After much anticipation, Izakaya Den is set to open its doors from 6pm tonight. Having met the Health Department’s unexpected request to build a new ceiling, Simon Denton of Verge Restaurant has confirmed that his new Japanese-inspired venue is ready.

So head through the almost secret entrance via Chiodo at 114 Russell street in the CBD, and descend into the bowels of the building for a taste of Japanese pub/bar life. With a 28-metre flamed-wood bar, wall projections and green tea station – not to mention the all-Japanese staff – it would be easy to forget that you’re in the heart of Melbourne and not downtown Tokyo. But that’s the whole point.

Renowned Melbourne architecture firm, DCM, handled the design and Denton is clearly proud of the subtle mix of cultures on display. From small plates to Japanese beers, it’s all here with the kitchen cranking it out till midnight.