A to Z Café could write an alphabet on bringing the cool. This cafe and veritable fort papered with the art of Yoshitomo Nara’s pouty creations is sure to delight.
It is a sort of clubhouse hangout on the fifth floor in Aoyama, with fantastic views from large windows as well as the café’s ample rooftop space.
Lunch goes from 11:30-2, and every interesting inch of space can fill up, from the brightly-lit bar with low ceiling, to the den of modern couches and wide slipper chairs, to stools surrounding the sort of grand clubhouse in the middle—the one that looks like it belongs in the kids’ edition of Dwell magazine or art club hangout from your high school. This is all intentional, and said to be modeled after the renowned artist’s workshop.
Beyond that, A-Z offers healthy Japanese meals, filling bellies with some great coffee, a sizeable drink menu all a of the choices of a cool hangout in Omotesando/Aoyama should include. Best of all, it is not stuffy, not fancy. This is a great environment to get some work done, read, write, catch up with friends, while you soak up some of the inspiration and work of Nara.
A to Z Café is the kind of clean slate, well-lit place you want to wear a little red lipstick, jeans, and a white button down shirt in. It is casual living meets great inspiration and some cozy food. I hope Nara, often called the Father of Neo Pop in Japan, feels proud of his creation.
Take to the roof in warmer weather. One of the friendly staff won’t mind taking you up for a peak or a seat at a table.
The Wa-style lunch of nicely-cooked salmon, rice, sashimi, salad, and some sides like tsukemono/pickles, is 1,000 yen. You’ll also get tea with that and feel both satisfied and healthy. A-Z refills your tea, so drink away, dear Cheapos.
Desserts range from parfaits, roll cake with ice cream, and whatever seasonal treats they’ve dreamed up. Pictured below is my kabocha/pumpkin-coconut cream cake. Pretty decent, but next time, I’ll go for chocolate and maybe take it onto the roof.
Whether you stop in to sip, eat a meal, or grab some of their cheese fries with a beer, you can’t go wrong with the views, both inside this organic gallery, and out, as you take-in the panorama of Aoyama, Omotesando, Roppongi, and that blue sky beyond. It’s a good find.