A welcoming and casual bar experience where Hobart and Japan mingle. Featuring a wide range of izakaya inspired dishes and a fully stocked bar specializing in sake, cocktails and beer.
All together for a truly social dining experience.
Originally published on 27 February 2020.
The best blend of Hobart and Tokyo can be found at Bar Wa Izakaya.
We sat down with owners and brother duo, Richard & Julian to chat all things Japan.
These 2 started their journey at the Republic Bar just down the road, working in a variety of roles starting as far back as grade 7 and doing basic kitchen work through to becoming head chefs and booking bands.
“After nearly 20 years, you get to the point where you need something fresh,” tells Richard. As it turns out, the opening of Bar Wa was a quick decision, they had never thought of owning a business, but they opened their doors and are now a favourite Hobart location.
“The secret to good Japanese food is not to overcomplicate it, but rather keep it simple,” says Julian.
Japanese lesson time…. Izakaya is a Japanese pub/tavern and Wa means Japan, but also often means harmony.
This duo has been to Japan a number of times and Richard in particular has spent his fair share of time in izakayas. “Every time I would sit down, I always ended up meeting new people and spending hours there. I know when it is really working here in the restaurant because you’ll see two strangers sitting at the bar start talking to each other, or two tables joining together making friends,” says Richard.
The dishes here are designed for a social dining experience, so much of the menu is shared plates.
The only condition is that the food must have a Japanese influence and, where possible, be locally-sourced.
Heads up, if you aren’t aware, they do a lunchtime special for Ramen, which is a favourite food pick at Hello Hobart! You can also get takeaway if you are pressed for time.
If you wish to pair up your meal with a drink, Julian & Richard say they make a mean whisky sour (with a Japanese twist) or Hanami (cherry blossom cocktail). You will also find a range of quality Japanese beverages like whiskies, sakes and beer. They also offer a sake tasting plate, a great choice for those who haven’t had the tipple before.
“Initially when we started, I sold my own personal collection of Japanese whiskies from my travels thinking it would last the year. But we sold out in a month,” says Richard.
And if you need to make a bathroom break, you will have fun with the Japanese toilet and the language lessons playing over the speaker!
The menu has gluten-free, vego and vegan options – just ask the staff when ordering.