Toshi Koizumi, the sake sommelier at Wasan restaurant, and Chris Johnson, the sake sommelier at Cherry Restaurant and Izakaya, share their favorite spots for drinking sake and eating Japanese food around New York City.

Pressed Sushi at Kyo Ya |   Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Pressed Sushi at Kyo Ya | Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Kyo Ya

"Sit with Sono-san, enjoy his delicate and amazing food and his super entertaining personality. Order the sashimi assortment and ask about the battera-pressed sushi."
FED Pro  >  Sake Sommelier Chris Johnson (Cherry)

94 East 7th Street, New York, NY 10009
T: 212.982.4140

EN Japanese Brasserie |   Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

EN Japanese Brasserie | Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

EN Japanese Brasserie

"Abe-san makes amazing elevated traditional cuisine. The food and the room are fantastic. Order from the small plates area or go for the full omakase."
FED Pro  >  Sake Sommelier Chris Johnson (Cherry)

435 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
T: 212.647.9196 |



Travel to Tokyo at this subterranean sake bar and restaurant located in the basement of a nondescript Midtown East office building. Walk past the guard, make a left and head downstairs.

“They have more than 300 kinds of sake and a very knowledgeable staff. I usually ask them what is the best sake that I should pair with food.”
FED Pro  >  Sake Sommelier Toshi Koizumi (Wasan)

211 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017
T: 212.953.7253 |


"In a dark basement, it immediately transports you to Japan. The night slowly disappears here. The prices are cheap and the glasses are full, but you can always order another. Try a few sakes and keep notes for next time (I promise you won’t remember in the morning)."
FED Pro  >  Sake Sommelier Chris Johnson (Cherry)

240 East 9th Street, New York, NY 10003
T: 212.979.2733 |

Sake at Yopparai | Photograph courtesy of Yopparai

Sake at Yopparai | Photograph courtesy of Yopparai


A small Japanese sake bar and restaurant with a deep sake list, traditional bar food and snacks. Try some of their specialties, which include tsukune meatballs, fresh tofu, and Tokyo style oden.

"A classic izakaya with a great sake list and super cool glassware. Ask for what they are pouring that night."
FED Pro  >  Sake Sommelier Chris Johnson (Cherry)

151 Rivington Street, New York, NY 10002
T: 212.777.7253 |


This is a coffee bar during the day, specializing in siphon coffee with pastries and sandwiches, but at night it turns into a sake bar. Toshi recommends coming here in the evenings for their unique selection.

"The ambiance is really cool. Hi-Collar means ‘the fashion-alluding term popularized during the Japanese Jazz Age. It symbolizes Japan's flirtation with the West.'"
FED Pro  >  Sake Sommelier Toshi Koizumi (Wasan)

214 East 10th Street, New York, NY 10003
T: 212.777.7018 |

FED Pros

Toshi Koizumi

Toshi Koizumi runs the sake program at Wasan in NYC's East Village. He features over 40 different kinds of sake with a seasonal sake, unpasteurized sake, undiluted sake and aged sake. He is certified by the Sommelier Society of Wine and was a finalist at the World Sake Competition in the New York region.

Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson, AKA the Sake Ninja, is the sake sommelier at New York’s Cherry restaurant and the recently opened Cherry Izakaya in Brooklyn. At Cherry, he has created a sake list that is both diverse and large, with more than 80 sakes. His goal is to be able to serve sake to both the novice and the expert, yet also pair it with their French-influenced Japanese cuisine.

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