TRIPPERS TIP: Get Drunk on Funk at Ruins BarFiled Under:
I used to imagine small mountain town bars sheltering twenty or thirty men in flannelette huddled around, stinking of lumberjack sweat and stale beer, watching replays of old college football games. Then I went to Ruins in Minakami, Japan. This bar is far away from that image. It’s pumping with the atmosphere of young locals, seasonal gaijins (foreigners) and an owner-bartender draped with enough Trademark Japanese Cool he could hand it out like candy.
Located in the natural haven that is Minakami, Ruins is a small boutique two-story dive bar that could pack maybe thirty people in inside. Sure, it’s small, but this place has more funk than Rick James in a shag-suit. Besides, compared to Japanese standards, Ruins is quite spacious and comfortable. There’s even a western style toilet and a bathroom you could sleep in – all luxuries to the western tripper in Japan.
What funks this place out completely though is the decor and ambience. A red door welcomes you to a space where there’s no two of the same chair or sofa in the entire place, light fixtures hang limply from the ceiling, a mosaic glass-pattern consumes one wall and a casual, communal wooden table sits in the centre waiting for weird conversations between even weirder people.
Serving up classy and experimental cocktails, alongside all-night coffee, curry and Japanese munchies, Ruins is, in my bar-going and beer-drinking experience throughout these parts, the best bar in Minakami. I mean, just walking in will have you oozing of funky nonchalance. And wait ’til you try the cocktails.
On one of my trips there, a Japanese BBQ was set-up in front of the bar and people came in and out all night; making for a nice little DIY beer garden. On another occasion there was a party held in an open, upstairs room housing DJs, disco balls and free-flowing alcohol. Trust me, it’s damn funky time, my friend.