Izakaya Juraku – East Village – New York, NY

This place I discovered after visiting the opening day of the International Center of Photography Museum and once the torrential downpour cleared that afternoon.

Between a couple Japanese restaurants on top of each other, Juraku had a sign out for having over 40 craft Japanese beers available and right around Happy Hour I was sold!

The atmosphere and decor is homey and superb here – from standard couple tables up front and the bar, to cozier corner tables and a whole back wall to be away from non-restroom traffic. Restrooms are also superbly decorated with stone lay in the sinks to bring in that earthy feel and avoid water splashing.

Then of course my main spot in any place that allows it – the bar! Bubble-top sake pours, and even blue beer!

Food I have tried on other visits and everything on the menu is top-notch!

The real highlight at Juraku is the staff and their fully-involved GM, Kiyo, who constantly interacts with customers and regulars end up being on a friendly basis which I honestly don’t see too often in bigger bars and restaurants that end being way too busy.

Overall, this is a real downtown gem that’s welcoming, modern, and plays One Piece on the projector that you simply don’t see anywhere else.

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