Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Thrash Zone Meatballs

 
A quick post on the new Thrash Zone (I didn't see that coming). Quick, because there is not much apart from the location that's different from the place near Yokohama station. In fact, if these places are new to you, I'd recommend that you start by checking the post on the original place to get the full story. In any case, here's a quick rundown of the important points.



- Similar design and feel to the other place, although it was much quieter when I visited, I guess due to the fact that it seemed to open almost out of nowhere, fairly recently. Lots of bare concrete. Limited seating (counter for about ten). Rest of the place is standing with a little shelf for your beer.
- Mix of their own beers and US imports, but this time it seems they are served in pint size only. As usual, great prices. Their own beers ranged from ¥700-¥900 (although they had a special price on their new beer St. Amber which was an almost unbelievable ¥500!!). The imports were all ¥1000. So, the prices are good. Size is US pint. No cover charge. They only had six taps on when I visited, but it's clearly early days and there's a lot of room to grow (lots of free taps and space on the blackboard). The taplist for the other place used to be posted on their website but hasn't been updated since December, so not sure if they will post the list for this place online or not.
- Extreme Meatballs available! Or actually not available yet, but the tagline of the place is 'Extreme Beer & Extreme Meatballs'. Depending on your opinions on extreme meat dishes this could be a big selling point or a let down. [Update, October 2016: Meatballs now available in a variety of sizes starting at small for ¥400. Also have a meatball sub for ¥700. Thanks to Rich for this info and for the extra photos now added to this post. Cheers!]

That's it. Simple concept, so simple blog post. Like I said, check the other post if you want to read something a bit more flowery or need to know more. I'm sure in time this place will become as popular as the other location. It's in Kannai, which now has an amazing amount of decent beer bars. A great place for a pub crawl. I should probably do that soon. It's been a while.

Japanese breweries recently seen on tap:
Thrash Zone

New Opening Hours (as of October 2016):
Monday-Saturday, 12:00-22:00
Sunday & Holidays, 12:00-19:00

Location/map:
常盤町 2-15-1, Naka-ku, Yokohama



Telephone:
None

Links:
Website
Ratebeer

Friday, 15 April 2016

Tap Stand Craft Beer & Pizza


Post by James

This place is very close to Shinjuku station's south exit or Shinjuku Sanchome. There are apparently 42 seats so it is a relatively big place considering its location. There is a very small counter that can sit three but it faces the window, not the bar. I chose to sit at this counter and watch all the passersby. There were ten American craft beers and one cider and there were ten Japanese craft beers. Plenty of choice so you would have to be pretty fussy not to find something you like.

Most beers come in two sizes; Regular which is 350ml and Large which is 470ml. American beers are typically ¥1300-¥1350 for a large and around ¥1100 for the regular. Japanese beers were slightly cheaper in most cases (large, ¥1120-¥1300, regular, ¥790-¥1110). A bit on the expensive side but I guess you are paying for the convenient location. [New Prices Oct 2016: After briefly toying with lower prices and presumably attracting some more customers, they have changed their prices again. There is now a ¥300 charge and a different pricing system. Imported beers are now ¥1200 a pint, ¥970 for a medium and ¥680 for a small. Japanese beer is ¥1050 for a pint, ¥850 for a medium and ¥600 for a small. This makes it considerably more expensive and, because of the charge, a really bad choice if you only want one beer.] One thing which I didn't like is that the one really strong beer on tap (Old Rasputin Imperial Stout) was only served in a 250ml glass and was the same price as an American pint of the other beers. I've seen this beer sold at normal pint prices in other establishments. At least there isn't a charge. There is a fairly big food menu but I didn't try the pizzas which were mostly slightly unusual ones e.g. Wagyu pizza.  I will definitely try one if I go again.

I went in just as it was opening at 17:00 and it started to fill up quite quickly. There is a constant stream of people passing and quite a few stopped to at least look at the sign. Some even came in. I think this passing traffic will keep Tap Stand in business though it won't have many people who consider it their favorite bar. It isn't really a good place for a session but it was a pleasant smoke-free, though a bit uninspiring, place to spend an hour listening to Dylan and other American tracks. With this location they really should open more during the day.

