When quasi-secret 365 Tokyo bar debuted at the Inspire Theater in 2014, confidence was so high in the members-only project, the venue charged between $200 and $5,000 per year for the privilege of stepping through the doors.
Three years later, the second-level speakeasy has very quietly lifted the membership restriction, making the 360-square-foot space a reservation only destination. With room enough for only 10 customers seated on stools, plus two bar staff, its very small size may still require patience for a seat.
During its early days, the Fremont East bar even discouraged taking personal photos of the small room to help cultivate its mystique.
Original bartender SeongHa Lee departed in late 2015 and can now be found at Zuma in the Cosmopolitan. And original operators Future Restaurant Group, headed by Downtown Cocktail Room’s Michael Cornthwaite, sold off their interest in 2015.
Inspire's yearly memberships featuring 365 Tokyo access also included discounts on FRG’s ground-floor Inspire News Cafe, since shuttered, and on tickets for shows. Once promised to evolve as a downtown anchor to host TED Talks, major touring acts and guests who would "inspire," the venue now concentrates on booking low profile variety nights and DJs for The Roof bar, a far cry from earlier lofty ambitions.
Open Tuesday to Saturday from 7 p.m. to midnight, not every day as its name might suggest, classic libations found on recent 365 Tokyo menus include a $17 Vesper, $14 Aviation and a $15 "Barrel Aged Vieux Carre."
Specialty drinks include the $20 Cooper’s Martini, created with "Aged Tanqueray 10, Italian Vermouth, Lillet Blanc and orange bitters" and the $15 "Make American Grape Again," built with vodka, Lillet Blanc, Pavan Moscato Liqueur, orange bitters and sparkling wine.