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Review: Japan’s Outdoor Sake Bar

Epcot’s Japan has been evolving over the past few months! The Yakitori House has re-opened as Katsura Grill, featuring a broader menu and some more authentic Japanese dishes; Kabuki Cafe is open as a take-away kiosk offering not just Kaki Gori, but also Miso soup, sushi, edamame, and other goodies!

But another little spot opened in Japan with little to no fanfare — a new outdoor sake bar located at the base of the steps to Katsura Grill.

Sake Bar

While many folks will just walk right past this spot without necessarily noticing it, I urge you to stop by and try out a few of the items there. While I do enjoy the indoor sake bar in Mitsukoshi Department Store, this outdoor location offers a few more “introductory” sake drinks that I think you might enjoy!

Atmosphere

Like I mentioned, this location could potentially fade into the background. With similar clean-lined architecture and neutral tones to the surrounding area, it’s easy to just walk right by.

Sake Bar

But this little spot offers a fun menu and an even more accessible stop on your tour to Drink Around the World! Plus, it’s a good introductory spot to try sake — a drink that is becoming more and more popular in Western cultures (even though sake drinking is declining a bit in Japan).

Sips

The menu here is short and simple. There’s not an extensive list to choose from like there is at the indoor sake bar, so there’s not a large “barrier to entry” when it comes to trying sake!

Just in case it helps you make your choice, the main difference between types of sake is how much of the rice grain is left after polishing (prior to using it to make sake). Junmai has the least polishing and will create a more robust sake, while Gingyo sake is lighter (more polished). Daiginjyo sake is the most polished of all, and will subsequently cost the most. Here’s a good rule of thumb: the more polished the rice, the smoother and more drinkable the sake.

Sake Bar Menu - click image for larger version

But if you’re not ready to slam back a sake shot just yet, consider trying one of the kiosk’s sake cocktails! These are a refreshing and simple concoction of sake, flavoring, and soda water.

Making Sake Cocktail

I ordered the lime version, and was very pleasantly surprised! I’m not sure what I expected, but what I received was one of my favorite drinks yet! Interestingly, the lime flavoring tasted shocking like what you’d receive in a lime Slush Puppie… um…YUM!

Plus, I had a fantastic conversation with the Japanese International Program cast member while ordering my cocktail, which always makes every experience at Disney World better.

And, there’s an umbrella. I got to choose my color. You just can’t go wrong.

Lime Sake Cocktail

Also on the menu here you’ll find well-known Japanese beers like Kirin (on draft), and Sapporo and Asahi (bottled).

Sake Bar Bottled Beers

Draft Beers

Plum wine and green tea are also available here, along with a slushie drink called “Amasake Mist,” which comes in strawberry and seasonal flavors.

Oddly, the Tokyo Sunset — which was available as a signature drink at the Japan booth during the Epcot Food & Wine Festival this year — is also available. No sake in there, though!

Specialty Drink - Tokyo Sunset

Tokyo Sunset

Overall

I really enjoyed my visit to this new little spot! It’s the perfect place to stop for a drink before finding a good spot for Illuminations, or a good place to warm up a bit on your tour.

To sum up: new sake bar, great cast members, fun flavors and drinks to try. There’s no reason not to stop by on your next stroll around the World Showcase!

Has anyone else sampled a beverage from this fun little kiosk? Let me know what you tried and how you liked it! Can’t wait to hear!

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7 Comments

  1. Alan says:

    A.J. – I see either a range of prices or two prices on the sake. Does that mean they serve a large and small pour or is there something else going on? Otherwise, the more bars, the merrier.

  2. marcellina says:

    I have tried sake before but never really liked it.. perhaps it’s because it was a lesser polished type? also I have only tried it hot which I really didn’t like as well.. but I think I will give it a try again on our next trip. Maybe we’ll splurge for the more expensive type or just get a cocktail to share. Thanks for the info.. I learned something cool on this post (the polishing) and am going to wow my husband with it when we spend our “date day” at Epcot! thanks!

  3. Ed Mazzilli says:

    You hava an incredibly helpful blog here. Kudos, kudos, kudos! I have a pad of paper next to me at my desk for when ever I’m on your site. Making sure to note places like this Saki bar. Did you try the shots? Warm or Cold?

  4. AJ says:

    Alan — I didn’t ask about that, but my guess is that it’s either a large/small pour, or different brands of sake.

    Marci — Hot sake tends to be lower-quality, so it makes sense that you didn’t “warm” to it… ha ha!!!

    Ed — Thank you, sir! I didn’t try the shots, but they do have hot and cold sake available.

  5. yensidfan says:

    I love sake! Sake cocktails are so good. This is very exciting. Thank you for posting this one:)

  6. Amy says:

    My friend and I had the green tea sake cocktail there this year, it was by far our favorite drink from all the countries

  7. ShaeLee says:

    I’m so happy they have Sapporo. Do you know if they also sell it in Teppan Edo?

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