Friday, 7 September 2012

Watering Hole

Recently opened beer bar in an area that is currently a little light on good places to drink. It is divided into two halves, the left-hand side being the bar area, and the right-hand side will soon (brewing license pending) be their micro-brewery. There are 21 taps, including a couple of handpumps and at the moment they are divided between Japanese micros, American imports and the odd Belgian and Brewdog thrown in. Not sure how this will change when they have their own beer to sell. Their pint prices are about normal for Tokyo, Japanese micros varied from ¥1000 to ¥1100 and the imports from ¥1050 to ¥1250. Half pint prices however seem expensive compared to the pints, ¥750 to ¥850 for the Japanese ones and ¥800 to ¥1000 for the imports. So, best stick to the pints I guess. They also have a fridge full of bottles, around 30, with lots of Stone, some Green Flash and some well chosen Belgians (De Ranke, Cantillon). Pleasingly, there is no cover charge.
On my last visit I noticed they have started doing flights, 4 x 100ml for ¥1000, weekdays from 15.00-18.00 [Now, flights are available all the time]. You can choose any 4 beers. Pretty good if you ask me! A really nice bar with friendly staff and a good atmosphere. Somewhere I will definitely be visiting a lot.

[Just felt I should update this a little, as it's been a while. The Watering Hole is many people's favourite place in Tokyo, but it just doesn't work for me anymore. Their pricing has gone up a bit and this makes it one of the more expensive places in Tokyo, particularly for halves. Their selection is nowhere near as interesting as they think it is and some of the staff aren't particularly nice. I've never had a horrible experience here, but I just feel that they are coasting a bit and don't deserve the reputation they have. By all means, feel free to comment and tell me I'm an idiot, but I just don't get it anymore.]

[May 2017 update. The prices are maybe better now but it's still expensive. There's not so much difference between the Japanese stuff and the imports. Halves range from ¥700 to Y850, so proportionally slightly better value than before, but it seems that this is mostly due to the pint prices going up. Their cheapest pints were ¥1100 and these were for stuff that is normally much cheaper elsewhere (for example, Hitachino Nest White Ale). They get some good Japanese stuff in sometimes, but the prices are really not good at all.]

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Ise Kadoya
Sankt Gallen
Nihonkai Club
Fujizakura Kogen

Opening Hours:
15.00 - 23.30 every day

千駄ヶ谷 5-26-5-103, Shibuya, Tokyo 151-0051

From Shinjuku station, go out the South East gate, down the escalators and turn right under the bridge. Continue along the road past Takashimaya department store and turn right onto the main road. Carry on for about 300 metres. The bar is on the right-hand side about 100 metres past the Shinjuku Park Hotel.

From Yoyogi JR, leave through the East exit and head down the road between 7-11 and Freshness burger. When you reach the junction, turn left and the pub is a not far down the road on the left-hand side. 


Ratebeer listing


kochikame said...

I have been a big fan of this place but like you I'm starting to go off it. You're paying up to 1400yen for a pint nowadays, and they always seem to be out of the ones you want. Is the Stone 20th Anniversary beer really that special or rare a beer? The recent food collaborations they've been doing sound great in theory, but portions are tiny and the prices are, again, very high. I think the staff are knowledgeable and friendly, and the "original" food they have, especially the ribs and burgers, are awesome, but when it comes to a mix of atmosphere, value for money and selection, I'd look elsewhere. Titans in Otsuka is similarly expensive but has a much better range of interesting beers, Craft and Romance in Kichijoji has great prices AND a great selection, Hopscotch in Iidabashi has great beers and a real pub atmosphere. It's hard to justify saying to friends "Let's meet at The Watering Hole" anymore unless you're in the area anyway.

Tokyo Beer Drinker said...

Thanks Kochikame for your comment. I totally agree with everything you said. If someone says to me 'let's meet at the Watering Hole' it causes me to sigh. Plenty of people still seem to love it, but I think their reputation is hugely over inflated. I just don't need to go there anymore.