Monday, 6 May 2013

The Hangover

Today, a new bar located in Nakano. The Hangover has only been open just over a month and feels a bit different from some of the other places on this blog. Recently Ji-Biru places seem to have got a lot fancier. There are now a lot of places where you can drink fantastic selections of beers but in a slightly sterile atmosphere. The Hangover is not that kind of place. The feel is very much of a local pub, relaxed, friendly and the big advantage of this local pub is that it has plenty of good stuff to drink.
Onto the beer. There are five taps split between Japanese and US craft. The recent increase in import companies means that it is now very common to find good quality US craft beer in Japanese bars. When we were there, the Japanese options were Swan Lake's Golden Ale and Outsider's Belgian white, but if you check their facebook page you will see that the choice changes quite often. They are served in pint and half sizes. The pints are huge though, must be UK pint size, which is very welcome. Prices for the two Japanese lines were ¥650 for the half and ¥900 for the pint. Very good! Imports were a touch higher understandably. Think the highest came in at ¥1100 a pint, so still very much average for a US import in Tokyo and cheap when you consider the size of the serving. They also normally have a 'happy hour' from 17.00 to 20.00 where you get ¥200 off pints.
In addition to the taps, there is a good selection of bottles. I don't think I have seen bottles priced so reasonably in a pub here before so that is very welcome. It seems that when they get stock delivered they only take a few of each line, ensuring that the beer is always in good condition and nothing gets stuck at the back of a fridge for months. Bottles were from a variety of Japanese, US and Scottish micros. It is also quite rare to see Japanese bottles for sale in a bar. This was again very welcome. Japanese breweries represented included Iwatekura, Minoh, Hitachino Nest, Shiga Kogen and a few others. Bottle prices ranged from ¥650-¥800 which I thought was really good. Also every Wednesday is 'Bins and Tins night' where there is ¥100 off all bottles and cans.
The place is pretty much normal size for a Japanese bar seating for about about 20 on a few high tables and a counter area. There is more seating out front on a covered patio area which also doubles as the smoking zone. Pleased to see that the smoking and non smoking areas are separate as I have recently been in a few places where it is all mixed and it definitely affects your enjoyment of the beer and the evening. They also serve food which is a decent mix of pub grub and reasonably priced too.
I really enjoyed my evening here. There may only be 5 taps, but the choice was good and the bottle selection more than made up for it. I think you would have to be pretty picky to come here and not find something you wanted to drink. This is a nice pub foremost, which also happens to have a good beer selection. Some other recent places maybe have it the other way round, too much focus on beer selection but limited atmosphere. There are other places with more taps nearer to where I live, but I think the Hangover's feel gives it an edge. Of course the good prices help too, especially when you take into account the 'happy hour' and the 'Bins and Tins'. One thing though, I think I will have to come up with another name to refer to it, as generally I don't really want to think about the hangover before I start drinking!

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Swan Lake
(bottles from Hitachino Nest, Minoh, Iwatekura, Shiga Kogen and more)

Opening Hours:
Tuesday-Thursday, 18.00-03.00
Friday, Saturday, 17.00-05.00
Sunday, 17.00-24.00
Closed Monday

カーサビアンカ1F, 中央1-51-4, Nakano-ku, Tokyo, 164-0011

Guess there are two ways, either from the metro at Nakanosakaue or the JR at Higashinakano. From Nakanosakaue, leave the station via exit 2, turn left and carry on round the corner, you should go past a couple of convenience stores. Carry on along the main road for around 400m and you will come to a large junction where you are going to turn right. Cross the road and go down the street for about 150m and the Hangover is on your right.

From Higashinakano JR station, leave via the West exit and make your way towards the main road Yamatedori. Turn left onto Yamatedori and walk south about 500m. Turn left at the junction and the Hangover is on the right hand side after about 150m. 


Ratebeer listing


Steve said...

This venue became the biggest professional letdown of my recent struggle to breakthrough back into print.
I visited here in mid-April (2014). I had a flyer which showed it opening at 17:00 hours. But when I appeared a little before then, somebody inside was kind to notice that the flyers had not been recently printed. He told me to come back in an hour.
That wasn't too bad. I walked back to Ome-kaido Ave. and shopped for DVDs at Book-Off. I returned punctually at 18:00.
I had a pretty good time here. The beers were good. I spoke with other patrons. I took photographs.
When I returned to the U.S.A., I was certain a review of this place would get me published somewhere.
Until a fortnight later - that is. When another of my Japanese craftbeer followers remarked that the American guy who was one of the owners of the place had been ‘forced out’ of the enterprise.
Since a change in operation could mean the experience I had had there was unlikely to be repeated if somebody reading my article showed up, I felt my best chance at getting an article out of my journey there had been snatched away from me.
If somebody has been here since, could you please inform us if this is the case {or not}?

Tokyo Beer Drinker said...

Yes, Randy is not there anymore. As Randy is a great guy, I haven't been back since I heard about this. I think the experience is probably still the same though. I think they have taken his ideas and concept and continued with it. Not particularly a nice thing to do.