Saturday, 14 December 2013

Hachi

After a bit of a break when I was frantically busy doing other things, I am back with a post on a bar I actually visited a few weeks ago. Hachi is in Hatchobori, a little bit east of Tokyo station. It is somewhere I had been meaning to go for a little while, but as usual, time conspired against me. That along with the fact that I don't often find myself in Hatchobori. In any case, I did manage to visit on weekday lunchtime, so possibly not so representative, but I was able to pick up the basic feel of the place.
Hachi could be put in the same bracket as a few of the new 'lower prices with a cover charge' places like the Craft Beer Markets and Craft Beer Server Land. There's actually another new bar which seems to be in the same vein which I will have to check out soon. Doesn't look like the flow of new places is going to stop any time soon! The interior looks pretty different to the CBMs though. It is a bit of a warren, with little booths and areas. This actually makes it very difficult to judge how much seating is there. According to Craft Beer Tokyo, there is seating for 57 with 12 at the counter. I guess they went round and counted them. Thanks! Compared to the CBMs' concrete and metal surfaces, Hachi seems to be aimed at a bit more of a classier crowd. There is lots of dark brickwork and wood around. Perhaps this is what someone would come up with if they were asked to make a classy modern version of a traditional British pub interior without ever actually having visited one. Not to say it isn't nice. In fact, I thought it was a pretty decent looking place. There is a mixture of high seating at the counter and a few high tables and also some lower tables. As I said, I visited at lunchtime and the place was ticking over, with quite a few customers in for their lunch deals. They were fine with me not eating and asking for the beer menu though.
So, the beers. They have a total of 26 taps, but not all of these are craft beer. On my visit, around 20 were, and there was a decent range of breweries and styles represented. Most of the 20 were Japanese beers, but there were two pricier imports (on my visit, Brewdog and Left Hand). All beers are served in two sizes, 490ml and 270ml and these are ¥840 and ¥480 respectively (apart from the Barley Wine which was ¥580 for 150ml). The imports were available in the same sizes, but cost ¥1140 and ¥680. One nice touch was the different glassware for different beer styles. I was surprised when I was given my first drink in one of those fancy IPA glasses and the range of glass shapes was a constant source of entertainment. It's a nice touch. Also, they vary serving temperatures for different styles and this information is listed on the menu.
I was not charged a cover charge on my visit, possibly because it was lunchtime, possibly because I was not eating, who knows, but in any case if you do go, bear in mind that there is supposed to be a ¥300 charge. Also, it seems that the listed prices didn't include tax, which at the moment is 5%, but I believe is due to double in the new year. This is a bit unusual, as the cheaper places usually either just charge a cover (CBMs, CBSL) or don't include the tax in their listed prices (iBrews, and it seems that they do have it in the small print, legal fans). If you are having a few drinks you can make back the cover charge pretty quickly. There are too many variables for me to be able to easily work out exactly where these places are at compared to each other price-wise, but Hachi is still most definitely at the more affordable end of the scale, even taking tax and cover charge (spread over a few beers) into account.
In addition to the taps, they have quite a few bottles available from Denmark, the UK, Belgium and the US. As is the case in most Japanese beer bars, these are not exactly cheap, and I think I would stick to the taps unless there was something I was wild about having available only in bottle. There were quite a few things that I fancied, but compared to the taps, it just wasn't so appealing.
I went here with the intention of ticking it off my list of places I wanted to try and getting it on the blog, probably not expecting to visit too often, given that it is not so close to where I live. However, it was a pretty good experience and I want to go back soon. The staff were very nice and wanted to talk. The beer choice was good and you can't complain about the pricing (especially without the cover charge!). They do seem to care about beer here, which some might presume is a prerequisite for a bar, but an equal number would probably say is not so common amongst Tokyo places. I will have to try it out in the evening some time and update my thoughts. So, all in all, another place worth visiting. The list just keeps growing. And still nowhere in Yoyogi Hachiman/Uehara...

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
August
Coedo
Yo-Ho
Swan Lake
Minoh
Baird
Romantic Village
Shonan
Ise Kadoya
Kaze No Tani
Aqula

Opening Hours:
Monday-Friday, Lunch 11.30-14.00, Evening 17.00-23.30
Saturdays, 17.00-23.30
Sundays and public holidays, closed

Location/map
互明ビルB1, 八丁堀1-11-6, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 

Directions:
Easy! Leave Hatchobori metro station by exit A5. Carry on at the top of the stairs and cross the main road ahead of you. After crossing the road Hachi is on the left-hand side in the basement immediately after the first small side street. There is a big sign, so it's tough to miss. 



Telephone:
03-5541-1333

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