Friday, 11 September 2015

Wiz Craft Beer & Food

The last of my three stops on Sunday, the possibly amusingly named Wiz is another pretty new place. Looks like the rush of openings is still going strong. Perhaps it was the location, but before I went I felt like it had a Craft Beer Market feel to it. In other words, lots of taps, slanted towards dining and drinking, similar decor, busy... After visiting on a Sunday afternoon, I came away with a slightly altered impression, but a very positive one nonetheless.
My first impressions were very good. It's a very nice looking place and it does have a bit of a Craft Beer Market feel, but it is actually a lot more spacious. Probably there are about the same amount of seats here (seating for 30-40, counter for 10) but there is not the crammed in feel that some Craft Beer Markets have. The food menu had some very nice looking stuff on it and I can confirm that the fries were indeed very nice. Food is priced pretty reasonably too. On a Sunday afternoon it wasn't so busy, and this was very welcome. Equally or perhaps more welcome was the fact that it was open in the afternoon. And to find out that it's open all day all week, well that just about made my day, but then again I seem to have a thing about afternoon opening.
Moving on to the beers, we probably start to divert from my Craft Beer Market comparisons. I had heard before visiting that they put a lot of care into their beers and this was evident. They have 31 taps and they are a well chosen mix of Japanese craft and imports. Serving condition is individually adjusted for each beer. They really seem to know what they are doing in this respect. Prices are a little higher than other places, although it's a little difficult to judge the volume. My IPA was served in a Teku glass, which was nice, and other interesting and appropriate glassware was used for different styles. It says a lot about their selection that I only intended popping in for one to tick this place off, but there were three beers that I felt I needed to have. Beers are served in one size only. I would guess that it's around 300-350ml, but a little difficult to judge. Certain beers are served in smaller pours which is noted on the menu (on Sunday, it was Mikkeller's Juicebag Grand Marnier). Prices for the Japanese craft stuff ranged from ¥700-¥900. The imports were naturally a little more ¥1000-¥1150. About a third of the 31 taps were imports, which I think is about the right balance for me. They have a daily happy hour (apart from Friday). Monday to Thursday, it's from 17:00-19:00 and it goes from 14:00 to 19:00 on Saturday and Sunday. During happy hour you can choose from 10 of their beers and get it for ¥600 which is pretty good I think. These 10 included their two house beers made for them by Baird and Brimmer. A couple more things regarding pricing. There is no cover charge, even though they gave me a little plate of popcorn when I sat down, which is great. However, tax is not included in the menu prices, so expect to have that added on when you pay.
[Update October 2016: They now also offer a small serving size of 240ml. Generally speaking, this is about 2/3 of the price of the large size. Still not sure how many ml the large is, but I think this is a good move on their part]
I really liked this place. The beer selection was good, it had a nice atmosphere and friendly staff and everything seemed to be done to a high standard. Of course, this comes at a cost and it's clear that the prices for the beers are a little higher than elsewhere. I would like to go back in the evening to see how busy it gets, and what kind of people it attracts. I know that Craft Beer Markets are very popular with the salaryman crowd. I wonder if it's the same with this place. Now that there are a huge amount of places in Tokyo it is becoming more and more difficult to stand out. I think Wiz manages to do this though. Whilst they don't do anything particularly differently, I feel that they do things to a pretty high standard. The daytime opening is a big plus too (Now they are closing mid-afternoon during the week. I really don't get why they would, but I have never run or worked in a bar so what do I know? Consequently the following few sentences don't make so much sense anymore, but I've left them in). I hope this is the start of a new trend. I have never really understood why places open for lunch and then close in the afternoon. I imagine many of these places have staff on site preparing for the evening, so it would make sense to me for them to have some kind of afternoon service. I know the drinking culture here is different from in the UK and other countries, but in a city like Tokyo, people's working hours are not so uniform that there is no demand for beer in the afternoon. Anyway, enough of my theorising, let me conclude by saying that this is a very good new place that is well worth visiting at least once. I know I will be going back.

Japanese breweries seen on tap here:
Daisen G
Ushi Tora
Shiga Kogen
Swan Lake
Y Market

Opening Hours:
Monday - Friday, 11:30-15:00, 17:00-23:00
Saturday, 11:30-23:00
Sunday & Holidays, 11:30-22:00

神田淡路町2丁目-105, ワテラスアネックス108, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

I think the simplest way is probably to exit Ochanomizu JR station through the Hijiribashi exit, turn left, cross the road and then go straight on down the road next to the train tracks. At the next junction turn right, cross the first side street and then follow round the side of the building till you get to the courtyard where Wiz is. Plenty of other transport options though in this area, so check the map and choose your favourite.


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Steve said...

Why do they close for hours in the mid-afternoon?
Hey, I need some time away from the bar to shop the 2nd floor at Mulan Akiba (SFW?). (DVDs for ¥300 or less!) |=D}
It is starting to appear to me that I (or somebody) could marshall a jaunt through Akiba that would encompass ramen, shopping, and craft beer drinking.
Plus, would I have to mention that it would then be a mere four-minute ¥140 Chuo/Sobu Line ride to Beer Club Popeye in Ryögoku? Can you utter monumental Tokyo day?

Tokyo Beer Drinker said...

Plenty of places close in the afternoon because there's just not much potential for customers I believe. Maybe this will change as more tourists come to Japan.