Waraji Adds Izakaya Bar With Specialty Cocktails and Apps


Waraji adds izakaya (Japanese bar) with specialty cocktails and apps.

Waraji Izakaya bar

Folks who frequent Waraji for its extensive selection of sake (the largest on the East Coast!), sushi, sashimi and authentic Japanese cuisine know the hip sup spot has always been sans hard liquor—until now.

Upping our spirits, the concept’s new izakaya (aka Japanese bar) is now serving up signature cocktails, specialty liquor, beer, wine, sake and small plates in its expanded space after acquiring the spot formerly occupied by now-defunct wine/bottle shop The Pedaler. 

While the intimate izakaya serves as a hip new spot for happy hour in Northwest Raleigh—NTM the perf perch for patrons to wait for a table in the main dining room—the recently debuted cocktails will also be on offer in the dining room (banzai!). 

The special small plates menu, though, will be served izakaya-side only. Think yakitori skewers (chicken and scallion skewers grilled with a teriyaki sauce), takoyaki (fried octopus dumplings served with a vegetable and fruit sauce, bonito flakes, seaweed and ginger), gyoza, and spicy chile and garlic edamame—plus smaller sushi items like spicy squid salad, nigiri and sashimi. 

Beyond spirited cocktails, Waraji owner/operator Reuben Rodillas also hopes to expand the concept’s offerings of Japanese whiskies, sakes, gins and vodkas. “My goal is to make [Waraji] the first Japanese sake and whiskey bar around here,” he says. The izakaya will also offer flights. So essentially, you’ll get the chance to experience two restaurants/bars in one. Let the good times roll.

Waraji Aspara-Bacon Skewers
Aspara-Bacon Skewers





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Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.