The theme song to the “Super Mario Bros.” was the theme song to my childhood. I’d go to school, crush my sister at Super Mario on the beat-up couch in our family room, eat, and repeat.
Koji Hiramochi told me he spent most of his childhood playing video games in an “underground game center” before going on to become a professional video game designer.
A little more than a decade ago, he opened Star Club, one of countless pocket-size bars near the Golden Gai area of Shinjuku, where bars and restaurants are stacked like Tetris pieces down the alleyways.
At Star Bar, you walk up a flight of stairs into a full on visual assault of Super Mario-ness. Any and all available wall space is lined with Super Mario art, shelves are packed with figurines, plush toys and t-shirts. The bar itself, between the ashtrays and the drinks, is crammed with Mario knick knacks and ephemera; Piranha plant lamps loom above.
All the drinks on the menu are Mario-themed; there are some ramshackle couches crammed into the space on which you can sit and play Super Mario Bros. like I used to when I was kid — and now I will, cocktail in hand, when I’m in Tokyo.
Japan, 〒160-0022 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Shinjuku, 2 Chome−11, Chome 都 道 305 号線, https://www.bar-starclub.com/.