Bloomberg News

Tokyo Bar Where Goldman Bankers Drank Champagne Closes Its Doors

January 06, 2014

The former Heartland Bar in Tokyo's Roppongi Hills.

A bartender pours a glass of Heartland brand beer, brewed by Kirin Holdings Co., in the Heartland bar at the Roppongi Hills complex, operated by Mori Building Co., at night in Tokyo. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Heartland, the bar in Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills complex where bankers from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS:US) and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. partied before the 2008 financial crisis, has shut its doors after more than a decade.

The bar, downstairs from the Japan headquarters of Goldman Sachs and Barclays Plc (BARC) as well as the former Japan head office of Lehman, is closed as of today, Kan Yamamoto, a spokesman for Kirin Holdings Co. (2503), said by phone. The Tokyo-based brewer opened the bar in 2003 to promote its Heartland-brand beer.

“The brand has gained enough support from our customers now,” with sales growing at more than 10 percent annually in recent years, Yamamoto said. There are no plans to move or reopen the bar in the immediate future, he said.

Once an exuberant party venue where the champagne started flowing at 5 p.m., Heartland suffered a 30 percent drop in revenue after Lehman went bankrupt and Goldman Sachs cut back staff in Japan, leaving it with fewer customers. The bar in recent years saw an influx of new patrons from Google Inc. (GOOG:US) and Apple Inc. (AAPL:US), both of which moved their Japan headquarters to Roppongi Hills as financial firms vacated.

Heartland and Goldman Sachs were both original tenants in Mori Building Co.’s Roppongi Hills development, a complex including offices, shops, restaurants, apartments, a hotel, an art museum and a movie theater.

Before the financial crisis, bankers from upstairs would order as many as 100 champagne glasses for parties and offer them to bar staff and strangers, Mai Shioya, a manager at Heartland, said in April last year. After the crisis, customers drank less even with new tenants such as the tech companies moving into the complex, she said.

In April 2009, after overseas financial companies cut about 16 percent of their Japan workforce in 15 months, or 4,300 jobs, Heartland hosted a “pink-slip party” to help unemployed bankers network and find new jobs.

To contact the reporter on this story: Yuko Takeo in Tokyo at ytakeo2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Longid at flongid@bloomberg.net


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