Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Welder's Diner


Post by James
 
Welder's Diner is about six minutes from Shakujikoen. An area that doesn’t, to the best of my knowledge, have any other craft beer drinking options. To open a place in this area and to have daytime opening seems doubly brave and I hope they can make a go of it.

The menu at Welder’s Diner states that the exterior, interior and furniture were designed and built by the owner using steel from Minori Ironworks and there is definitely a nice feeling to the place. The name is a slight pun on welding steel and deepening the bonds between people and the community. I included this information because that is exactly what Welder’s Diner feels like. It isn’t a wild late night spot for youngsters but rather a pleasant cafe bar that you could take the whole family too.

The basic facts:

There are about 20 table seats and six counter seats. There is no charge and they have free WiFi. Opening hours are from 11:00 until 23:00 and their day off is Tuesday. There are 5 taps of Japanese beer and they come in two sizes; Regular (250ml) and Large (473ml). The price of a large can depend on the beer but is usually about ¥1200. Not a cheap place to drink, but it couldn’t really be in this area. There are also a few bottles and some are quite interesting. When they put a new beer on they announce it on their facebook page, so you can keep up to date with their taplist there. Lunch is served until 4p.m. and the sandwiches are good. They also do a kid’s plate.

Welder’s Diner has occasional events like flea markets and last week they even had a Rakugo performance. These events really do help to give a community feel. 

If you live in the area or you fancy a family day out at the nearby park, this place is well worth popping into.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Ise Kadoya
Inawashiro
Distant Shores
TY Harbor
Shiga Kogen
Kyoto

Opening Hours:
Wednesday-Monday, 11:00-23:00
Closed Tuesday

Location/Map:
石神井町6-16-11-101, Nerima-ku, Tokyo



Telephone: 
03-6913-1470
 

Links:
Facebook

Website
Twitter

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Ise Kadoya Beer (Yaesu)


Today a place that I have been quite looking forward to visiting. In my opinion, Ise Kadoya have grown from being a solid if unspectacular brewery to one of Japan’s best in recent years. They are constantly releasing new beers and they rarely disappoint. So I was excited to hear that they were opening a taproom close to Tokyo station. Perhaps the choice of location will give you some ideas about the place, but maybe not all of your preconceptions will be right, as was the case with me. Here’s what you need to know:

- located in what looks like the basement dining floor of an office block. Nice looking place through, with wood panelling reminiscent of an old Belgian bar and in other areas the clean light wood we’ve come to expect from new beer bars. Counter for about five and seating for around another 25 at a variety of tables. Crowd was made up of predominately office workers, but the atmosphere seemed quite relaxed.
- 13 taps of their own beer, with surprisingly few of the regular ones you might expect them to pad the menu out with, and plenty of seasonals and one-offs on offer. Taplist was heavy on IPAs, but I guess that’s what people like to drink these days. Pricing was disappointingly expensive, with halves ranging from ¥650-¥700 and US pints from ¥1100-¥1200. I guess prices are creeping up as delivery charges increase and I understand that this is a prime city centre location, but they are serving their own beers and it would definitely be more appealing if the prices reflected this.
- Nice food with a big miso influence. Prices seemed pretty reasonable, even given the smaller tapas style portion sizes. The menu didn’t look very promising from a vegetarian point of view, but they were very accommodating about not adding meaty or fishy garnishes and they even made us a delicious miso udon from scratch, rather than just picking out the meat, which I reckon some places probably do!
- No cover charge, no smoking and some daytime opening, although not at the weekend, which seems like a bit of a missed opportunity. Also I have had friends visit at lunch who found they weren’t serving beer at that time which significantly reduces the point of going in my opinion!

I have mixed feelings about this place. I really enjoyed my visit and wouldn’t hesitate in recommending it to visitors from overseas. The food and beers were great, but the fact that a lot of their beers are available in many other places, usually at lower prices probably takes the shine off a bit. Not cover charge though means that you can easily pop in to tick off that seasonal you’ve been looking for. I’d arrive early though, as it got quite busy on the Thursday night we were there. The lack of beers at lunchtime was hopefully down to teething problems given they’ve only recently opened, or perhaps they hadn’t considered such a demand might exist. At this stage, I wouldn’t go out of your way hoping to drink there in the daytime though. I’ll update this post if I hear beer is available during the day. Perhaps they are not focussing only on attracting beer lovers, (they had a selection of sakes available too), but if you are interested in trying a few of their beers, this is a good opportunity to do it in one place, with the beers being in good condition, poured well in nice glassware.


Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Ise Kadoya

Opening Hours:
Monday-Friday, 11:30-15:00, 17:30-23:30
Saturday, 17:00-23:00
Closed Sunday and holidays

Location/Map:
八重洲1-4-16, Chuo-ku, Tokyo


It's a bit difficult to see on the map, but a good exit to leave Nihonbashi station from is A6. Or it's pretty easy to walk from any of the Yaesu exits of Tokyo station

Telephone: 
03-3281-2300
 

Links:
Facebook

Website

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Loose ends/various places Part 2

This is part two of what will be constantly updated posts with brief descriptions of places that possibly deserve to be on here but which I have either no time or inclination to visit. Part one is here, or you can view both by clicking the digest tag, or just clicking here. I have tried various ways of keeping up to date with the crazy amount of places that are opening and have been struggling with deciding which places warrant including and which don't. This seems to be a reasonable way of dealing with them. They will remain on the map with a question mark as I can't vouch for any of these. The map will link to this post where places will be listed in alphabetical order with a short description and link which should give you some idea of what to expect and whether it's worth going to. There will be no tags, as that will just confuse matters I think. If I end up going to any of these places and they are worthy of a full write up, I'll remove them from here and make them a post of their own. Not everything on the backlog will be on here. This is mainly intended for what I imagine to be a bit less interesting but still worth mentioning places.


Beer Bar Crowd - Shinkoiwa
7 taps of Japanese craft, seems fairly small locals kind of place. When I finally manage to get out in this direction will tick off all these Koiwa places.
Facebook

In De Bourgondische Hemel - Shibuya
Nominally Belgian bar in Shibuya with a good reputation. Taplist is dominated by non-Belgian stuff (mainly imports with a couple of Japanese beers), for some reason. The Belgian selection they have on tap is a bit crappy to be honest. But I believe they have a big bottle selection. Has been around for a long long time, so I guess they’re doing something right.
Facebook

Liqour Base Fussa - Fussa

Beer and other booze shop with what seems like a reasonable selection of Japanese craft and imports. Check their twitter (https://twitter.com/liquorbasefussa) for their new arrivals. If you’re in the area, seems like a decent option. There may be some on site drinking, but I haven’t even above to confirm it, so don’t go depending on that.

Website

Magnetico - Kamakura
A place that I’ve been meaning to go to for ages. Have heard good things about it. Best check the opening hours on their facebook before you go, as I believe it’s a low key operation.
Five taps of Japanese craft including some interesting local stuff.
Facebook

Minami Yokohama Beer Labo - Kanazawa Bunko

Little brewery, quite a way south of Yokohama near Kanazawa Bunko station. Hope to tick this off along with another kind of nearby brewpub, La Fusion in Nokendai. Five taps of their own beer, as you’d expect.
Facebook

Rise & Win Brewing Co. Kamikatz Taproom - Azabujuban
Normally this place would have been done and on here already, given that it’s a brewery whose beers you don’t see around that often with a centrally located taproom. But, I’ve heard it’s crazy expensive and has a cover charge too. Seems like a nice looking place with (perhaps) four taps of Rise & Win and four (usually imported I think) guest beers.

Facebook

Shishi Bone - Koiwa
Another place to tick off when in Koiwa. I really should do that soon. Cafe with coffee, sandwiches (including veggie options apparently!) and of course beer. Six taps, but seem to normally have four Japanese craft beers on. Check the facebook for the selection. Some weird opening hours, so better check that too.
Facebook

Taki - Shibuya

The ‘Japanese beer and sake’ branch of the Cerveza Gym chain. Much like Wailele and Wasserfall (see below), they seem to post their beer list on facebook. Might just be my preference, but this seems like the best of the lot, selection wise. Not sure why I’ve never been here to be honest.
Facebook


Wailele - Shibuya
The ‘Hawaiian and American beer’ branch of the Cerveza Gym chain. Much like Taki and Wasserfall (see above and below), they seem to post their beer list on facebook. 

