Friday, 19 February 2016

Beer Engine

Once again, thanks to all the people who are helping out with post on the blog. It really is shaming me into getting to some new places myself. So, consequently when I found myself with an early finish in Koenji this week it seemed like the perfect opportunity to check out the newly-opened Beer Engine. In fact it had only opened the day before, so it was very new indeed. Here are the main points.

- Specialises in 'Real Ale'. The master informed me that they have the most hand pumps in Japan. The have a total of eight taps, five of which are hand pumps. One of the other three seems to be reserved for macro beer though. So seven interesting taps in total. Taplist is posted on their facebook page. The keg beers come in one size, which looked like being around 300ml. These were ¥850. The 'real ales' come in two sizes, what looked like UK pint and UK half. The prices ranged from ¥1200-¥1300 and ¥700-¥750 respectively. No cover charge (hooray!).
- Eight seats at the counter and seats at tables for around 14. Nice and comfortable and the music they were playing was nice and quite different and the staff were nice and friendly. One big drawback on the atmosphere side though is that they allow smoking [Although the whole place is non-smoking before 8pm]. I really don't understand why such a small place would. I was about to order a second beer when someone asked for an ashtray and lit up. Instead I got the bill and moved on. It was a shame.
-Pretty close to the station. Just leave via the North Exit, turn right and follow the road by the tracks. It's down the third street on the left after about 200m.

So, there you have it. Prices seem a little higher than other places and it might be tough for them in Koenji where you have CBM and Bakushu Kobo selling beer much cheaper fairly near by, but the hand pump thing is something a little different that they have in their favour though. And the nice atmosphere. Also they are open later than these places too, but... smoking. It really changed how I felt about the place.

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Ise Kadoya
Sankt Gallen
Shiga Kogen

Opening Hours:
Monday-Saturday, 17:00-01:00
Closed Sunday

高円寺北 2-3-1, Suginami-ku, Tokyo




Alex V said...

Thanks for the intel on this one---am in Koenji often so will check it out soon.

It's a bar though---and I don't smoke, but is it really that big a deal? If they have a decent exhaust system...

I dunno, I find that bars that have smoking tend to be more, well, like a bar---with a better atmosphere. But that's just my opinion.

Tokyo Beer Drinker said...

Hi Alex,
Thanks for commenting. I understand what you're saying, but I disagree though. I think it is a big deal and the ventilation would have to be damn good to not notice it. I don't think smoking contributes to atmosphere personally. But anyway, like I said, I respect your opinion, but I think if you're selling beer or food that people are paying more for because of the taste, you should let them actually be able to taste it properly. Anyway, thanks again for reading and commenting.

Steve said...

Again, it is its business. I can only draw upon the experience here in Illinois, U.S.A., before the non-smoking law was passed effective 2008.
A classic, pioneering craft beer bar would not prohibit smoking lest it lose a portion of its patrons.
The reasoning went: A bar which prohibited smoking would not attract the patronage of parties which included at least one smoker. Another bar not so prohibitive would get the business.

F.M said...

According to Tabelog, the smoking rule has changed; it is now completely non-smoking until 8pm, thereafter split by which end of the bar you're seated (given your comment about the shop's small size, I doubt this would be particularly effective, akin to allowing peeing at one end of the swimming pool:-)
Bottom line, anyone who is sensitive to smoke should go before 8pm.

Since this bar was reviewed, a lot has changed with regards public opinion about whether or not beer bars (and Nihonshu-specialist bars/izakaya etc) should allow smoking. More and more punters are voting with their feet (and pockets) by not patronising bars that allow smoking. It would seem that many shop owners are getting the message that changing to smoke-free is not necessarily bad for business.

Personally, I only go to smoke-free bars, however I'm all for freedom of choice (and free speech!) and think that the shop owners should decide the rule, then let the public decide who to support. If smokers wish to congregate in smoking bars and choke on their fumes, all power to them, just don't expect to find me there. With over 100 smoke-free beer bars to choose from in the Tokyo area alone, there is no longer any excuse for moaning about bars that allow smoking. If you don't like the rule, don't go there and politely tell the owner why.

It will be very interesting to see if the legislation currently under consideration
will exclude beer bars from being smoke-free, especially as the likes of yakitori-ya and izakaya will not be excluded (if the proposed law is passed).

Tokyo Beer Drinker said...

Thanks again for the comment F.M. I totally agree with you. If people want to go to smoking places, that's fine with me, but I don't want to myself.
I'll add the pre-8pm thing to the listing. Cheers!