Warm up with a hot drink after a day of skiing in Niseko.
- This bar is located in Niseko which is one of our Top 10 Japan Travel Destinations for 2020!
Do so and you’ll be rewarded with a warm drink and soft jazz tunes at Bar Gyu+.
A reprieve from Niseko’s ski slopes
The interior of Bar Gyu+ is wooden and cozy. It’s the perfect place to relax after a day of skiing on Niseko’s world-famous slopes. Hirafu, where the bar is located, is the biggest village in the Niseko ski area.
Flickering candles create a warm atmosphere, and windows frame a pretty picture of a frozen world that’s much more pleasant to look at from inside while clutching a hot drink. Take your pick from hot toddies to signature seven-spice hot wine, or just good old fashioned whiskey.
The lovely couple who run the bar began collecting Japanese whiskey more than 10 years ago. They’ve since built up quite the selection of rare spirits. Though cocktails are the main, you’ll also find craft beers and mocktails, as well as snacks like Hokkaido cheese plates.
Once you’ve had a few drinks, check out the carefully-curated record collection. It has plenty of jazz classics to lend a cool, down to earth atmosphere. Upstairs, large speakers fill the room with top-notch sound.
Hisashi, the husband of the owner duo, reinforced the exterior with straw bale construction for insulation from cold and noise, giving the bar its bunker-like look. The curious door came about when a friend randomly gave him a Coca-Cola vending machine. Now it’s one of the most photographed spots in Niseko.
The humble beginnings of Bar Gyu+
The bar has been around since 1999, making it one of the oldest bars in town. Hisashi opened it when he was just 24-years-old. He built his home in a tiny lot facing a beautiful forest but soon ran out of money which he needed to complete the bar.
With no other options, he laid a slab of wood down as the counter in his living room and opened for business right there. In 2005, he met his wife Morelli while skiing, and they’ve been running the bar together ever since.
Today, Niseko is rapidly changing and continues to garner attention around the world for its highly-sought-after powder snow, but Bar Gyu+ remains an authentic staple.
Need some food to soak up all that whiskey? Check our list of Famous Foods in Hokkaido to find out what to eat on your trip.