277 Church St., nr. White St.; 212-965-0200
Grab a table at this quiet Tribeca bar and let former EN Japanese Brasserie sommelier Takahiro Okada suggest a small-batch, unpasteurized nama-zake. Or just pick a glass of shochu ($10 to $15) from the ever-changing menu—perhaps the Kokuto, which finishes with burned sugarcane flavors and is delivered in a glass with a hand-carved, jumbo ice cube. Or go early and play happy-hour Hollywood Squares by choosing from a grid of nine sakes to make a customized flight of three for $15. While Shigure excels at shio-koji fried chicken and cold, crunchy burdock, think of the small plates like fried Berkshire pork with black vinegar sauce and the daily obanzai as drinking snacks, there to launch your journey into the night. Shigure’s massive back-wall blackboard map of Japan, broken down into prefectures that facilitate ordering by region, is illustrative proof that there’s still a good amount of drinking to do and always something new to drink.