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Courtney Kaplan

a person wearing glasses and standing in front of a brick building

Tsubaki owner/beverage director Courtney Kaplan's career in hospitality began as a part-time job in a yakitori restaurant during a year abroad in Tokyo. She had been studying Japanese at Columbia University in New York for several years beforehand, but her time spent as a student in Tokyo solidified her interest in the culture and cuisine of Japan. 

Upon returning to New York, she spent several years behind the bar at legendary East Village sake bar Decibel, and in the years that followed she worked in a variety of positions at restaurants in NYC and LA, including EN Japanese Brasserie and Bestia. 

She and her partner, Chef Charles Namba, opened Tsubaki, a contemporary LA izakaya, in February of 2017, followed in May of 2019 with the opening of their sake bar OTOTO, or little brother, right next door.