Facebook

Wasserfall
 - Shibuya
The ‘German and Austrian beer’ branch of the Cerveza Gym chain. Much like Taki and Wailele (see above), they seem to post their beer list on facebook.
Facebook


Thursday, 27 September 2018

Noge West End


Today, the last of a little run of Yokohama places. Noge West End is just round the corner from El Nubichinom in an ‘interesting’ part of town. It’s a little tricky to find without a photo as their awning has a different name on it, but there is a small sign outside, and I guess, check the photo above. Here’s what you need to know:

- Feels very different from the previous three places, looking like an old counter restaurant now converted into a food, beer and cider place. Counter for eight and one table for two, but feels more spacious. I’m sure you could fit a few more tables in if they wanted to. Lots of wood, but not the slick clean modern feel some places go for. Here the wood looks like it’s been stained by years of smoking and cooking rather than stained by a beer bar carpenter during construction.
- Beer is here, but perhaps the more interesting part is the cider. But we’ll start with the beer. Six taps of Japanese craft served in three sizes, original (450ml) for ¥1200, medium (330ml) for ¥900 and small (200ml) for ¥700. Not the cheapest, but it’s nice to have three sizes to choose from. Aside from this they have six Japanese ciders by the glass for ¥900. These were served in a big balloon glass from bottles and must have been at least 250ml. I’m sorry, I’m hopeless at estimating the size of those huge glasses.
- No smoking, some very limited daytime opening at the weekend but a ¥300 cover charge, so don’t just pop in for one.

In spite of the cover charge, this might have been my favourite spot of my mini crawl. Mainly for the cider, as once again the beer selection wasn’t wildly exciting. But the cider does give it something more unique. I’m very much not a cider expert, but it’s rare to see anything other than Kirin Hard Cidre or the Baeren or Outsider ciders available in beer bars. The atmosphere was nice too and this is probably the place I’d be most likely to pay a return visit to. I didn’t try the food, and to be honest, I think I didn’t even look at the menu. Like I said, this was the last stop of the day and I was a little ‘tired’.


Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Johana
Yokohama
Minoh
Outsider
Atsugi

Opening Hours:
Monday-Wednesday, 18:00-23:30
Friday, 18:00-00:00
Saturday, 16:00-00:00
Sunday, 16:00-23:30
Closed Thursday

Location/Map:
宮川町2-16, 藤井ビル1-A, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken



Telephone: 
045-231-0133 
 

Links:
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Twitter

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

29BY / 254BeeR


Another Yokohama place and another brewpub. There definitely seem to be a few more of them popping up recently. I heard that the brewer is a past employee of Yokohama Brewery, so take from that what you want. Being a Yakitori place with craft beer, it’s not exactly right up my street, but I’m sure the two are a good combination. Here’s what you need to know:

- Ground floor brewery and 2nd floor bar. Brewery looks new and shiny, but not sure how long it has been going. Bar area has a counter for six, and one for four near the window along with tables for eight. Feels. Little like it is going for a businessman kind of clientele, but honestly have no idea why I thought that, apart from gut feeling.
- Eight taps of beer, three of their own offerings and five imports, (mainly US stuff with one Australian thrown in). Served in two sizes, regular (350ml) and small (260ml). Their own beers are priced at ¥800 and ¥650 and the imports are ¥1000 and ¥750. Styles were very much towards the easy drinking end of the spectrum (pils, pale ale, wheat, IPA), perhaps chosen with a mind to going well with the food.
- No cover charge, no smoking (there’s a separate room at the back for smoking which doesn’t seem to interfere with the bar, but given that it’s a Yakitori place, it has a bit of smoke from the cooking) and a smidge of daytime opening.

Clearly I’m not their target customer as I can’t eat any of the food, but I think this would be a good combination. The serving sizes are a little smaller than usual but I think this is reflected in the pricing. And as far as I know, this is the only place you can drink their beer, so worth a visit if you want to tick that off.


Japanese breweries seen on tap:
254BeeR

Opening Hours:
Tuesday-Friday, 16:00-23:00
Saturday, 15:00-23:00
Sunday, 15:00-22:00
Closed Monday

Location/Map:
吉田町5-12-107, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken



Telephone: 
045-517-2310 
 

Links:
Facebook
Website

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Bruntons


Another new-ish Yokohama place today, but I should stress that recently my concept of new and new-ish has become a little stretched. Bruntons has a fancy logo, appeared on a vegetarian food website and had some interesting looking beers checked in on Untappd so this looked like it would be an interesting visit. Here’s what you need to know.

