Portland fetes Japanese pub culture

Izakaya festival will feature sake, food, art and more

Move over microbrews; saké is stealing the limelight this fall.

Made from fermented rice, the Japanese drink will be on display at “Izakaya — A Pacific NW Celebration of Japanese Pub Culture.” The event happens Nov. 16 at The Jupiter Hotel in Portland.

An “izakaya” is the Japanese equivalent to a pub or tavern — a public drinking establishment. Along with saké, the festival will feature Japanese beer, food, art and entertainment.

According to a news release, saké imports have increased significantly in Portland in the last few years. The organizers say that “Oregon is the number one consumer of saké per capita in the nation.”

The festival will feature individual tasting rooms for each saké producer including Choya, Hakushika and Oregon's own SakéOne, based in Forest Grove.

Other festival highlights include a live art installation by Japanese artist Taka Sudo, music by DJ Satoshi Mukohata and a “Maid Cafe” — a restaurant where waitresses are dressed in maid costumes. According to the festival's website, “the first cafe was established in Akihabara, Tokyo, in March 2001.”

Ticket prices are $40 in advance and $45 at the door. The event runs from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at the hotel. Proceeds benefit the Japan-America Society of Oregon, a nonprofit organization. To purchase tickets and for more information, visit www.celebrateizakaya.com or call 503-447-7155.

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