Gaien Higashi Street Part 2 – Gas Panic
More Roppongi than Roppongi, this bar is the inspiration for all the meat market bars in and around the main strip. If you come here, leave your best behavior in the locker with your coat.
My favorite Gas Panic anecdote comes quite a few years ago from an ex-colleague who walked into one of the infamous chain in infamous Roppongi, whereupon he eyed a group of girls coyote dancing on the counter over the usual sizeable crowd.
For reasons at once easy and difficult to understand, he nestled up next to one he fancied and gave her buns a bit of a squeeze. Dissatisfied, the lass immediately grabbed his dirty great mitt and redirected it to a more sensitive area in that region, with a most cold and unsentimental efficiency, then carried on dancing without once bothering to learn which creature owned the helping hand.
Now this sample of the Panic could only have been more stereotypical had the nubile lass’ navy boyfriend walked up behind him and clocked him, perhaps with the bottle you must be carrying at all times in the place, (…then picked up her best friend, while the aforementioned lady puked up over my coworker and passed out in the corner, forcing him to go home empty handed wondering loudly and cursively how he managed to fuck it up.)
Just because I tend to give this place a wide berth doesn’t mean it’s not my favorite bar. The Gas Panic wrote the book on producing the kind of meat markets that dominate the Tokyo Tower side of the main street, now studiously avoided by the Occupy Wall Street types who write for the Lonely Planet. However, take away their apparent opposite, the deeply religious conservative, and I reckon a fair chunk of that mass of hedonism leftover, male members especially, would seen too many aesthetically violent and darkly comic movies to not have a little residual affection for bars and clubs that don’t see the need for things such as rules (or in this case, just one – keep a drink in your hand at all times.)
In fact a movie with a brief scene in here is something I for one thinks the Panic almost deserves to bestow immortality. Nothing too cutting edge mind you. There was no negligence on the part of the Kill Bill, Lost in Translation, Babel and the Last Samurai teams. Maybe Too Fast and Furious 12: Tokyo Drift 3, or perhaps the Hangover franchise when it’s long warn out it’s welcome and is heading straight-to-DVD.
In some ways it’s bigger than the game. In Heartland and a few other places I made a point of recommending you upgrade your job to the chick you are chatting up when she asks the ineviatable. However, this advice is probably remains sage even at the other meat markets in the area.
Not here though.
If you find yourself fielding a ‘What do you do?’, in the Gas Panic you’ve waited much too long to make your move and she probably has you marked you down as gay, or worse, someone keen on maintaining the relationship beyond breakfast the next morning. If you want to persist though, you’d be much better advised to drop your job to the lowest possible level (e.g cleaning up rodent droppings at a factory in Gunma, if you happen to be a derivitives trader or pilot).
Who ought to drink here? But if you are closer fit to the profile, i.e an early-to-mid 20 something lad, you could do a lot worse than make a beeline for this place. If you are older, wait until later in the night so you can cite your level of drunkeness as an excuse for ‘pushing the Panic button’. Alternatively, you might take advantage of the very reasonable happy hour they’ve going (300 yen for just about everything, til 10pm) and just get too smashed on that to bother leaving.
(PS Please take what I said about being beaten up in the Panic by military dudes with a grain of salt. Most of the servicemen I have come across have been at the least, polite and friendly, and from time-to-time quite helpful. The Panic itself is not also that violent, and is much less so than, say, several bars I can think of back home downunder.)