Saturday, 17 November 2012

Shinshu Sake Mura

Something a little bit different. Shinshu Sake Mura is a standing bar near to Shimbashi station with ultra low prices. The reason for this is that this place is mainly designed to promote the sake and beer breweries of Nagano prefecture. This is fundamentally a shop, but with a recently expanded standing bar area allowing you to consume the shop's products on site. However, it doesn't feel like you are standing in a shop, it feels like a bar, and a pretty cosy one at that.
From a beer point of view, Shinshu Sake Mura has two taps and around 25 cans and bottles. These are from a variety of Nagano breweries. If you are consuming on the premises, there is also a selection of small food plates to keep you going, but I haven't tried these yet. Along with the beer and food, there is also a massive sake selection. Helpfully for sake novices like myself, small tasting sets are available divided by sake type. The barman on my visit was very helpful and after I had gone through the two beer taps, I moved on to a dry sake set. He wrote the names of the sakes down on a piece of paper for me and even gave me the bottles to look at. This set was basically three small glasses for ¥500. A really good price.
The beer prices vary by brewery, and naturally size of bottle. The two taps were ¥600 each for 400ml glasses but they sometimes, depending on the beer it can come in at ¥500 too. The crucial selling point for those wanting to drink bottles and cans is that you can drink them on site for the same price as you can take them away for. Given that these prices are already pretty good, this makes it an excellent deal. Shiga Kogen bottles were around ¥400, and they also had the Tamamura Honten 750ml saisons available for ¥1260. Other breweries are around these kind of prices, varying from the low (Yona Yona cans for ¥260) to the high (Hotaka 500ml bottles for ¥750, apparently worth avoiding if the Ratebeer reviews are anything to go by).
I really liked this place. In the afternoon it was pretty empty, but someone did tell me that it gets busy in the evening. The prices are unbeatable, and the atmosphere is pretty good too. Not bad for a standing bar in a quite old-fashioned shopping centre. Next time I'll have some food there too so hopefully won't be knocked out after two beers and a sake tasting set. Opening hours are strange and seem to vary, so might be worth phoning ahead to check they are open. The first time I tried to go was a Saturday, and although according to their website they should have been open, they were actually closed. But in spite of this initial setback, highly recommended! I am already planning a trip back.

Japanese breweries available when I visited:
Shiga Kogen/Tamamura Honten
Oh La Ho

Opening Hours:
Monday - Friday 11.00 - 21.30
Saturday 11.00 - 18.30 (But closed on the 2nd and 3rd Saturdays of the month)
Sundays and Public Holidays - closed

新橋駅前ビル 1号館 1F, 新橋 2-20-15, Minato, Tokyo

The bar is on the ground floor (1F) of the shopping centre and the centre is pretty small, so if you find the right building you should be able to find it. From Shimbashi station, if you are on the Asakusa Line just leave via exit A3 which comes out in the shopping centre very close to the bar. From other metro lines, leave via exit 2 and turn right down the first side street. The building ahead of you at the end of the street is the shopping centre the bar is in. From the JR station, leave via the Shiodome exit which is in the basement. Climb the stairs marked 'for Ginza' and when you get to ground level the shopping centre is on the other side of the bus station/concourse from you. 


Ratebeer listing

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