HISTORY

Roppongi in 1964, the Japan's history of soul music has begun. The birth of the legend.

It was 1964 the year of the Tokyo Olympic when George’s bar served its first customer in Roppongi.
Soon the place was packed with black American soldiers who heard a rumor of the jukebox that plays the soul music, which was rare to be found in bars back in those days.  It didn’t take too long to become a Japan's "shrine of the soul music”.

It wasn’t only the soul music for which big black Americans flock around this small bar in Roppongi.
Nobuko Okada, the founder of George’s bar was the main reason also.
People were drown to a strong aura that was radiated by this small Japanese lady. Who is the lady? If you don’t know who she is, let us tell you what you are missing out.
Dealing with big and drunk American soul-men at the bar wasn't peace of cake during the war time and those tough times made a small Japanese lady incredibly strong, powerful and more attractive. Soon Nobuko was admired by soul lovers not only Solders but people through out Japan.

Many first-timers recalls that the bar's its small white door was too heavy to open, as they felt they were pushed back by the powerful energy emitted from inside of this small place.
Once they squeezed out the guts and opened the door, they all became regulars because they felt accepted and enjoyed the special moments.
It wasn’t only Black American soldiers and Japanese soul-lovers who were brought under the spell of this Roppongi's small bar.

The Rolling Stones, Billy Joel, Van Halen, Ray Charles, James Brown, Chaka Khan, Janet Jackson, Kool & the Gang, Natalie Cole, Hall & Oates, Earth, Wind and Fire, Whitney Houston, Aerosmith, Otis Redding, Chi-Lites, Kylie Minogue, Gladys Knight, Lenny Kravitz and so forth.

Many of well known world class artists had stopped by at the bar and some still do every time they visit Tokyo.
The autographed posters all over the walls and the ceilings are their footmarks and it proves the bar was loved so much by them.
A lot of domestic artists and celebrities also treated the bar like their family home where they always come back to.
That is George’s and it’s been always their soul home.

However there was something even Nobuko couldn’t beat. That is the illness undermined her over years.
Sadly, the little lady passed away in 2001... The bar was crying.

On April 23 2005, something people were afraid of had become reality.
Due to the new building development of the Tokyo Midtown project in Roppongi, George’s bar had brought down the curtains on its 41 years of history...It was hearbreaking.

Uncountable numbers of "soulmen" were heading to Roppongi from all over Japan and even from overseas on the final night. All wanted to participate in the bar’s last moment.
George’s bar opened the door at 8pm and within an hour all beers are gone. People had voluntarily gone to get as many beers as possible from liquor stores around.
All beers in Roppongi disappeared that night.
A lot of bartenders came along in the morning to pay their respect and pray at their soul-shrine.
The party never ended.
The place were still overbrimming with people at 7am when a couple of police officers stopped by. But soon as they realized that it was the last night of the bar, they pretended they saw nothing and disappeared.
Finally the bar closed the door at 2pm. That was the moment when the bar became the real legend.

The bar was knocked down. People lost direction like a boat drifted in the big ocean. But it did't last too long... On August 24 in the same year, the bar was revided.
It was on the back street in Nishi-Azabu where the soul-children of Georges’ has found their new home.
Since then the bar is on a long jurney of the soul legend again as the Japan’s oldest soul bar.

George’s today is no loner packed with black American soldiers. However, as long as the bar exists, it is the home of the soul music where people always come back to.
The usual jukebox is playing as usual as before.
Such a simple thing like that makes us incredibly happy. It was George’s taught us that and this is the place where we believe Nobuko’s soul still lives within.

The legend of George’s bar has just begun.

By KT