A freezing cold Norwegian winter wouldn’t be the first association one makes with Beer & Pizza GO_SUKE, but the connection is important in understanding the motivation behind Umeda’s new casual dining bar.
Manager Gosuke Asada’s inspiration for great pizza traces back to junior high school, on his first individual trip abroad to Norway for a ski camp. His English was limited, and his Norwegian coaches couldn’t speak Japanese either. “I was very nervous,” he remembers. After arriving in Oslo, Asada found himself waiting for a train to the ski camp, isolated and hungry. Waiting for him, in turn, was pizza to satiate his physical hunger and placate his emotional qualms. “That pizza was so delicious,” he says. “I had eaten pizza before, but I thought that was my best encounter with pizza at the time.” Asada understands broader contexts of a meal all contribute to its experience. He’s combined this with a lifelong interest in social spaces, in the hope of creating a unique place for visitors.
Back at his restaurant, his proposal for guests is, therefore, a simple one: come in, have great food and drinks, and prepare to be social. The social aspect is adroitly achieved through the open-plan layout of the bar’s first floor: large tables and benches dominate the room, enabling guests to mingle with ease. The use of real wood – for furniture and fuel for the pizza oven – adds a rich, palatable dimension to the mix.
Upstairs is a slightly different affair: the music is less upbeat, the décor more sophisticated, and the lighting more soft and intimate. One large table encourages shared seating, emphasising Asada’s ideals. It’s the perfect setting for a party or work event, considering that use of the amenities (projector, mic and screen) incur no extra charge. Asada doesn’t want price to get in the way of having a memorable experience (no table or entrance charge either), a belief reflected in the food and drinks.
The dough base for their 10 offerings of Napoli-styled pizza is made from 100% imported Italian flour. Each pizza uses high quality ingredients and they’re freshly made and cooked in a custom-built, wood-fired oven Their most popular pizza is a simply delicious combination of Italian ham, a mix of five herbs, and cheese (¥1,480 for regular size).
On the drinks front, GO_SUKE’s selection has something for almost everyone. In addition to standard beers and spirits, the menu features 40 organic wines, a variety of original cocktails and fun beverages such as their test tube concoctions (¥1,800). A standout service of the bar is its bottle policy: buy a bottle of spirits and they’ll keep it without charge for six months, throwing in free ice and soda water for the duration of its existence. Now that’s the GO_SUKE experience.
• Address: Osaka, Kita-ku, Sonezakicho 2-5-24, Chuo building, 3/4F
• Access: 7min walk from Osaka/ Umeda train stations. From the ground floor look up for the big awning
• Opening hours: 6pm-5am, 365 days a year
• Price Range: Food (appetizers, salads and pizzas) ¥100-1480; Drinks ¥200-15,000
• Go to dish: any pizza
• Go to drink: test tubes for a trip back to high-school science class
• Best bit: fun and lively atmosphere
• Worst bit: they don’t open for lunch