People arriving in Tokyo since 1990 can sometimes feel as if they have crashed the greatest party the world has ever seen, but after the lights have gone out. Grizzled veterans spin tales of Japan's bubble era, when the sake flowed like water, bonus checks carried an impossible number of zeros and the cost of a 20-sq-m flat was roughly equal to the gross domestic product of Panama. Those days are long gone, but after 16 years of wandering through the desert of deflation, a certain class of Tokyoites once again has yen to burn. You can find them at Grace, a $30 million nightclub complex dedicated to bringing back the gratuitous glitz and glitter of the country's economic glory days.
Designed by trendy interior designer Yasumichi Morita and located in a vine-covered five-story building in Tokyo's party district of Roppongi, Grace features a swanky basement nightclub (Feria), an upscale Japanese/Italian restaurant (Ruby), a hip-hop club (Midas) and an elegant two-floor bar (Crystal Lounge). The ambiance is decadentCrystal Lounge has a life-size crystal replica of Michelangelo's Davidand the target clientele, says general manager Takeshi Wada, is "celebrities and celebrity-like people." In practice, that tends to mean investment bankers and the women in short dresses who would like to get to know them. But actual celebrities have been known to materialize: Wada proudly points to a dent in the sofa at Feria's roped-off vip area that he says was made by a stiletto heel belonging to Paris Hilton. You too can party where Paris partied, but it won't be cheap. Reserving a table at Feria on a weekend costs $17 a person; just to get into the Grace complex you'll need to pay a $21 entrance fee ($13 for women) and buy at least two bottles of alcohol, which will run at least $129 a pop. Nothing takes you back to the bubble era faster than paying through the nose.
by Bryan Walsh. With reporting by Michiko Toyama
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