For Umami Mart, a shop focusing on imported Japanese glassware, bar tools, pantry staples, and bottles of Japanese sake, beer and shochu, a tasting room has been long overdue. With its move from Old Oakland to a larger space in Temescal (4027 Broadway), owners Kayoko Akabori and Yoko Kumano will be able to share the subtleties of different sakes and beer with patrons, before, during, and after purchase.
The 1,200 square-foot space features a 21 and up tasting room in the back of the retail shop, with a small bar, six stools, and a tap rotating between beer and sake. There, guests can do instructional tastings, or order a beer, or glass of sake — previously Akabori and Kumano had been forced to host tasting at bars with licenses, like its neighbor the Trappist. Now, they’re able to host their own events and showcase special selections like a collaboration with Oakland’s own Den Sake. Only three cases of Den Sake Ori — made from the sediment at the bottom of the fermentation tank — were produced, and every single bottle of it can be found at Umami Mart.
There’s also a wide selection of sake cups, sparkling canned sake, bottles of shochu, and Japanese whisky. Bottles of beer or wine purchased in the shop can also be consumed in the tasting area for a corkage fee. (Check out the current menu below.)
Anders Arhoj of Copenhagen’s Studio Arhoj designed the interior of the new shop, including the minimalist shelving and colorful art wall (Arhoj also recently visited the shops’s old location to sign his playful new children’s book, which is available for purchase). Pantry staples like soy sauce, yuzu juice, salts, and matcha are also on display, alongside the crystal glassware, bar tools, donabes, and imported implements that have made the shop popular since it launched online in 2010.
Hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 12 p.m.- 7 p.m.; the Umami Mart Bar will be open Friday, Saturday, and Sundays.
- Umami Mart [Official]