Sunday, 23 September 2012

Craft Beer Market - Jimbocho

At the moment there are just two Craft Beer Markets, this one in Jimbocho and one in Toranomon. But there are plans to open two more branches in as yet undisclosed locations in the near future. The first notable thing about Craft Beer Markets are the prices. For small glasses (250ml) all beers are ¥480 and for large (generally around US pint size, 473ml) ¥780. Barley Wines come in 100ml servings and are ¥480. These prices are pretty much unbeatable in Tokyo. Craft Beer Market is the place to go if you are on a budget. They do however apparently have a ¥300 cover charge, but when I visited at lunchtime and said I was only drinking I wasn't charged this. Even so, if you are staying for a few drinks, you can easily cover the cover charge!
They have 30 taps, 3 of which are macro, and the rest craft. There is usually one import tap. When I visited it was Hoegaarden, but I have heard that they have US micros on too, and when you consider you are getting these too at ¥780, that is very good value. (edit: looking at recent beer lists, it seems that they now have more than one import tap, in the case of today, there are 4).
The atmosphere at lunchtime was quite nice, not too crowded. Evenings seem to always be busy. Friday nights seemed to be booked up at least a week in advance. My advice would be to turn up shortly after opening, or maybe try Monday to Thursday. The crowd here is mainly office workers, and some have said that this takes away from the atmosphere a little, so go with friends and make your own atmosphere. They have their own branded glassware which is quite nice too.
Will be interesting to see where their next two bars are situated, and then get a better idea of whether they are solely aiming for the salaryman market. It's a shame they are not open at the weekend, as it would be quite a nice place to go when there are not so many people around, but I can understand that the fact it would be quiet would be a good reason for them not wanting to open! Maybe as the Craft Beer scene continues to grow in Japan, they might extend their hours. (edit 2: the Jimbocho Craft Beer Market has now extended it's hours and is open on Saturday evenings too!).

Japanese breweries on tap when I first visited:
Shiga Kogen
Swan Lake
North Island

Opening Hours:
Monday-Friday, Lunch 11.30-14.00, Evening 17.00-23.30
Saturday, 17.00-23.30
Sunday closed

2-11-15 住友商事神保町ビル 1F, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

From Jimbocho station, turn right out of exit A6. Take the first right and carry on down this road. Cross the side street and then carry straight on at the next road. Craft Beer Market is on the right hand side just after this junction. 



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