With exposed brick walls, decorative tin ceilings, a large bar, and eventually booze (they’re currently BYOB while they wait for their liquor license), Gaoku looks like a typical rustic bar. But what differentiates them from other drinking spots is their fantastic Japanese-Thai dishes. The menu has two short hot and cold sections, and they're both full of hits. Hotate sashimi and flavors reminiscent of tom kha come together in a refreshing scallop dish with coconut dashi and lemongrass. Perfectly fried and juicy karaage is paired with tangy Thai curry aioli. And curry powder makes another cameo in one of the best things on the menu: buttery grilled tiger prawns with a creamy motoyaki sauce. When the food is this exciting, drinking isn’t a prerequisite to have a great time at this bar.