1. Bars & Breweries

Bar review: Ichicoro Ane crafts fusion cocktails

Photos courtesy of Geneva Johnson The Genji Glove.
Published Dec. 22, 2018

One of the best things about Japan is the ubiquity of the izakaya: small and simple taverns where you can get a convenient cocktail and bite to eat, often into the wee hours. Last year, during a layover in Japan, I decided to find a suitable izakaya to have a drink and practice my laughably poor Japanese.

I found a lonely spot and sat at the bar, fudging my way through ordering. I ended up with a glass of scotch and some slices of cucumber topped with savory-tart umeboshi paste. The experience was memorable and increasingly fun with each drink. It was the quintessential izakaya: casual, relaxed and unique.

Ichicoro Ane ("ane" meaning "little sister") opened last December in the Station House building's basement, known best for its long run as Cafe Alma. Ane's big sister has been a Seminole Heights staple for some time, so when a St. Pete branch opened, it was welcomed.

For good reason, too. It's mix of traditional and Japanese fusion cuisine was a perfect accompaniment for an adventurous cocktail list and comprehensive sake and whisky selection. It's more varied and certainly more spacious than a typical izakaya, but the vibe is absolutely right. It's a modern, hip take on Japan's answer to the Irish pub — a one-stop-shop for food, drink, company and often music, too.

There's a smart balance of hip and authentic at work, with hip-hop and electronic dance tunes playing in the background as customers sip steaming bowls of ramen with large wooden spoons.

The drink program, which ranges from sake to tequila to high-end Japanese and Scotch whiskeys, is among the area's finest. Plus, the wine and beer options are plentiful. And the cocktails? Wow. Most of the house cocktails expand on the restaurant's Japanese influence.

Take the Golden Saucer. It's a unique twist on the classic gin fizz, utilizing bean-based aquafaba for foam in place of egg whites, and a combination of miso syrup, rosewater, lemon juice and Velvet Falernum — a spicy-sweet syrup used in several tiki-style drinks — in place of citrus and soda water, all dressed up in a coupe glass with a flower bud floating on top.

Or the Black Mage, which uses activated charcoal amaro (you tell me) to add color and an herbal earthiness to draft IPA, pineapple turbinado sugar and lime juice. Or the Genji Glove, which combines white rum and draft matcha with orgeat syrup, orange cordial, lime and Angostura bitters in an oxidized copper mug with a dense mint sprig arising from the center like a fragrant bonsai tree.

With the name and reputation, it's easy to see Ichicoro Ane as anything but a down-to-earth Japanese-style pub, but that's what it is. See it through that lens and you'll understand why the format of Japanese bars works so well here.

— Contact Justin Grant at

Ichicoro Ane

260 1st Avenue S., St. Petersburg. (727) 300-0281.

The vibe: A Japanese-style basement bar with remarkably creative cocktails.

Food: Sides and small plates, $3-$8; entrées, $12-$18.

Booze: Beer, wine and liquor. Beer, $5-$9; wine and sake, $8-$13 by the glass and $30-$175 by the bottle; liquor, $7-$15 and up for ultra-premium spirits. Happy hour is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday and all day Sunday, featuring $3 Kirin Ichiban draft, $3-$8 house wine and sake and $5-$7 cocktails.

Specialty: Sake and whisky (from Japan and Scotland are prominent), but don't ignore the house cocktails. For example, the Golden Saucer mixes gin with miso syrup, Velvet Falernum, rosewater and lemon juice, turned creamy with the addition of aquafaba, whipped liquid from a can of chickpeas.

Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight Tuesday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday-Saturday; 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday; closed Monday.


  1. Two of the creative drinks are the Loaded Bear Claw and the Blame it on the Juice. Photo courtesy of Geneva Johnson
    The venue near USF features the creative cocktails and drink specials needed for a go-to college bar. | Bar review
  2. Nov. 7• Arts & Entertainment
    Lullaby Rye Courtesy of Geneva Johnson
    The unique tasting-room selection should help raise a brewery’s profile. | Local craft beer of the week
  3. Oct. 31• Arts & Entertainment
    Bike Trail Pale Ale Courtesy of Eric Richardson
    St. Pete brewery taps into the lighter side of ale. | Local craft beer of the week
  4. Oct. 31• Arts & Entertainment
    Cowboy Corral Bar & Grill is a good spot for enjoying truly cheap drinks, playing pool or watching the race on Sundays. The Clearwater bar has a cozy dining area and offers a full menu filled with Tex-Mex fare. Photo courtesy of Geneva Johnson
    Cowboy Corral Bar & Grill brings a little faux Texas to town. | Bar review
  5. Hard Pumpkin Cider, Two Henrys Brewing Company Justin Grant  |  tbt*
    The Plant City product drinks like a spiced cider with a side of pumpkin pie. | Local craft beer of the week
  6. SpookEasy Lounge is in a room above The Stone Soup Company. Photos courtesy of Geneva Johnson
    Tampa’s booze-free bar spills the tea on kava and kratom. | Bar review
  7. At The Tiki Cove, you don’t need too much imagination to place your mind and mood at an actual beach. JUSTIN GRANT  |  Justin Grant
    The Tiki Cove is a Florida-only novelty that anyone passing through will be sure to enjoy. | Bar review
  8. Try I Am The Walrus Berliner Weisse ib draft at Hidden Springs Ale Works, or look for it in cans at your local quality beer shop. JUSTIN GRANT  |  Justin Grant
    This is Florida, so some of our autumn brews fall outside the paradigm. | Local beer of the week
  9. Oct. 10• Arts & Entertainment
    Wedge Cut American Wheat Ale, Cigar City Brewing Justin Grant  | tbt*
    The Tampa brewery scores again with the limited-release Wedge Cut. | Craft beer of the week
  10. 7th + Grove is split into two discrete spaces. The corner space is a bright and upbeat restaurant. Next door is the club. Courtesy of Ashley Canay and Ashley Meyer
    With Southern cuisine, strong cocktails and DJ-led events, the club and restaurant lives up to its motto: “Eat. Vibe. Flourish.” | Bar review