- Classy looking 2nd floor bar, a little walk away from all those Kannai bars on the other side of the baseball stadium. Counter for about five, seats for around 14 and a little raised Japanese style seating area. Definitely aiming for the higher end of the market.
- Consequently, the prices match. Regular pricing ranges from ¥1200 to an eye-watering ¥1400 for a US pint of regular Japanese craft beers (check below for the breweries). Halves, (280ml), were served in nice glassware and ranged from ¥700-¥800, with a half of a Japanese BBA stout costing ¥1200. Bottles available too, but I forgot to take a photo of the menu, so that information is long gone from my memory now! Think there were some Canadian imports though... Thankfully, they have a happy hour from 15:00-18:00 on weekdays when pints are ¥1000 and halves ¥600. A beer flight is also available, 3 x 148ml for ¥1200.
- Seems to serve a lot of vegetarian food, which makes a nice change! I didn’t inspect the menu too closely, but the names seemed veggie friendly and the place was listed on a vegan food website. Surprisingly, the food seemed to be much more reasonably priced than the beer, which is the opposite to the usual beer/food equation we find in craft beer bars. Interesting!
- No smoking, no cover charge, tax included in the prices (thankfully!), daytime opening and WiFi.

So, very much mixed feelings. The huge drawback is the prices. It really is significantly more expensive than other places, but you have to consider that it seems to be an independent place, rather than involved in a big money chain. Also, it is in an area where there isn’t much competition for craft beer, so this usually causes prices to rise a little. It was a nice place to have a beer, but it was very disappointing that we missed the happy hour by ten minutes. I blame the trains for that. Would love to try the food some time, but I fear the beer prices, for what sadly turned out to be not the most exciting of Japanese breweries will probably mean that it’s a while before I go back.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Yokohama
Iwatekura
Numazu Craft
Minami Shinshu
Be Easy
Loco

Opening Hours:
Monday, 16:30-00:00
Tuesday-Friday, 15:00-00:00
Saturday & Sunday, 13:00-00:00

Location/Map:
元町5-190, KIKIビル2F, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken



Telephone: 
045-323-9773 
 

Links:
Facebook
Website   

Twitter

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Antenna America Yokohama Station


The first of a quick flurry of Yokohama places today. It would be nice to say that this is a sign that I’ll be updating the blog a lot more in the future, but I suspect that posts will still come in little bursts like this. It has now go to the stage that places on my ‘to visit’ list are opening up and closing down before I get the chance to visit them. We can hope though that the good places stick around. If you offer something original, I hope you’ll always have customers that want to visit and support your business. Anyway, a lengthy preamble to basically saying that this is a new-ish Antenna America location, not so far from the original branch, but possibly in a more convenient location for those wishing to buy bottles to take away. If you are familiar with both of the other locations, you can note that this is much more like the Shinagawa branch than the Kannai one, but the selection is more like the Kannai branch than the Shinagawa one. So far, so muddled. Here’s what you need to know.

- Like Shinagawa, this is a bar and bottle shop located in the food court of a department store. Once again there is an Isetan connection, the bar being in a part of the Joinus complex called Food & Time Isetan. As you’d expect, there is a shopping centre food court vibe to the place. However, this time, there are a few tables and seats inside the shop if you want to try to forget where you are. If you want to embrace the location, you can sit outside on one of the food court tables and get something to eat from one of the other outlets whilst you enjoy your booze.
- 10 taps of US import craft beer and loads of bottles and cans (15 or so big fridges). If you are looking for details on breweries available it might be worth checking the website of the main branch, but I should stress that this shows the taplist for the original branch and not the station one. The station branch has a facebook page so maybe you can get an idea from there. Pricing varies due to strength, rarity etc. but you can get an idea from that original branch taplist. 
- No smoking unsurprisingly, long daytime opening hours (great!), wifi and no cover charge. Which I think should now be called my holy quaternity (yes, I just had to look that word up…).

So that’s about it. Mix the two other branches and you have this one. It’s a little tricky to find, but basically if you go the B1 floor and head south-west (take your compass), you should find it eventually. Like I said, look out for Food & Time Isetan and you should be ok. I think this is a place I will use more for buying take away beer than drinking in, but if you’ve got some time to kill between trains and a raging need for alcohol, this is the place for you.
 

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
None

Opening Hours:
Daily, 11:00-23:00

Location/Map:
南幸 1-5-1 新相鉄ビル JOINUS B1, Nishi-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken

As it's underground and in a shipping centre a directions map is kind of pointless. Better to check the location of the pin at the link above and approach that way.

Telephone: 
045-548-8733 
 

Links:
Facebook