Azasu is a casual neighborhood izakaya located on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
We serve Japanese comfort food and bar snacks—the sort of food best eaten with a drink in one hand and chopsticks in the other. Family-style pork gyoza, crispy fried chicken karaage, comforting Japanese curries, rice, and noodles come to the table alongside icy mugs of Japanese beer and frozen yuzu cocktails.
Our food loves booze, so the drink menu overflows with Japanese whiskies, frozen shochu drinks, and Japanese Hoppy (a popular non-alcoholic beer spiked with shochu). Our hand-picked list of more than 18 types of cup sake (individual glass jars of sake with metal pop-can tops) is the only one of its kind in NYC.
Azasu is a place where you can stop by for quick beer and a plate of gyoza after work or linger late over shared plates and a round of cocktails (or four) with friends. See you soon.
For a younger crowd in their early twenties, Yopparai can seem intimidating and unapproachable. Our owner Gaku Shibata wanted to create a place where they could feel comfortable and have a good time, preferably while developing a taste for sake. With its wide selection of single-portion cup sake, Azasu sets itself up as a "gateway" experience for those new to izakayas.
"I just have a really nostalgic feeling about One Cup Ozeki. It was the first cup sake, and it's actually the first booze I ever bought. When I was a teenager I snuck out of my parents house and bought one in a vending machine."
Whereas an outing at Yopparai might be reserved for a more special occasion, Azasu is meant to mirror the lifestyle back in Japan, where almost everyone stops by the neighborhood izakaya after work. It's the equivalent of a French bistro or a German biergarten.
"I think more and more people are thinking of izakayas when they go out to eat. It's casual, fun for big parties, and it's meant for everybody. Soon it'll be like going out for Mexican, or grabbing a drink at your favorite dive bar."