「古き仲間 / One for the Road」 (Furuki Nakama / One for the Road)
Old Pal / One for the Road

I was a bit worried that Bartender would fall under a kind of pattern that doesn’t give Sasakura enough time to shine through, but this second episode of Bartender was quite a delightful way to prove that line of thinking wrong. In this latest episode, Sasakura has to figure out what he’d need to take into consideration for the most mouthy characters he’s had yet.


I was pretty shocked that they established this early on that some people might not be entirely into Sasakura’s cocktails. It was hilarious to see Miwa’s grandfather spend the first half of the episode lambasting his cocktails and being thoroughly disgusted by the basic daiquiris, bellinis, and G&Ts he sent his way. That old man gave him the most diabolical insult when he waved a 10000 yen bill in his face and told him to fetch a One Cup Sake from the convenience store instead of his drinks. I was laughing so hard at that moment that I knew right then and there that I wanted to follow this show through to the very end.

The scathing indictment he had towards the Holland-style gin he used for a martini was also interesting to see happen because it shows that some details do slip from Sasakura’s hands. Where it shows Sasakura as a character who has to learn on the job as well as outside of work, but it checks out with his methodology of showing how he comes up with his orders.

He takes such meticulous care to discover the little intricacies about the person he’s serving that he would gain sudden inspiration on the fly rather than from the direct demands of a customer. This comes at a detriment to the older man since he was so focused on incorporating the Holland gin into a cocktail that he only focused on catering to his age rather than thinking about how this style of gin should be served. It makes Sasakura feel more like a character who risks jumping the gun if he assumes too much too easily of his clientele, especially if they don’t immediately fall in love with a drink he makes.

It’s what makes it so important for Sasakura to apply his intuition towards learning about his customers. The lawyer he serves tries to clock him as an asshole and a hypocrite for watching someone pour their heart out as he pours them drinks, but this act of hearing a customer out is how he can come up with crowd-pleasing choices for them.

It takes learning about the older man’s experience with Yokohama for him to look further into the kinds of foreign liquor that the city had access to back when he knew the bar’s former owner. With this knowledge in mind, the situation suddenly starts making sense, influencing him to serve an Old Pal, which would have a deeper connection with both the older man and the former owner whom he used to vibe with.

Likewise, he needed a gist of what the lawyer would want based on her work luggage, her request for nothing hard, and her surly language. Sasakura’s sense of humor is also very comically messed up because making the Bull Shot was a way to take all of these factors into account and mock her at the same time by referencing a mystery novel about a rude lawyer. I could tell once Sasakura got the idea together, he was chuckling in his head about how he was going to serve a major dunk on his customer.

At the same time, there is enough caring and kindness within Sasakura that he wants to be someone who can reach a helping hand out towards the people he serves, even if it’s a small gesture. After the lawyer addresses her workplace woes, he uses the “one for the road” phrase as a way to help her relax after a tense, annoying day at work, and allow her to offer one last toast to the day before heading off. It’s odd to look at a bartender as someone who can offer a remedy when alcohol is more of a downer than an upper, but the warmth, the company of others, and the compassion you receive in this space can cause some misfortune to turn around.

As far as the main plotline, I’m still trying to make sense of Miwa’s motives. She seems so devoted to the idea of recruiting him but doesn’t really take Sasakura or his flexibility into consideration. He just made it to Eden Hall and she’s still acting like he could easily adjust to a new workplace even if the paycheck is fatter. He just keeps making random excuses to avoid working for Hotel Cardinal, but I’d be looking forward to seeing if there is a more direct reason why he would prefer not work there.


  1. I am surprised the Anime so far is as smooth as the OP/ED music for the show. That Bull Shot cocktail looks like something I would drink every night. Actually… I could use one right now. I had one too many Lagavulin, and I feel like…

    Choya, you said the Anime established early that some people may not like the cocktails Sasakura creates. My concern is how Sasakura is supposed to improve if the customer doesn’t say why the drink sux. If none of the cocktails are to the customer’s liking, then the customer needs to speak up about what they are looking for. It’s not anyone’s responsibility to read people like a book.

  2. Had a dram of JW Black Label (with “Baka Mitai” as my mental BGM) after failing to pull for Ichika in Blue Archive‘s “Trip-Trap-Train” event… (Got “Binah Killer” Maki–twice, Mine, Onsen Cherino, and Mashiro instead. T_T)

    Anyway, on to the whisk(e)y pron (and other stuff)…

    – Finally got the detailed shot of the Ardbegs on display at Edenhall: The Ardbeg 10y/o and the Ardbeg 19y/o Traigh Bhan. (Had to surf the official Ardbeg website to confirm the latter.)
    – Does the “Bull Shot” also work with Russian Standard vodka? (My old liquor of choice before Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine. Would have switched to Nemiroff if it was available where I am.)
    – Had a little chuckle hearing Shizuka Ito (confirmed after cross-referencing the cast credits with Shun’s profile in Blue Archive and checking MAL) as lawyer Keiko Gotou, knowing that she’s a drinker IRL. Dunno if that still holds true today.
    – Interesting to see Ryuu put in a situation where a customer (actually the owner of the hotel that’s attempting to hire Ryuu) is stubbornly tough to please, yet he tries his best to make a drink that eventually satisfies that same customer. Pretty sure countless bartenders have had their fair share of tough customers (and sometimes receiving strange requests for their drink). Well, I’m no stranger to making a strange drink request to a bartender, like requesting a Vodka Martini that’s “shaken, not stirred” (James Bond-style). That being said, it’s been a long while since I last visited an actual drinking bar (and not one that’s more of a strip club), not to mention I’m more of a “drink at home”/”drink with friends at their home” kind of guy nowadays.

    Best of luck to Miwa and Yukari in hiring Ryo as a hotel bartender.

    On a different note, I’ve seen a bit more of the 2006 anime and it’s basically a series of episodic, self-contained vignettes instead of having any semblance of an overarching plot (which the 2024 anime certainly has). But it still has its own “Late ‘Oughties” charm. And the sakuga of all those liquor bottles still look good even if the 2024 anime is a major upgrade.


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