the sashimi platter at takashima records photo by adam rothbarth

First Look: Takashima Records in The Grove

Takashima Records will add to The Grove’s lineup of unique bars and will offer St. Louisans a place to explore Japanese whisky and sake when doors officially open Feb. 20.


The Japanese whisky and record bar at 4095 Chouteau Ave. comes from co-owners Sean Baltzell and Matthew Leach (who also co-own Parlor and Taco Circus), as well as Paul Fullerton, Mitch Kirkwood and Mike Palermo. 


Former Blue Ocean bar manager (and 2019 Sauce One to Watch) Tai Nalewajko helms the bar program. Nalewajko, a certified sake sommelier, said when the space opens, there should be around 10 sake varieties; his goal is to eventually have 20 to 25.


He’ll also offer around 15 bottles of Japanese whisky, including like Mars Iwai 45, Mars Maltage Cosmo, Mars single-malt Komagatake and Ichiro’s Malt & Grain. Eventually, the program could offer up to 50. 


Nalewajko has also created a dozen house cocktails with another three nonalcoholic options. There will be four beers on tap and 10 to 12 bottles available. Some of the beers, naturally, will be imported, and local brews from places like 4 Hands Brewing Co., Perennial Artisan Ales and neighboring Rockwell Beer Co will also be available.


Read More // Takashima Records in The Grove adds its own restaurant to concept

Japanese whisky fans can also take advantage of Takashima’s subscription program. For a yearly or biannual fee – Nalewajko estimates around $250 and $150, respectively – subscribers will have access to discounted bottles, educational classes and bottle storage. Nalewajko said the bottle storage concept comes from old Japanese cafes, where bartenders would store bottles for customers who wished to enjoy their own preferred spirits at the bar without carrying their bottles around town. 


Executive chef Chris Krzysik, who previously cooked at Louie and Indo, helms the bar program. His menu includes bar snacks like salt and pepper cashews and crudité. A sashimi program includes options like kanpachi (amberjack from Hawaii), suzuki (sea bass from Japan) and Kusshi oysters from British Columbia.


Onigiri options include tuna mayo, umeboshi (sour plum) and kombu. Additionally, a rotating soup will be on the menu; Krzysik will launch with oden, a dashi-based soup with fishcake, daikon, shiitake, quail egg, sweet potato and kabocha squash.


Takashima Records will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. and Sunday from 5 p.m. to midnight. Here’s a first look at The Grove’s newest bar. 


Adam Rothbarth is the staff writer at Sauce Magazine.