt Tokyo is located on floors 39 to 52 of the building. This also means that if you enter on the first floor and lack sufficient cell phone reception, you might be totally befuddled about your surroundings. (Me… cough cough.)

If you do have reliable WiFi, look at this map of the building, which is quite helpful. However, if you don’t have reliable Internet (download this post before you leave your hotel!), you too can embark on a New York Bar scavenger hunt, complete with bonus cocktail prizes at the end.

Ready, Set, Go!

Locate this desk on the first floor.  Here, you’ll receive your first clue on the sign on the right: “Please use the stairs in the delicatessen.”

Desk on the first floor (office building lobby)

If you’re facing this desk, look to your left. You’ll see three gray stairs. Go up.

Go straight ahead to where the white sign is. You’ll find Delicatessen, your first clue!

Pass by Delicatessen, Park Hyatt Tokyo’s gourmet specialty shop. It might be hard to resist buying some of their jams, olive oils, and teas, but continue on by!

Delicatessen (on the right) is your first clue.

You may be tempted by the Pastry Boutique, too. But stay strong and keeping going.

Oh, let me eat cake. Wait, wrong Sofia Coppola film. Moving on!

If you see this piece of art below, congrats! It’s your next clue. You’re now in the hotel’s main entrance, and you’re on the right track. If you opted to take a taxi or car from somewhere, you’ll pull into a driveway and breeze past a door right into this main entrance. (You lucky person, you. You get to begin the bar quest a step ahead!)

This sculpture is your next clue.

All right, friend, you’re halfway there! Now it’s time to take your first elevator ride from the main entrance to the 41st floor. Again, the 41st floor is where the Park Hyatt Tokyo hotel lobby is actually located.

If you’re an avid reader, you’ll love the next clue…

So many books!

Once you’re on the 41st floor, signs will lead you through this gorgeous library and to your second elevator ride. This second elevator will take you up to the 52nd floor, where New York Bar awaits.

And really, it’s worth navigating a bit of a maze and two sets of elevators because…

Let’s Set the Scene (Or, This View! This View!)

Let’s be clear: the view at New York Bar is everything they promise you and then some. I mean, just take a look for yourself.

Drum roll, ladies and gentlemen…

Full panoramic view from New York Bar of Tokyo at night.

Tokyo at night from 52 floors up

The floor-to-ceiling windows were mesmerizing. In my opinion, the view alone is worth the price of drinks here.

The bar features “live entertainment with jazz performances” every night. These performances occur Monday to Wednesday from 8:00 pm to 11:45 pm; Thursday to Saturday from 8:00 pm to 12:30 am; and Sunday from 7:00 pm to 10:45 pm. Note that there’s a cover charge — see the “Need to Know Before You Go” section at the end of this post for more information.

Alas, we were too early on this particular evening to witness the live entertainment, but the jazz music playing on the speakers set a classy vibe throughout the bar.

Where the live entertainment will be

If you’re really itching to act out the bar scenes from “Lost in Translation,” we won’t judge. Just try not to disturb people who are there to experience the bar’s drinks in all their glory.

This guy’s enjoying his time at New York Bar the right way: slowly sipping on his drink.

The Drinks: Round 1

Speaking of drinks, do New York Bar’s pass the test?

Prior to our visit, I had resolved to order at least one “Lost in Translation”-related drink. I had my limits, though: I wasn’t going to order a vodka tonic like Charlotte, Scarlett Johansson’s character, did. (An aside: ScarJo, why did you order that after Bill Murray and the New York Bar staff advised you to have Suntory whisky? You were consulting with experts!)

Perusing the menu at New York Bar, which was quite extensive.

New York Bar has featured specialty cocktails listed under the “Creations” section of the menu.

New York Bar’s drinks menu covers a lot of ground. There’s a great selection of scotch and Japanese whisky, wines (the list is truly dizzying and odds are you’ll find something to suit your palette), and, of course, cocktails. Beer and other spirits are available too.

For my first drink, I decided to go with the L.I.T. cocktail, one of New York Bar’s in-house creations. Yep, the initials stand for “Lost in Translation,” and yes, if I was going to be touristy, then I was going to really commit, thank you very much.

The ingredients listed on the menu were Kikuizumi Daiginjo (which is sake), Sakura Liqueur, Peachtree, and cranberry drink — though I’m wondering if that last one really was lost in drinks translation. I never did find out if that last one was cranberry juice or something slightly different.

L.I.T. cocktail at New York Bar

The drink reminded me of a Cosmopolitan, but with a Japanese twist. It was easy to drink, and the sake gave it a nice touch.

Mr. Five O’Clock, my drinks companion at New York Bar, selected the 66 Sunset cocktail, another in-house creation. The drink contained Koval Gin infused with butterfly pea, plum, and chili syrup. He noted that the cocktail was “refreshing” and “layered, with the bottom having more fruity flavors and the top being stronger with gin.”

66 Sunset cocktail at New York Bar

The Drinks: Round 2

For our second round of drinks, we decided to stick with cocktails. I ordered the High Line cocktail — partially because it made me miss New York, but also because I was curious to see how the Fernet Branca mixed with Ketel One, melon, and almond milk.

