If your friends are on a Streeterville
sushi kick but you don't like the way raw fish feels when it slides down your throat, let them stay downstairs at Sushi Taiyo
while you dine on the second floor at Izakaya Hapa, an Asian fusion concoction in a comfortable lounge.
Izakaya Hapa seats 250 happy souls and is owned by the same folks behind Lincoln Park’s Shine and Lakeview’s Rise. A tangerine glow and wannabe-club music greet you, along with fresh fruit- and herb-infused drinks, albeit expensive at approximately $10 a pop.
The name indicates an after-work drinking joint for Tokyo businessmen, and the wooden planks for seats might build Sapporo-sipping camaraderie. Or, if you've had a really tough day at the office, order a pitcher of the Sake Mojito, and coax it down with tapas-sized plates of chicken wings, sake-steamed mussels, hamachi carpaccio or sesame calamari.
On to the main course. How about small plates of stir-fry, yakitori, rice and noodle dishes, wonton-wrapped tofu burgers? Or try Izakaya Hapa’s specialty — hot pots filled with delicious Japanese curries or a saki-infused mix called Yaki Toban. The goal here is clear: Don't let eating get in the way of your drinking.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Jacob Wheeler