Japanese breweries recently seen on tap:
Tokorozawa
Shonan
Coedo
Ushitora
Minoh
Shiroyama
Brimmer
North Island

Opening Hours:
Who knows? Everywhere they are stated they seem to be different. I guess aim for a time when all three sources say it's open. If I make it here myself, I'll try to clarify this.
Option 1 - Daily, 15:00-23:30
Option 2 - Daily, 12:00-15:00, 17:00-23:30
Option 3 - Daily from 17:00 till late, 03:00 at weekends

Location/map:
新宿 3-35-3, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo



Telephone:
03-3226-0566

Links:
Facebook
Ratebeer

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Nonsuch


Post by James

Nonsuch is a bar in Ikebukuro. It is a few minutes walk from JR Ikebukuro station or about 30 seconds from Exit C3 which is close to the Yurakucho and Fukutoshin lines.
The layout was a bit complicated, but I guess there are about 20 seats in all. There are about three seats at the bar counter and another three at another counter facing a wall. The rest are at various tables.
Beer came in three sizes; half, regular and pint. The half is ¥750, regular is ¥950 and a pint is ¥1350. I ordered the regular and was disappointed with the size which I estimated to be about 250ml. The pint did seem to be a real UK pint so it's much better value than the regular size. The beer that was on tap when I went in was Fuller's Jack Frost, Sankt Gallen Yokohama XPA, Iwatekura Nonsuch original brown ale and Iwatekura IPA (real ale). I think this last one is always on. [At least two of these taps are always genuine real ale and the pub is quite picky about it conforming to the British definition of this]. There is no cover charge, which is always welcome.
I went in on Saturday (it doesn't open until 7pm) shortly after it opened and it was pretty much full. The extractor fans seem to be very weak and the smoke level was absolutely awful, but maybe I was just unlucky. Nonsuch has a bit of a British feel and the music is all from the UK, the Stones, Oasis etc. There is also a reasonable food menu.
Overall, this place has plenty regulars and a lively atmosphere. Not a great beer selection but if you like British music it might be the place for you. Way too smoky for me though.

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Sankt Gallen
Iwatekura

Opening Hours:
Monday-Saturday, 19:00-04:00
Closed Sunday

Location/map:
西池袋 5-1-6, 2F, Toshima-ku, Tokyo



Telephone:
03-3981-4811

Links:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Blog

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Taptime

Today we are venturing into territory where there is not much in the way of craft beer. Given that Umegaoka is on the Odakyu line, it's really easy for me to get here, so consequently it was somewhere that I'd inevitably visit sooner or later. Very pleased that I made the (fairly insigificant) effort though as this is a nice place.

- Very small place. Counter for eight people and a sofa in the corner for maybe five.
- Five taps of Japanese craft beer, served in two sizes, 270ml and 370ml. Prices are ¥630-¥770 and ¥800-¥1000 respectively. When I visited, the selection was pretty good (heavy on Shiga Kogen specials means good for me!) and looking back on previous facebook posts, it looks like they usually get some interesting stuff here. No cover charge too.
- Different glassware for different beer styles, which is a nice touch.

So, this is a pretty nice place. Maybe I was lucky with the taplist, but given that they post their available beers on their facebook, there's no excuse for not also being lucky. This is an Odakyu stop where, as far as I know, there is nothing else in the way of beer so this is another welcome addition to the Tokyo beer scene. The place really felt good. The master was nice and the customers friendly and it's somewhere I would definitely come back to. Maybe it is one-man-bar syndrome again, but these kind of places definitely have something a little extra which is a bit difficult to articulate. If you are in the area, I would heartily recommend you popping in. I'll be back there myself the next time I'm nearby.

