Monday, 29 April 2013
Firstly, a small introduction. Antenna America is the bar/bottle shop of Nagano Trading, the company who is importing a lot of the really good US beer that has been seen around in Japan at the moment. The place is on the 5th floor of what seems to be predominantly an office building in Yoshidamachi, not too far from Kannai station. There is a bit of seating spread round the room and a few high tables. In addition to this there is a nice balcony for good weather drinking. There is a kitchen too, but I haven't had the food, as it is quite meaty, pretty much par for the course in Japan, and I am a vegetarian.
On to the beers. It now has 8 taps of ever changing beers, very reasonably priced. They often seem to have themed tap takeovers where on brewery dominates the taps for a weekend or so. [Update: they now also have beer flights. 4 x 150ml for ¥1500] In addition to this, there are four or five big fridges stocked with loads of bottles in various sizes and styles. Breweries available when I last went included Ballast Point, Stone, Lagunitas, Moylans, Karl Strauss, Coronado, Maui, North Coast and probably a few more that I can't think of. There is also a fridge of reduced items where you can pick up bottles at an insanely low price. I presume this is because they are concerned to offer their beers in the best condition possible, so would rather keep stock moving than have it reduce in quality whilst sitting on their shelves. The stock does move too. I have only been there a few times and there are always interesting new things turning up. I should mention that all of these bottles are priced identically for consumption on the premises and takeaway. This must make it the cheapest place in Japan to drink US bottles. As a general guideline, 330ml bottles are priced around ¥500, and bombers around ¥1000-¥1100. Obviously there is some variation depending on % and other considerations. Either ask at the bar for draught, or take the bottle you want from the fridge to the counter for opening and payment.
Even having only been open a few months, Antenna America is already a great addition to the Yokohama/Tokyo area beer scene. If you wanted to be picky, maybe you could quibble about the atmosphere given the office ambiance, but I think atmosphere is what you make it. Last I went we were only intending to stop by for a quick one and ended up staying for a few hours and then taking some stuff away too. I have always had a good time here enjoying good beers which is what it is all about really. Definitely a good place to take away from too. If you don't want to carry your purchases, they also offer a ¥1000 delivery service to anywhere in Japan. I believe they will waive this if you buy a case. At the moment, they are open from Wednesday to Sunday (and Mondays if it is a public holiday) but they do open early on these days so here is another option for a bit of mid-afternoon drinking. It's unfortunate that there is no Japanese beer here, but totally understandable, as the place is not about Japanese beers and a US import does make a nice change sometimes. For the discerning beer drinker with limited funds, this must be one of the best places to drink in Japan.
Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Erm... none. But that's not really the point here.
Wednesday - Friday, 15.00-23.00
Sunday and Public Holiday Monday, 11.00-22.00
5F 吉田ビル 6, 吉田町5-4, Yokohama, Kanagawa-ken
From Kannai JR station, leave via the North exit. After you come through the ticket barriers turn left and then left again out of the station. When you get to the main road, cross it and turn left again and walk under the railway tracks. As you come out from under the tracks cross the even bigger road and at the other side, turn right. Carry on up this road and take the fifth left turn. If you get to a river you have gone too far! Turn round! After making the left turn Antenna America will be about 10m down on the right hand side. Look for the blackboard in the picture above.