Friday, 27 September 2013

Craft Beer Bar

The last of my brief flurry of Yokohama places (there are more to do, but that will require another trip). Today, it's the right to the point named Craft Beer Bar. This is another place in easy walking distance of Kannai station. This seems to be a really good area to have a drink or two. Before I go any further I should point out that outside this place there is a sign stating that no English is spoken here. I am pretty sure that this is for information rather than discrimination purposes, as I have always found it a very welcoming place with a friendly master, but it is not worth you going here if you can't speak any Japanese.
I appreciate that I always say this, but Craft Beer Bar is really the type of place I would love near my house. It's fairly typically sized for a Japanese bar with counter seating for around 10 and about the same at tables. The atmosphere is very calm and cosy, with quiet jazz music playing and subdued lighting. Every time I have been here there have been a few people here spread along the counter, so I guess they are doing something right. There is a big wall of bottles of whisky as this is another house speciality along with the beer and some grilled food (not suitable for vegetarians, so I didn't pay much attention, sorry).
On to the beer. There are 11 taps of Japanese craft beer, pretty much dominated by Shiga Kogen, which can't be a bad thing. Six of the eleven were Shiga Kogen, and I was happy to see the House IPA among the selection. The other five were a mix of decent breweries and good beers. Unlike some other places there didn't seem to be any fillers on the list. Perhaps it is better to have 11 well chosen taps than 20 where 5 are not very nice. In any case, I have never had any problem finding something to drink here. Beers are served in two sizes, 500ml and 320ml and are all priced the same (¥1000 and ¥700 respectively). The glasses used are particularly thin, apparently this is for taste reasons but I suspect they break a few whilst washing up. I would like to do a glass taste test some time, as I always find this kind of thing interesting. There was a decent range of beer styles on offer too.
So, a place I really like. It also has the advantage of opening a little bit before other places in the area, so is a good location for an early drink. I have always visited fairly early and have never had any problems getting a seat. If you can speak a bit of Japanese or at least enough to order a beer and pay for it, I would definitely recommend Craft Beer Bar. I can't exactly put my finger on why I like it so much, but it just feels right to me. It will never be a raucous party venue, and if you are looking for somewhere a bit more noisy, there are definitely places like that with good beer in the area. But if you are looking for a nice beer at a decent price in a relaxing place, I can't think of many better places to go.

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Shiga Kogen

Swan Lake
North Island

Opening Hours:
Tuesday-Friday, 16.00-23.30

Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, 12.00-22.00
Closed Monday

コーポサンライフ太田町 102, 2-31-3 太田町, Naka-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 

For the sake of simplicity, let's go from Kannai JR station again, and from the same North exit. This time turn left out of the barriers and then right on to the street. Take the first left and then continue along this road for about 300m. If you want to count the side streets, you will be taking the 11th right. Seems that the pattern is one small side street and then a larger road repeated all along this road, but in reality, some of the larger roads are not so big. The thing to look out for is the pedestrian crossings as the side streets don't have them. So basically, five pedestrian crossings and then the next right. The 11th right is a small side street and Craft Beer Bar is on the left hand side after about 15m. 


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