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

Opening Hours:
Monday-Wednesday, 19:30-00:00
Friday, 19:30-00:00
Saturday & Sunday, 17:00-00:00
Closed Thursday

Location/map:
梅丘 1-25-3, MINO ビル 2F, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo



Telephone:
050-3574-3466

Links:
Facebook
Twitter

Monday, 11 April 2016

YYG Brewery & Beer Kitchen

For a while people have been bemoaning the lack of brewpubs in Tokyo. But at the moment it seems that we are getting a new one every month. Less frequent than we get new bars,  the rate of opening of which I think has slowed to around one new place every two days recently. After visiting Beer ++ and Sakazuki and being pleasantly surprised I thought I was due a duffer, but this is another good place!

- Split over two floors. Bizarrely those two floors are the first and seventh floor. The first floor is the one I visited and houses the brewery and a small bar. The seventh is their 'Beer Kitchen', so expect a more food oriented experience there.
- Bar area has a fairly random assortment of seats and tables. Seating for about ten and about the same number of tables. Cash on delivery so order at the bar and pay as you go. There is also a nice patio area for around 20 which will be great when it gets a bit sunnier.
- Beer Kitchen seems to have a few more tables (going by the photo on their facebook). Seems to have seating for around 30 at tables and a counter. If I make it up there I'll update this post. Sorry for the slackness.
- Bar area has eleven taps but as they are only just starting, they only had three on when I visited. They have a couple of guest beers too, but you're probably not visiting for them. Their beer list is on their website and updated every day which is pretty good. You can see it here. Beers are ¥800 for a fairly large size (around 400ml I would say). There didn't appear to be any smaller servings which was a shame. The beers that were on when I was there were their Light Hop Pale Ale, British Brown Ale and Wheat Ale. Had the first two and was pleasantly surprised.

So, another brewpub and this has to be a good thing. It's nice to have all these new bars, but at least with new brewpubs you can be sure that each new place is offering something a little different. The patio will be probably be a big draw for this place as the weather improves. Given their location near to Shinjuku (not much more than five minutes walk from the JR station) and the classy feel of the place I guess there has been a fair bit of money spent on this venture. Let's hope they can justify that investment sooner rather than later.

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
YYG
Baird
Johana

Opening Hours:
Monday-Friday, 17:00-23:00
Saturday, Sunday & Holidays, 12:00-23:30

Location/map:
代々木 2-18-3, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo



Telephone:
03-6276-1221

Links:
Website

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Delirium Ginza

I recently realised that I don't have many of the Delirium locations on here so I guess I should probably remedy that soon. First on the list for me to visit was the most recently opened one and I think the one with the most taps. Like many of the other branches, it's not in a particularly exciting location for me, but I guess many people find themselves in Ginza from time to time and it almost certainly makes sense for them from a business point of view. I'll keep things brief as you almost certainly know what to expect.

- Large taplist (40 taps) of Belgian beer ranging from the delicious to the dull and sugary. This always seems to be the case with Delirium bars all over the world though. There are enough good ones on there to keep you happy though. Not sure how fast the taps turn over though, and the dull and sugary are on constantly I think. Pricing is about normal for Belgian beers in Japan, starting around ¥800 for probably 250ml.
- Big fridges full of bottles with some very interesting stuff in there. You can definitely find some beauties. Some of the most interesting stuff in the fridge didn't seem to be listed on the menu so I guess the stock updates quite regularly. Prices are as to be expected. Around ¥1000 and upwards.
- Long and thin building with plenty of seating. We visited quite late on a Sunday night and there were plenty of people in there, so I guess it's popular. Quite a few tables and a long counter to sit at. Lots of light and feels like the slightly classy chain pub it is. The website strangely seems to focus first on food and then beer, so I guess they want people to go there and eat. Felt like they could have done with a few more toilets!
- There is a cover charge, but it seems to be applied at the server's discretion. I have heard stories of foreigners not being charged (presumably it's difficult to explain if the customer doesn't speak Japanese and is unaware of such things). It's listed as ¥324, which to me suggests that maybe tax might be added on to all the prices at the end. I'm sorry, my friend dealt with the bill and I forgot to check! I guess if you are spending the night drinking in a Belgian pub in Tokyo, you go there appreciating that it won't be the cheapest of evenings.
- Significantly, it has my favourite, the always magical and appreciated daytime opening!

