FUGLEN (The Bird) is a café, vintage showroom and cocktail bar from Oslo, Norway. Heralded as one of the best retail concepts in the world by uber style bible Monocle, FUGLEN has opened their first outpost in Tokyo. Having served coffee since 1963, the original FUGLEN had two neighbouring rooms painstaking restored by one of Norway’s experts on mid-century design, Peppe Trulsen. A patina of time, FUGLEN has been declared as a cultural heritage site, preserving a valuable example of Japanese influence towards the end wave of Scandinavian Design in 1950 and 60s.
The Bird landed in Tokyo last May and coffee lovers have been flocking to it. (you saw the pun coming, didn’t you?). Nestled along the streets of Tomigaya, the tranquil ambience of FUGLEN TOKYO is a stark contrast to the psychedelic madness of Harajuku. Trulsen’s curatorial selection of lush wood, retro colours and mid century Norwegian design has been completely transplanted here: we felt like we had stepped into a Scandinavian family’s heirloom home.
During the day, FUGLEN TOKYO serves specialty coffee that spoils you for choice: espresso based drinks, Kalita drip and AeroPress coffee made with beans flown in from the best roasteries in Oslo – Solberg & Hansen, Kaffa, Tim Wendelboe, and Supreme Roastworks. As the baristas were in the thick of action, our eyes darted across the quirky treasures. While most items in a vintage shop are on display only, FUGLEN TOKYO doubles as a ‘living’ showroom. Everything here is for sale, from the chair you are sitting on to the lamp on the wall. The carefully selected objects are staged (and used) as in real life, making it easy for you to visualize how it would fit into your home.
I ordered Tim Wendelboe’s Colombia Finca Tamana made with the AeroPress. Tim Wendelboe started working with Elias Roa in early 2012 to produce the Finca Tamana. It was their biggest project with a single farmer, and the progress made in the 4 days when they were there in June 2012, was remarkable. The result is a very juicy cup with snappy acidity: we tasted bright citrus flavours of mandarin orange as well as berries with the sweet lingering finish of caramel. The nostalgic ardour emanating from the vintage pastiche dilated time, cajoling us to savor every sip of coffee. We lounged around in the lazy afternoon leafing through Monocle magazine, and came across the book Coffee With Tim Wendelboe again. This time Tim proudly signed off with a congratulatory message for a fellow compatriot’s Tokyo venture.
In a few hours, FUGLEN TOKYO would transform into a cocktail bar serving traditional cocktails, unorthodox concoctions conjured by Linie Award 2011 Champion Bartender Halvor Digernes and his protégé Yumi Sato. Before leaving, we spoke to the affable barista who was keen to enlighten us about AeroPress techniques. While we were reluctant to leave the nostalgic enclave, the polychromatic cacophony welcoming us was oddly endearing. A palpable air of excitement pulsated as we wondered what else awaits us in our quest for great coffee.
Facebook Page: facebook.com/Fuglen.Tokyo
Address: 1-16-11 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo