East Village, New York, Manhattan, Japanese, Sake, Subterranean, Underground, Bon Yagi, Little Tokyo, Sakagura



Sake Bar

East Village

240 East 9th Street

New York, NY 10003-7530 (view map)

T: 212.979.2733




Mon - Sat: 6pm - 4am

Sun: 6pm - 2am

Long before there were sub-level speakeasies like PDT and Little Branch, there was Decibel. Back in 1993, when the East Village was in its infancy of a major gentrification overhaul, Decibel opened on East Ninth Street.

Dark, dimly lit, a few Miles Davis tunes in their music mix, and a labyrinth layout, it’s a sexy place to start or end a night. They have over 100 different kinds of sake, four different types of beer, a small shochu selection, and Japanese pub fare.

The walls have a good 17 years of graffiti history on them, which everything else aside, makes you happy it hasn’t been transformed into a John Varvatos store.

While the feel of Decibel is unique and individual, it is surprisingly owned by a guy who has built quite the
Japanese empire in New York. His name is Bon Yagi and he is the man who brought Tokyo to the East Village. His company, T.I.C. Group, started in 1984 with restaurant Hasaki, one of the first sushi restaurants in New York City. Chances are, if you’ve eaten tradition-style Japanese food in New York, you’ve been to one of his restaurants, many within the two block radius of East Ninth and Tenth streets. Shabu-Tatsu, Shabu-Shabu, Soba-Ya, Rai Rai Ken, tea house Cha-an, and most recently Curry-Ya, and Robatya. T.I.C. also owns Choisi (Gramercy), and the preeminent sake bar, Sakagura (Midtown East).

Bon Yagi is doing something right. Each restaurant has its own character and Decibel is certainly the irreverent member of the group. Gritty vibe, relaxed atmosphere, tattoos encouraged, and very serious about its sake.