From the warmth of the bar I look out into the night where puddles reflect the street lamp light and rain pelts against the glass doors. Outside the bar sign swings in the wind and bicycles and umbrellas lean up against the wooden terrace.
I’m in Chigasaki, the laidback Shonan surf town, and I’ve settled into my newly found haven Bar Southerly.
As I shake the rain from my umbrella the owner pushes back the folding doors and welcomes me in to the warm light, the sound of Cuban music and the delicious aroma of Mediterranean cooking.
The décor is Italian inspired, with warm colours and wooden surfaces. Painted olive branches and rows of cheese boxes and wine bottles decorate the walls. Dried herbs, garlic and red chillies hang from the ceiling complemented by framed black and white surf lifestyle photography. A candle is set on each table, and behind the counter the chef is busy preparing food for the clientele.
Above the counter, the blackboard menu is mostly written in Japanese. However the English-speaking proprietor is more than happy to take you through the dishes on offer. The menu is mostly made up of Italian and Spanish cuisine, but there are other international options such as jerk chicken. Each dish costs between ¥500 and ¥1150.
There is also an extensive wine list, but during happy hour a glass of wine or beer is just ¥300 - cocktails are available for ¥650-¥700.
The sound of coffee being ground comes from behind a superb display of cakes (Maccha cheesecake anyone?) and It’s evident that they take their coffee very seriously, with fair-trade and organic coffee beans, as well as many indulgent variations and seasonal options. I plan to go back for the Tiramisu latte … or maybe the macadamia nut choco latte.
On the floor by the display of coffee beans is an overflowing wooden box stuffed with Japanese and English language books and magazines. An evening can easily be spent here, but during the day it is equally as enticing. Bar Southerly is a place where you could happily stay to enjoy the fresh coffee, delicious food, and friendly atmosphere.