Aesthetically, the 60-seat bar evokes the clandestine nature of the American Prohibition with the careful intricacy of Japanese mixology. Realised in a moody palette of rich textures and colours, the lounge combines pre-existing features like exposed industrial structures with smooth concrete panels, leather banquettes and an illuminated copper bar that appropriately shines the spotlight on the cocktail-making process. Dixon’s Melt pendants hang artistically overhead, while smoked mirror glass and marble tabletops, Scoop armchairs and shiny Etch tea light holders complete the elegant setting.
With a drink menu co-created by Shingo Gokan, director of the cult New York City bar Angel’s Share, we predict that once there, visitors are most likely going to be staying awhile.
The name means “secret” in Japanese. The mystery is hidden in plain sight behind a faux storefront. Entrance requires a reservation, then a keypad code that opens a mechanical door to a black box anteroom, where you’re checked in for a table or seat at the bar.
If all that sounds exclusive, it is, including the upscale design, original artwork, Japanese plates and Baccarat stemware.
The project from Umi partners and art and culture mavens, Charlie Hendon of Hendon Properties and Farshid Arshid of Fontanell Management, is another showcase for Umi sushi master Fuyuhiko Ito and his equally creative pastry chef wife, Lisa Matsuoka Ito.
The beverage program is the creation of Shingo Gokan, the exacting artistic force behind Angel’s Share in New York City — a speakeasy spot tucked away inside a Japanese restaurant that helped launch the craft cocktail revolution. T. Fable Jeon, one of Atlanta’s best young bartenders, is in charge of Himitsu, and contributing his own classic cocktail takes.
While he was in town recently for a pop-up event at Umi, Gokan explained that the Himitsu cocktail menu features seven signature drinks and seven classic twists.
“Each drink is named after the main ingredient of the cocktail in Japanese,” Gokan said. “For example, the Toryufu is truffle in Japanese.” The drink is made with pear-infused vodka, sweetened with white truffle honey, topped with sparkling Indian tonic and served in a flute with a thin slice of black truffle for garnish.