Small Hours is a new cafe/bar located in the back streets between Ochanomizu, Jimbocho and Suidobashi stations. Owner Nihei-san opened it in June 2011 and has already established a loyal customer base. It’s a long, narrow space with a beautiful wooden counter bar that comfortably seats about 10 and a table for 4 or 5 in the front.
The friendly and chatty Nihei-san is not a typical jazz cafe owner as she is young and not a manic record collector. She plays sax and flute though and certainly knows the music. “Soul Station” by Hank Mobley was playing when I walked in the first time; that gets immediate respect. One of her goals with the cafe is to have a space for those non-“maniacs” to come hear the music but not feel intimidated by older, regular customers who can be a bit prickly about the music (and new fans.)
For either coffee or some drinks Small Hours has a completely relaxed vibe where anyone can feel welcome. There’s beer and a large whisky selection though closing time is 9pm so get here by 8 for an early nightcap.
Station: Toei Shinjuku Line Jimbocho Station, JR Suidobashi Stn
Exit: Jinbochi exit A5, Suidobashi Hakusan Dori Exit
Distance from station: 6-9
From Jimbocho Station take exit A5 and walk up Hakusan-Dori about five minutes. When you get to a small corner bar called Bar Russet turn right. Walk 30 seconds and Small Hours is on the left, keep a look out for the sign.