Belgian beer is my kind of beer, but for some reason don't find myself going to these places so often. I think this is mainly due to the fact that a night out on Belgian beers invariably ends up costing quite a bit more than one on Japanese beers. So this kind of place is always a little bit of a luxury. Although saying that, unless you are slamming pints and looking for volume, the higher alcohol could balance things out a bit. And for a treat now and then, these places are certainly a good option. I think out of all the places in their chain, I still prefer the St. Bernardus cafe in Kanda, but they will be opening a De Dolle related place soon, so that could potentially take the title. However, for delivering what you would expect, Delirium Ginza does the job perfectly well.

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
None, it's a Belgian bar

Opening Hours:
Monday, 17:00-23:30
Tuesday, 11:30-23:30
Wednesday & Thursday, 11:30-24:00
Friday, 11:30-02:00
Saturday, 12:00-23:30
Sunday & Holidays, 12:00-23:00

Location/map:
銀座 5-9-5, Chuo-ku, Tokyo



Telephone:
03-6228-5617

Links:
Website
Facebook

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Sakazuki Brewing

Today, a post on a new brewpub that has recently opened very near World Beer Market/Tokyo Liquor Land/Sake no Taniguchi (choose your favourite name for that place). It seemed to appear a little out of nowhere, which probably says more about how up to speed with the beer scene I am at the moment than anything else. I was able to make the trip up there on a Friday afternoon. Yes, this is another place with some daytime opening!

-Nice looking place with a decent amount of seating. Nice view of the brewery from the bar. The brewer was tinkering with something as I sat at the bar enjoying her creations. Seating for about 20 and a counter for about eight.
- Decent pricing. All beers are ¥500 (¥540 including tax) and are served in 300ml pours. Was delighted to see that they use different glass shapes depending on the beer style. A nice touch.
- Capability for ten taps, but only five were on, four of their own beers and something called Asahi Super Dry. Guess this is a rare beer from somewhere in Japan that I have never heard of. Their own beers when I visited were a Weizen, English Pale Ale, Mild Ale (! Now there's a style you don't often see much of in Japan!) and a Belgian influenced Blonde. I was a bit pressed for time so only could have the Mild and the Pale Ale. Both were pretty damn nice and drinkability was high. Seems they cover a few bases with the styles though as I heard there was an Imperial Stout on the week before I visited.

Like I said, not really sure where they came from, but I am very happy they have appeared. The beers were surprisingly good, particularly for such a new brewery. I think we have had some pretty good new brewpubs opening recently. Kita Senju is a place I find myself now and again and I think their proximity to World Beer Market will work out well for both places. There is now twice the reason to head to the East side of Kita Senju station. I am looking forward to going back and seeing what they have got on next time.

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Sakazuki

Opening Hours:
Wednesday-Friday, 16:00-22:30
Saturday, 13:00-22:30
Sunday, 13:00-21:30

Location/map:
千住旭町 11-10, Adachi-ku, Tokyo



Telephone:
03-5284-9432

Links:
Facebook

Friday, 8 April 2016

Awashima Soko

Today, somewhere that stands out from many of the other beer places that are opening at the moment. Awashima Soko is a tiny beer pub with great looking food in a slightly difficult location that specialises in serving beers from Japanese breweries that are rarely seen on tap elsewhere in Tokyo.

- Pretty tiny place. Counter for seven and tables that seat six. Doesn't feel cramped though, but is undeniably small.
- Six taps of Japanese craft beer, usually with some rarely heard names. It is the master's passion to get beers that other people don't have. Guess this has mixed results! The Gujo Hachiman beer I had when I visited was very strange, but equally enjoyable. Beers are served in two sizes, 250ml for ¥600 and 480ml for ¥1000, so the pricing is pretty fair. They also offer a three beer tasting set (3 x 150ml for ¥900) and a four beer tasting set (4 x 150ml for ¥1200) so it's easy to pop in and try a few different things which is great. A limited selection of bottles too. Not sure of the prices of them though. Sorry!
- Food looks very good. Can see that things are done to a high standard and the master seems to take pride in his food. Apparently he is accommodating for vegetarians. Just let him know and he'll knock something up for you. Thank you!
- Bit of a tricky location if you don't live locally. Ten minutes walk from Ikenoue station. Just a little further from Shimokitazawa and Sangenjaya, but pretty much stuck in the middle of nowhere (or as much as that can be possible in a huge city with an extensive transport network). The difficulty does make it all a bit more of an experience though. There you go, I can find a positive in pretty much everything.

All in all, this is a great place and deserves to be visited. Don't be put off by the location as in the grand scheme of things, it really isn't that far. Awashima Soko is another one man operation, like Gremlin, Bamboo etc. and it really does feel that these places have a little more 'soul' than some of the more identikit bars that seem to be everywhere now. I think these small businesses are definitely deserving of our custom. I'll be back there soon!

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Coedo
Umenishiki
Ushi Tora
Gujo Hachiman
Kyoto

Opening Hours:
Wednesday-Monday, 18:00-02:00
Closed Tuesday

Location/map:
代沢 4-34-12, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo



Telephone:
03-6804-0799

Links:
Facebook

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Ninkasi

Today, a quick post about a fairly new place that has opened up in the west of Tokyo. Ninkasi is, I presume, given the similarities in logo and their online connections, the sister pub of Gambrinus in Kokubunji. But whilst Gambrinus is located is a windowless room on the sixth floor, Ninkasi is a glass fronted place opening on to a quiet side street. It really seemed a very nice place.

- Nice spacious open room with tables seating 14 and a counter for about eight. On a Saturday afternoon, it felt very relaxed and the decor was comfortable and modern.
- Food available, but we didn't eat. Staff were very friendly and the music they were playing was quite nostalgic for us, which might not be a plus for everyone, but we liked it.
- 11 taps of Japanese craft beer. Nice range of styles from the usual breweries. Beers served in four sizes, small (300ml), regular (420ml), large (568ml) and mass (1300ml) and were priced at ¥800, ¥1000, ¥1300 and ¥2400-2500 respectively. The Fujizakura beer was in slightly larger servings (I guess it must have been in Fujizakura glassware) for the same prices.

So that's about it. I really enjoyed stopping here for a few beers and if it was a bit closer to home I think we'd be here quite often. There may be other more convenient bars offering similar things, but I felt like Ninkasi had a little bit of something special about it. If you happen to be in the Tachikawa/Kunitachi area it's worth popping in. It's pretty close to Yaho train station.

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Harvestmoon
Sankt Gallen
Baird
Yo-Ho
Fujizakura Kogen
Hansharo
Minoh
Swan Lake
Shiga Kogen
Oh La Ho

Opening Hours:
Tuesday-Friday, 17:00-24:00
Saturday & Sunday, 15:00-24:00
Closed Monday

Location/map:
1-10-15 富士見台, Kunitachi, Tokyo



Telephone:
042-505-9777

Links:
Facebook

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Takadanobaba Beer Kobo

The latest in the ever expanding chain of Bakushu Kobo brewpubs that started in Koenji a while ago. This one has a few things that distinguishes it from the other places which I will mention below, but on the whole, it's the usual Bakushu Kobo package.

- First time they have strayed from the Chuo line. Location is pretty close to Takadanobaba station in what is quite a studenty area. Nice airy interior but shockingly there's not so much wood this time! Maybe feels a bit more spacious than some of the other branches, so much that I couldn't/didn't count the seats.
- Service at the bar as usual, but this time you take the card from your table to identify which tab you're on. As with some of the other branches systems, it possibly feels like it is unnecessarily over-complicated, but hell, it's original.
- Six taps and when I visited there were five of their beers on. Beer styles seemed similar to the other branches as expected. But, there seems to be a new sizing system. You can order by the glass (300ml, ¥400-¥500), flask (500ml, ¥600-¥700) or mini keg type thing (1800ml, ¥1800-¥1900). The idea seems to be that you use the larger containers to pour for yourself at your table. I saw someone doing the flask and it looked pretty neat. Not sure how this works with the mini keg though. Is there a spout or something? No cover charge.
- Daytime opening! Is this becoming a thing? I'll be very happy if it is. Seems that a few new places are doing it. I hope they continue.

