Roobik House: A Hidden Gem in the Concrete Jungle That Is Ikebukuro
Everywhere you go, there is always a special place in the neighborhood that everyone seems to point you towards whether it is for food, drinks, or music. Well in this article, allow me to introduce to you a place that has all three, Roobik House! The bar is located in the east side of Ikebukuro, and is a 5 minute walk from Sunshine City. The entrance is a bit hidden with no fancy lighting or colors, but rather has a board with messages and farewell notes from the few travelers that end up finding this hidden gem.
The bar has a very warm interior with lots of space for many customers as well as comfortable seating areas. It also has lots of musical instruments such as acoustic guitars, electric guitars and basses that occasionally regulars and new customers who wish to play, can plug it in and let their inner Malmsteen out. Also there is a nice sound system where different playlists of different genres can be played throughout the night to keep you buzzing. Master Yasan, the owner of the bar, lets people plug in their phones and play him their favorite music, because as a musician himself, he’s always interested in what is new and hot in other countries.
Now that you are a little familiar with the place, let’s get to know the bar and the owner, Master Yasan, a little bit more throughout this short interview:
Q: So let’s start this interview with this question, “What is your favorite thing about meeting new foreign customers?”
YASAN: A difficult question from the get go, well I get too busy to travel a lot and so whenever I meet a traveler here I get very excited about getting to know their country better, for example food, drinks and music are among the most interesting topics for me.
Q: How do you feel about communication? Does it stop you from getting to know them better?
YASAN: Absolutely not, I met many travelers who can’t speak Japanese and we can still communicate “heart to heart.” Language can be a barrier in other cases, but if you’re out to have fun and a couple of drinks, language is not a barrier at all. Plus once the alcohol kicks in, everyone speaks one language!
Q: For first time customers, what food or drinks do you recommend?
YASAN: In winter we have our special nabe (鍋) which is a hot pot with vegetables and meat, to keep everyone warm. As for summer time, somen (素麺), which is thin flour noodles served cold with a nice soy sauce dip, is very refreshing and delicious! When it comes to drinks, I suggest trying different Japanese sake and Japanese whiskey.
Q: What Japanese music would you recommend to visitors?
YASAN: I recommend The Blue Hearts, which is my favorite band, and also “Ling tosite sigure” if you’re looking for a more modern sound.
Q: So for our final question, what is your vision for the future of Roobik House?
YASAN: I would like to meet more people from around the world and turn Roobik House into a meeting point for travelers who wish to stop by for a nice meal, a thirst quenching drink and beautiful music.
If you are living near Ikebukuro or traveling nearby, I suggest visiting Roobik House for a truly unique experience. The hospitality, music selection and cozy atmosphere can help you wind down from a long day of work, or a tiring day of traveling throughout Japan. If you do get the chance to visit, make sure to check the different souvenirs and messages that other travelers have left Master Yasan, and leave yours if you’ve had a good time. The bar is open every day except for Mondays, from 7 pm to 5 am.