Hole in the Wall: A Guide to Tokyo’s “Listening Bars” ~LiNENDORPHIN~

WRITER
Joe Yokomizo

LiNENDORPHIN


“Convenience is NOT the key to a successful business.” I read this phrase by some literary master sometime ago. These words still stand true. The somewhat inconveniently located bar I am about to introduce is LiNENDORPHIN. It is accessible from three stations, yet it is a 10-minute walk from each of them. But that doesn’t really matter; it is a damn good rock music bar.

LiNENDORPHIN is located at a junction called Matsumi-zaka in the Meguro district of Tokyo. When you stand in front of its door, you find an homage to David Bowie, with his record cover, poster and a note displaying his date of death, his age, and “Rest In Peace.” You can feel the love for music before you even enter.

Once in the bar, you will notice the warm sound of vinyl playing. You are greeted by more posters of Lou Reed, David Bowie, and The Smiths. You can sit at the bar or at a table; the whole place fits about 15 people and it’s perfectly cozy.

What catches your eye the most are the records behind the bar counter. From the look of the place you know that there is amazing music crammed in there, and you are absolutely right because, Linko-san, who runs the bar by herself, plays nothing but the best. For example, John Cale’s Hallelujah, PINK FLOYD’s Wish You Were Here, Pinch by CAN’s Ege Bamyasi album, and Persian Love by Holger Czukay from his album Movies. Drinks go down easy thanks to the gritty and awe-inspiring song selection.

During my visit, and while I was listening to records there, it occurred to me that the word ENDORPHIN, a part of the name of the bar, was bothering me. So I asked Linko-san and it turns out she had indeed worked at another bar that used to be in Shibuya called ENDORPHIN II. I use to drink there often, and that was a while back so my memory was pretty iffy, but with the drinks pouring and records playing, the image of Linko-san working at ENDORPHIN II slowly came back to me. Excited, I requested Fallen Angel by King Crimson, a song I used to request at ENDORPHIN II, and Linko-san put it on in no time.

When ENDORPHIN II closed, Linko-san took over the entire record collection and opened LiNENDORPHIN. She has been operating for six years since. I asked her for the number of vinyls she owned, and she said she was too afraid to count. It seems to be easily over a thousand records. The genre ranges in the ‘70s UK progressive rock, punk, and new wave, and she is still adding to the collection. If you are a fan of these genres, needless to say, you have already been drooling over the thought of LiNENDORPHIN, and if you are someone that simply wants to discover good music, I also highly recommend that you pay a visit to this bar.

At the end of the evening, I asked Linko-san to share with me her one special album. She was torn at first, claiming it was too hard to pick, but she eventually chose the record that she listened to in college that had a huge impact on her. The album is Streetnoise by Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity from 1969.

One day in college, her friend played her the song I’ve Got Life from this album, and with that, she started really getting into music. It is without a doubt the record that changed her life.

Bar owner Linko holds up Streetnoise by Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity(1969)

 

LiNENDORPHIN

1-5-11 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, Japan 153-0041

Closed on Sundays

Musical Genre: ‘70s progressive rock, punk, new wave

Record Quantity: Over a thousand

Approx. budget per person: 3,000 yen

Follow: https://twitter.com/LiNENDORPHIN

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