Maze is a very hip soul music bar located right in the middle of the Koenji Pal Arcade ‘shoutengai’ (shopping street). Morita-san the owner has been running it for about 30 years, while also operating the soba noodle shop down on the first floor. He doesn’t have many DJ nights these days but still has a nice vinyl collection and is even open to regulars putting on their iPod playlists, as long as the music is funky.
It’s a fairly large bar, dark and with an extensive liquor selection. A 1971 Soul Train DVD was playing on the big screen when I dropped by, and Morita-san was chatty and warm. Highly recommended for soul fans. And yes, it’s named after the band ‘Maze’. Open from 8pm most nights.
Station: JR Koenji
Exit: South Exit
Distance from station: 5 minutes
Out of the South Exit turn right, then left onto the Pal Arcade shopping street. It’s a few minutes down on the left side. Morita-san and his family run the soba shop downstairs, grab some noodles first then head upstairs for the drinking and music.