High Line cocktail at New York Bar

It turned out that the almond milk added a touch of sweetness to the drink, saving it from becoming too cloying. The Fernet Branca did not overpower the drink with its minty flavors; instead, it contributed to another layer of complexity. I do wonder what the cocktail would have tasted like if it had gin instead of Ketel One, but I’d also take gin over vodka any day.

Almond milk provided a touch of sweetness in the High Line cocktail

I teased Mr. Five O’Clock that his second cocktail, the Café-Tini, seemed to be a risky choice. After all, with its Woodford Reserve Double Matured, espresso, and vanilla syrup, it very easily could have turned into a bland Espresso Martini. (Nothing against that drink, but we’ve had dozens of ’em.)

Café-Tini at New York Bar

Surprisingly, the drink wasn’t heavy handed at all; in fact, it was lighter than expected. It turned out to be more of a sipping drink instead of a dessert drink. With its long coffee finish and hints of vanilla, the Café-Tini wound up being the surprise hit of the night.

Of all four drinks we tried, this one was our favorite. (Credit the delicious Woodford Reserve bourbon. Mmmm.)

Overall Impressions

Making cocktails with exquisite attention to detail

It’s not like New York Bar, or the Park Hyatt Tokyo for that matter, is in need of additional media coverage given its top-notch reputation. But the staff truly went above and beyond to make our experience special, offering suggestions for drinks that matched our preferences and encouraging us to expand our cocktail comfort zones (read: actually try a vodka drink). What’s magical is that this is just par for the course here: stellar service isn’t the exception; it’s the rule.

Were the cocktails the best we’ve ever had in our lives? Well, that honor still goes to Death and Company in NYC, but Park Hyatt Tokyo’s New York Bar certainly crafted theirs with care. The flavors in each drink were well balanced, and the Café-Tini was a true standout. All in all, we’d definitely return — especially to take a crack at New York Bar’s carefully curated wine list for a completely different kind of experience. Kanpai!

New York Bar 101: Need to Know Before You Go

Open Hours

New York Bar is open on Sunday to Wednesday from 5:00 pm to midnight, and on Thursday to Saturday from 5:00 pm to 1:00 am.

It’s important to note that a cover charge of 2,500 JPY per person is applied Monday through Saturday from 8:00 pm onward, and Sunday from 7:00 pm onward. As of November 2017, this is equivalent to $22.16 USD. Guests who are staying at the Park Hyatt Tokyo are exempt from this charge.

Be sure to verify hours on the Park Hyatt Tokyo website in the event of any changes.

Dress Code

New York Bar is an elegant spot, so be sure to dress accordingly. Information on New York Bar’s dress code can be found here. It’s pretty intuitive: don’t wear beach sandals, and you’ll be fine.

Connect With New York Bar & Park Hyatt Tokyo on Social Media

You can connect with New York Bar and Park Hyatt Tokyo on the following social media platforms:

Essential Info:
Where should you stay in Tokyo? Check out options here.
Where did I personally stay in Tokyo? Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku and Hotel Ryumeikan Tokyo in Tokyo. We enjoyed each of these properties.
Want a guidebook for Japan? I use Lonely Planet and Fodor’s.
What other bars have I visited lately? These ones in Seattle, London, and Reykjavik, to name a few!

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New York Bar, Park Hyatt Tokyo's iconic hotel bar, looked classy in "Lost in Translation," but is it worth a detour for wine or cocktails? Yes! Here's why.


A huge thank you to New York Bar, Park Hyatt Tokyo, and Alice Marshall PR for providing us with two rounds of complimentary drinks. While we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at New York Bar, all opinions are my own. Not even a delicious craft cocktail can change that.

Also, some of the above are affiliate links and I will earn a tiny percentage of the sale if you purchase through them at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting It’s Five O’Clock Here!

 

10 thoughts on “Drinks in Translation: Visiting New York Bar at the Park Hyatt Tokyo

  1. Nick

    The first half read like an awesome scavenger hunt that lead me to a bar! Those views are astounding and I bet hearing live music in that setting would be amazing. I need to watch Lost in Translation again.

    1. Julianne

      It did take some effort to get to New York Bar, but once we did, it was amazing! Getting there was half of the fun 🙂 And yes, the views were unbeatable!

  2. Lynn

    We did this on our trip to Tokyo years ago and absolutely loved it! No reenactments though 😉 I remember being so wowed by that library. Thanks for that trip down memory lane!

  3. Shirley

    When I get to Tokyo, this will definitely be one of the first places I visit. The mini-adventure of finding it and the reward of those incredible views and ambience have earned it a must see on my list! Thanks for the enjoyable article. Getting out my Lost in Translation DVD again btw!

  4. IVy

    I’m down to try one of those LIT cocktails! The night view at New York Bar is beautiful. It looks like the perfect place to have a romantic date in Tokyo!

  5. Cat

    Gorgeous views, music, delicious cocktails? Sign me up for this! Cafetini sounds like my husband’s type of drink. Glad it didn’t disappoint!

  6. Susan

    I’m not going to lie, I would love to go to this bar just to pretend I might run into Bill Murray. hahah. But I love that the cocktails are actually great too. Definitely worth a detour, in my opinion!

  7. Jen

    I love craft cocktails so this is right up my alley! The almond milk is a nice touch. I’ve never seen the movie but I’d want to visit here either way! And I’d be way too tempted to stop at the pastries haha 😉

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