Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Devil Craft Hamamatsucho

Another post, and another new branch of a famous Tokyo beer name. This time it is Devil Craft that have expanded by opening a new site in Hamamatsucho. This is an area I haven't been to much before. In fact, I think only once to go to the sake PR centre to give myself a big old hangover (not sure that was the exact intention, but it definitely was the outcome). So I thought the new Devil Craft was an excellent opportunity for me to head down that way again.
Firstly, I should say that the area the bar is in seemed quite strange. Possibly this was due to it being the middle of a bank holiday afternoon, and the fact that most of the surrounding places were closed. Initially I approached from the opposite direction to the station, so it really did seem like a bit of a wilderness, tucked just in front of the motorway and next to the train tracks. It did make a bit more sense when I went to the station on the way back and there were some other signs of life. But it was strangely disconcerting when I arrived. People who have been to the original Devil Craft will know what to expect here. The decor is modern and there is an emphasis on US imports and pizza. I believe that eventually the long talked about Devil Craft brewery will be on this site too, and it certainly makes more sense, as the place doesn't have the same slightly cramped feel that the Kanda branch does. There is seating for about 13 at the counter and then tables for around 30 more. Unlike Kanda, everything is on the ground floor.
More on the beers. There are 20 taps here, 8 of which had Japanese beers on when I visited (the website says 22 though, so maybe a couple were in between beers). Beers are served in two sizes, 473ml and 260ml and prices vary. In general the Japanese stuff ranges from ¥1000-¥1100 for the large and ¥650-¥750 for the small. Naturally the US imports are usually a little more expensive, ¥1100-¥1300 for large, and ¥750-¥950 for the small. There is a 'happy hour' weekdays from 17.00-18.00 and at weekends and holidays from 15.00-17.00 when they give you ¥100 off all drinks and appetizers. This can make drinking halves a pretty reasonably priced business. I had three Japanese beers and the total only came to ¥1650, which you can't really complain about. Amongst the Japanese beers there were some of the usual suspects, but also a couple of things that you don't really see around very often. It seems that we are getting more and more craft beer bars in Tokyo, but that most of them seem to be stocking the same beers, so any variations are welcome.
So, probably not so much more to say. Whilst the place is definitely US focused there is still something for people who want to stick with Japanese breweries, and in some cases these beers are different from what is on offer in most other places. The happy hour makes drinking here very affordable, so worth popping in around that time if you are on a budget. No smoking and no cover charge are also two aspects that I always find quite pleasing. If you are in the area, it is definitely worth stopping in, and keep an eye on their online tap list which is regularly updated. On bank holiday afternoon, the place was bubbling along quite nicely, so if you are heading here in a larger group it is definitely worth booking. Staff speak English, so it's not a problem if you don't know any Japanese. So, to summarise in a few words, quite like Kanda, but less cramped. A good place to have some nice drinks.

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Shiga Kogen
Swan Lake

Opening Hours:
Monday-Friday, 17.00-23.00
Saturday, 15.00-23.00
Sunday and national holidays, 15.00-22.00

ライズウェルビル1F, 浜松町2-13-12, Minato-ku, Tokyo

From Hamamatsucho, leave via the South exit and go down the stairs on to your right (this exit is called Kanasugibashi 金杉橋口). At the bottom of the stairs turn left and follow the road alongside the tracks. At the corner, follow the road round and Devil Craft is on the left about 20m after the turn. Keep a careful look out for it though as it is set back from the street slightly, and I missed it the first time, due to a parked truck in front of it! 



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