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Cooler Rulers – Chicago magazine


NAomi Hattori and Jun-Jun Wichaikul did what they thought was an easy investment in real estate when they bought a shop window in Lake View, rented out to a small liquor store. Turnkey? Not so fast. The tenant of the couple left, and they suddenly turned out to be not owners, but shopkeepers. In August, they leaned toward Hator’s Japanese heritage: they rebranded a store in Konbini & Kanpai and opened the coolest new slashie in Chicago (a compatible bar and liquor store).

If you walk the shelves with natural wines and craft beer, you will find many surprises. For starters, all 180 canned beers are available in one can, and many are hard-to-reach Asian varieties like Suiyoubi No Neko (which means “Cat on Wednesday”), a refreshing Belgian white ale from Japan. Then you’ll find three coolers filled with dozens of sake, organized in style, such as “crunchy and clean” and “mind and salty”. In front of the store are lots of Japanese snacks, from sharp quick belt cups to Pocky coconut sticks.

Now for indeed fun part: at tables scattered throughout the space, you can open a beer or order a flight of sake. And, yes, there is hot water if you want to try this belt. The store also houses pop-ups with dishes from Asian-American clothes such as Onigiri Shuttle Kororin and Mom’s to keep you full of rice balls and bento boxes while you drink.

If you join a wine club ($ 40 a month) or sake ($ 50 a month), you will not only get a monthly allowance of two to three bottles to take home, but you will also unlock access to the back bar, where rare and premium -classes of wine, sake and spirits are poured into a glass. Order the exciting eight-year-old Takamine whiskey, which is fermented koji and uses a recipe developed more than 100 years ago in Peoria by Japanese immigrant Jokichi Takamin.

As for the name of the store, canteen refers to snacks in the store for sale, and kanpai means “cheers”. This is a great combination for which you can raise a glass. 1433 W. Belmont Ave., Lake View

Three great sakes you can try

Jun-Jun Vichaikul recommends them to update your home bar game.

Dassai 45 Junmai Daiginjo

Asahi Shuzo

“Dassai is a gateway that can get people hooked. This is the definition of fruit and flower. Elegant bouquet, smooth initial taste, bold medium taste and crunchy finish make you want more. $ 50 for a 720-milliliter bottle

Indigo Junmai Ginjo

Sohomare Sake Brewery

“This underrated sake is versatile and sophisticated, with a little bit of rice creaminess and sweets in the foreground.” $ 38 for a 720-milliliter bottle

Cowboy Yamahai Junmai Ginjo Genshu

Shiokawa Brewing Co.

“The cow on the label says it all. This mind-based sake is designed for hearty meat dishes and will not disappoint when paired with steak ”. $ 35.50 for a 720-milliliter bottle

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