Where to buy sake bottles in LA?

Hi everyone,

long time lurker, but new user of FTC! I’ve tried searching, but can anyone recommend the top spots in or around LA to buy sake bottles? Preferably Nama or specialty bottles? I know the usual Mitsuwa, Domaine, Nijiya, etc. but they don’t have a selection that comes close to places in SF…

I did hear once of an off-the-radar sake store in DTLA that’s located in a car repair garage - anyone know anything about it?

Any recommendations would be very much appreciated.

Thank you!

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Copying and pasting from the Sake Talk thread:

http://mmsake.com (order online, pickup somewhere in LA…not sure if they are reliable)

Where to buy in SoCal:
Mel & Rose (wine shop)
Hi Time Wine (Costa Mesa wine shop)
John & Pete’s (W.Hollywood)
K&L (Hollywood)
Wine House (LA)

Other afformentioned:
Tokyo Central
Mitsuwa
Marukai
Nijiya (smaller selection)

Best so far looks like Hi Time (which has some Nama sake) and K&L. There is nothing like True Sake that I am aware of but someone please prove me wrong and I’d love to know where else too.

(My guess is if you are friends of a local business owner who has wholesale accounts with the sake distribution companies that can buy for you, then you have best access, assuming there is no minimum order.)

What are you looking for in particular?

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The Tokyo Central market in Costa Mesa has a very large sake selection. Their site shows locations in LA too.

I was at Tokyo Central Costa Mesa back in January.

The selection is ok given the area and broad enough. However I am concerned about the fact that it’s not that different than Marukai. It’s an easy one stop shop, but it appears also to be a dumping ground by the distributor (seems to be mostly Mutual Trading sake) to help alleviate inventory or unsold goods. There is also a lot of big name sake, and not as much small producer type of things once you get to a geek level of appreciation.

I’ve seen a really nice Nanbu Bijin Daiginjo there, which for some reason is not available in Northern California…however when I opened the box to inspect the inside, the bottling date is 2016… so it literally sat on the shelf for quite some time.

With that said, I would rather buy from Hi Time…not that everything is stored properly but at least they refrigerate certain bottles correctly and the dates seem within range, and they have a slightly more eclectic selection.

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If you decide to try out Hi Time, I would recommend checking out their online store. They have most of their sake in the front part of the store in a fridge and then higher end ones in the back section. However, I ended up seeing a Hiyaoroshi sake on their site that was not in their front fridge. I ended up asking the staff and they were happy to help out and bring what turned out to be the last bottle they had in stock from who knows where lol.

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The higher end ones (e.g. Dassai Beyond or Born Chogin/Dreams Come True) are in the wine cellar behind glass. Not super ideal storage conditions, but better than being on the shelf and at least consistent climate more or less.