A new patio bar attached to Ramen Tatsu-Ya's East Sixth Street location gives Austinites something we've had a rare taste of in this city — the vibrant nightlife particular to some of Japan's biggest cities.
Called Domo Alley-Gato, the laid-back concept accessible near the ramen shop's entrance is modeled after two kinds of Japanese bars: "tachinomiya," or standing bars, and "yokocho," which translates to “alleyways off to the side of a main street.” Both terms describe small, packed spaces offering food and drink in a casual atmosphere, and Ramen Tatsu-Ya co-owners Tatsu Aikawa and Takuya Matsumoto aims to deliver something similar with their latest project.
“We wanted to create an immersive environment where people can relax, enjoy unique drinks and food, and feel as if they stumbled into the back alleys of Tokyo,” Aikawa said in a news release.
Domo Alley-Gato, which is softly open on Dec. 8, 9 and 12 with discounted food items and officially opens on Dec. 13, has its own kitchen, specializing in curry dishes and Japanese-accented cocktails. The kitchen, called Karē Ban Ban, serves up a mix of both classic items like katsu curry and original fare such as curry pan hot dogs and curry wings.
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Ramen Tatsu-Ya beverage director Michael Phillips has designed a bar program that nods to Japanese pub culture, according to the news release, and features cocktails with Japanese ingredients, including shochu; frozen beer-foam boilermakers; and one-cup sakes. There are also do-it-yourself chu-hi drinks — chu-hi being a popular Japanese mixture of shochu, carbonated water and lemon — with your choice of tonics and spirits, including gin and whiskey.
Enjoy these in a space designed to transport you half a world away. Local design firm McCray & Co. incorporated elements such as colorful lanterns, a large maneki-neko statue at the entrance and wallpaper dotted with black cats behind the bar.
The east side ramen shop at 1600 E. Sixth St., Ramen Tatsu-Ya's third location, opened earlier this year. But with Domo Alley-Gato, the Tatsu-Ya team is hardly done opening cool new concepts — next up is a tiki bar opening on South Lamar Boulevard, in the former Backbeat building.
Starting Dec. 13, Domo Alley-Gato will be open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday-Sunday and for 21 and up only.