Sitting below 9th Street in the East Village, next to an inconspicuous wooden sign imprinted with a sake bottle and tucked down a small set of stairs, is a red-lighted, postapocalyptic-looking bar that’s been serving up sake since 1993. Sake Bar Decibel has long been known as one of New York’s original spots for a true Japanese sake experience, with a robust selection of nearly a hundred varieties of sake and shochu on the list. A visit will transport you to the dark corners of Tokyo, courtesy of synthesizer-heavy Japanese rock music, Gundam action figures, and graffiti scrawled all over the walls and low ceiling. Drinks are served on candlelit cocktail tables — unless you opt for a seat along the small five-person sake bar — and glasses are filled to the brim in a lacquer box to catch the overflow from generous pours. The drinks pair well with street-style Japanese bar food — small plates include wasabi dumplings, okonomiyaki (stuffed pancakes), sashimi, and an assortment of appetizers.
240 East 9th Street, Manhattan