I first saw 喫茶マグmag in a magazine covering new Kyoto establishments last summer and quickly put it on my list of cafes to visit but it wasn’t until early November last year that I finally dropped by on my day off after meeting Fumie-san to go to J’aime le bleu. I got lost trying to find it but after going around in circles for a bit, I finally found it tucked away in a very narrow roji between 木屋町通りKiyamachi Street and 先斗町Pontocho, between 四条通Shijo Street and 三条通Sanjo Street…I suggest going there from Kiyamachi Street where a ここやねんKokoyanen, an お好み焼きokonomiyaki restaurant, will be your cue to turn right into the narrow alleyway, past a ramen shop.
a simple yet stylish café exuding some warmth in the middle of the flashy hubbub of Kiyamachi and Pontocho
The natural-style exterior was a hint to a wood-based interior of similar coloring waiting inside.
the view from the entrance (the restroom is near the bottom of the staircase)
I chose the seat closest to the staircase at the counter; this was my view of the first floor from my seat.
The young female owner brought me a menu; with her gentle opinion on some of the menu, I ordered a coffee and something to have with the coffee. I asked if I could see the second floor to which she willingly obliged by turning on the light (apparently I was the only customer).
the view of the second floor, basically divided into three parts, from the top of the stairs
I returned to my seat and got settled; my 濃厚チーズケーキnohkoh chiizukeeki (rich cheesecake), ￥500, and magブレンドblended coffee, ￥450 (￥50 off with dessert) seemed to come in no time.
The cheesecake was more tart than most that I’ve had but together with my coffee, it was delicious. The blended coffee, although I was told it was the strongest in flavor, was still a bit acidic for me but aromatic nonetheless and came in a charming cup, Japanese-style in a pop way.
mag opened in late July 2013 and serves as a café during the day before becoming a bar space at night (which means they allow smoking); the flowers congratulating them on their first anniversary clued me into this information. I had brought some things to work on and spent most of my time on them; it was easy to do when the atmosphere was so peaceful and warm with only the occasional chatter of people who happened to pass through the alleyway, sometimes peeping in the long, narrow window when they weren’t sure of what the place was. I also got to talk a bit to the owner, asking about the establishment, and mentioned that I wanted to write about mag in my blog about which she was pleased. The name of the café comes from the owner’s name and the romanization of the word, “mug”, in Japanese.
After I’d been there alone for some time, a young-male regular (I assumed from his mannerisms) dropped by for some coffee and to chat with the owner; he lit up to my dismay, so I left as soon as I could finish my work and my coffee and cake. I hope the next time I go, it’ll be a time when it’s smokeless because it really is a nice place to relax with a cup of coffee and some.☺