TOKYO, Feb 23 (Reuters) - At an intimate bar in Tokyo's Ginza district Japanese investors toasted the day the Nikkei reached a new record high on Thursday after a wait of more than 34 years.

Excitement among regulars at Stock Pickers, a networking bar where patrons discuss stock picking strategies over finance-themed cocktails, had been brewing since last week as the Nikkei teased just a few hundred points below its previous high of 38,957.44, scaled on the last trading day in December 1989.

"Finally the day has come," said 48-year-old IT company worker Norikazu Isono, who came to Stock Pickers to celebrate the "happy day" on which the Nikkei share average rose as high as 39,156.97 points.

The celebrations of the 20 or so people gathered at the bar were muted in comparison to the wild excess and unbridled optimism among Japanese that brought about the late 1980s bubble and the Nikkei's previous record.

This time round, the surge in share prices has been driven by foreign investors' enthusiasm for rising corporate profits, with Japanese investors still wary after more than three decades of market malaise.

The bar's customers reflect this more cautious era. While some thought the bull run has further to go, others said they had taken this high as an opportunity to lock in profits.

Among the optimists was 47-year-old Sayuri Iguchi, who quit her office job two years ago to become a full-time investor and said she thought Japanese investors will follow the foreigners.

"I think the situation of Japanese stocks will get even better," she said.

She said she frequented the bar to learn from experienced investors and strategise her stock calls.

Hayato Imaizumi, the 41-year-old bar manager of Stock Pickers whose cocktails include the tequila-based "Lehman Shock" and the non-alcoholic "Abenomics", also has his eye on future milestones.

"I think the next moment will be hitting 40,000 level. I hope my customers and I can celebrate that moment."

(Reporting by Tom Bateman and Akiko Okamoto; Writing by Anton Bridge; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)