“Open the whisky, Tom,” she ordered, “and I’ll make you a mint julep. Then you won’t seem so stupid to yourself.”
–F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
No, really, it’s a legitimate KFC with a full bar. Street level is a typical KFC outlet with a creepy Colonel Sanders statue in front; there’s a large seating area on the second floor and a classy bar that serves food other than fried chicken on the third floor. All of this is just a couple blocks away from Shimokitazawa station. This was a welcome experience after going out for a McBeer in Italy.
I was told about this place by an Australian expat in my quiet Kanagawa neighborhood who hadn’t been to the bar in years — he wasn’t even sure it still existed. On the first night my friend came to visit from Taiwan, I decided we should head out to Shimokitazawa for some dinner and the variety of bars (including the craft beer bar that I enjoyed). While wandering around for an hour or so, we came across the KFC — how did I miss this place that was so close to the station?
There’s a small sign on the side of the KFC for Route 25 KFC on the third floor. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but we entered a chic bar decorated with classic KFC memorabilia — there was even a Colonel Sanders phone behind the bar. As we perused the menu, we noticed that the drinks were reasonably priced — under JPY 600 for an average cocktail is pretty good in Tokyo. Food options go beyond the usual KFC fare with onion rings, pizza, and pasta — I didn’t order anything, but it looked pretty good.
The cocktails weren’t great, but what do you expect for the price? Obviously we had to order the bourbon cocktails made with Jim Beam (now owned by Suntory). There’s nothing quite like drinking a mint julep under the watchful eyes of Colonel Sanders while small plates of fried chicken adorned with a sprig of parsley are served.
After the mint julep, I decided to try the bourbon and ginger. Both cocktails could’ve used a little more bourbon; the mint julep definitely needed more mint.
Have you been to the Route 25 KFC? What did you think?