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OKINAWA CITY, Okinawa — People who drink lead double lives, a friend of mine once told me. The words sounded so convincing especially after spending an evening at a place like M frog. The bar, located near Gate 2 Street outside Kadena Air Base, is one of many clubs and bars in Okinawa City that feature live music.

On one recent Friday, the cozy bar that houses about 10 tables and a counter were almost full. When the music performed by a local Ventures tribute band roared, the audience reacted by swinging their bodies to the music. M frog entertains its patrons with live music five to eight nights a month, manager Yuki Machida said. The music varies from jazz and pop to traditional and contemporary Okinawan music, and occasionally classical, he said.

The music seemed to remove invisible boundaries among tables and even between the audience and musicians. A middle-aged man with a wine glass in his hand walked up to the stage, enchantedly straining his voice when the band began playing “House of the Rising Sun.”

When the band was about to wrap up the night’s performance, a woman sitting at a corner table shouted; “Wait a minute! I thought you were going to play for six straight hours.”

“Oh, didn’t you know we had already spent that much together tonight? Time flies!” the band leader joked. He was right. The evening went by quickly and before we realized it, it was almost midnight.

See previous After Hours reviews here.

M frog

Hours: 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. (Closed Sundays)

Drink prices: Beer costs 500 yen to 700 yen. Whisky, bourbon and brandy are 800 yen to 1,200 yen. Glass wine is 500 yen and a bottle of wine is 2,500 yen. Soft drinks are 500 yen each, including coffee, iced tea and ginger ale.

Cover charge: Between 1,000 and 3,000 yen depending on performers. When there is no live music performance, no cover charge is required. On no-show day, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. is happy hour with all-you-can-drink for 2,500 yen for men and 2,000 yen for women.

Food: Pastas 700 yen to 800 yen, served until 10 p.m. Appetizers include fried chicken for 500 yen, chicken yakitori 500 yen, edamame (boiled green soybeans) 400 yen, popcorn 400 yen, sliced roasted duck and duck meat sausages 500 yen each. No English menus but a bartender, Atsuki Hiyoshi, will be happy to be an interpreter for you.

Clientele: Like the variety of music, the clientele is a good mix – from their early 20s to late 60s, locals and tourists, mostly Japanese. Americans are occasional but heartily welcomed.

Dress: Casual

Location: Leave Kadena Air Base’s Gate 2 and walk down Gate 2 Street until the road meets Highway 330 at Goya Intersection. Turn left. M frog is the second building from the intersection, across from Koza Music Town.

Phone: 098-929-1233

Web site:http://mfrog.main.jp (in Japanese)

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