Bringing new meaning to the phrase, “this town ain’t big enough for the both of us,” Bloomberg reports that Goldman Sachs and Google employees are facing off for space at a Tokyo bar.
And it looks like the Googlers are winning.
The bar is called Heartland, it’s a brewery, arcade and beer garden located in the super-chic Rappongi neighbourhood of Tokyo. CNN called the area “Tokyo’s most controversial night spot” — it’s loud, it’s wild, and it’s full of tourists and expats.
Heartland is no exception to all that. In 2008, Gaijin Tonic, a Tokyo drinking blog called it “a notorious pick-up joint where gold-digging 30-something women go to ensnare generous foreign banker boyfriends.”
That was just after Lehman Brothers collapsed. The bank’s Tokyo office was also very close to Heartland, and you can imagine what happened to the expense accounts that fuelled many a drunken night at the “standing room only” bar. Gone.
According to Bloomberg, belt tightening and staff reductions at Goldman have produced a similar result. Luckily for Heartland, techies from Google and companies like Apple and Lenovo has stepped up to fill the void.
That means the vibe in the bar, however, has changed.
The changes are visible at Heartland, located at the street level of the landmark Mori Tower, said Shioya, the manager…
“People used to be drinking more,” she said. “Some customers opened seven bottles of champagne for their birthdays. Some would ask us to prepare 100 champagne glasses for celebrations, and they were offering them to bar staff and strangers.”
With fewer bankers and more patrons from the tech world, the atmosphere has become more laid back, Shioya said. After business declined following the financial crisis, the
bar began showing sporting events on its big-screen display to draw customers. Couches where well-dressed men and mini-skirted women once paired up to lounge and drink cocktails were replaced with tables and stools.
What you think of those changes is a matter of taste (we suppose). Either way, it’s cool to get an idea of what goes on at Heartland, so we’ve collected some pictures and video of a night at the bar.
And here's Heartland. According to Bloomberg, there are 30% fewer potential Goldman customers for this bar since 2008.
Back in the glory days, Heartland's manager told Bloomberg, bankers would fill this space at 5:00 pm and wile out until 2:00 am.
But it's nothing like this — the bar's 3rd Anniversary celebration in 2006. Get about 1:30 in to watch some crazy table dancing.
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