So, if you've been to one of these places, you pretty much know what you are getting here. The daytime opening is the big plus for me. I can combine it with a visit to the nearby Disk Union and Tanakaya. Guess this place will benefit from the increased beer traffic that appears when the new Baird Taproom opens in Takadanobaba soon.

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Takadanobaba

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

Location/map:
高田馬場 1-29-2, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo



Telephone:
None, apparently

Links:

Monday, 4 April 2016

Mikkeller Spring Pop-Up (NOW CLOSED)


NOW CLOSED. THE DEMOLITION DATE GOT MOVED FORWARD. NEW BAR EXPECTED FAIRLY SOON APPARENTLY.

A quick post on the new Mikkeller Spring pop-up bar that opened on Saturday in Nakameguro. A quick post as it may not be open very long, but it is definitely worth a visit. In fact, it might be one of the most unique drinking places in Tokyo. Although there are definitely comparisons that could be made with Yanaka Beer Hall.
Firstly, apologies for the photo. It shows the main entrance to the bar down the side of the building and it's easy to miss. However they now have a sign outside, so it should be a bit easier to spot. There is another entrance through Chez Chau, the Vietnamese street food restaurant that takes up the front of the building. This is basically an old Japanese house that has been hastily but elegantly converted into a bar. The feel is kind of reminiscent of the old bar, apart from the fact that it is much smaller and is a house. There has been a floor laid over the tatami so there's thankfully no need for talking shoes off. There's one armchair and a couple of stools in the genkan and a couple more seats in the main room. Beware of the low doorways. I managed to not bang my head, but it's surely only a matter of time before I do. I guess I could put some photos of the interior here, but I think it's better to come and see it for the first time in the flesh, rather than come knowing what to expect.
The bar is in the back room. They had five taps when we arrived yesterday and by the time I left that had increased to seven. If they carry on at this rate they'll be back up to twenty in no time. (UPDATE: went it today again and apparently the aim is ten taps and it should be sorted quite soon). Although if that happens there may not be any room left for anyone to enter the building. The prices and serving sizes are the same as at the old place, 200ml and 400ml and naturally the prices vary by beer. (Have just been told that the larger size now seems to be US pint, but the prices are in the same area still). Yesterday, all the beers were by Mikkeller, but there are plans to get other stuff in and for some special events. All in all, it seems pretty exciting to me.
So, a pretty unique experience that will only be around for a limited time (the building is scheduled for demolition at some stage). The bar will be there for at least a couple of months and should hopefully help fill the gap between the old bar and the new bar which we can hope for later in the year. If you liked the old Mikkeller place and feel uncomfortable going to the ridiculous plastic imitation that has been opened in the former location (which apparently wouldn't hand over the Mikkeller Tokyo facebook page, so they had to make a new one), you have got to come here and make the most of it whilst you can.

Japanese breweries seen on tap here:
None at the moment, but keep an eye out...

Opening Hours:
Monday-Thursday, 15:00-24:00
Friday, 15:00-01:00
Saturday, 12:00-01:00
Sunday, 12:00-24:00

Location/map:
上目黒 1-11-1, Meguro-ku, Tokyo



Links:
Website
Facebook
Ratebeer

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Path

Very brief post on a new bistro that has opened fairly recently in the Yoyogi Hachiman area. Quick post as it's not really a beer place, but a post nonetheless for one particular reason that I will mention below.

- Quite fancy bistro cafe and is therefore naturally focused on food rather than beer. But...
- Two taps of Kyoto Brewing. It is one of Kyoto brewing's six 'permanent lines' in Tokyo, the others being Gremlin (hooray!), the Himalaya Table (hooray!), Brussels Otemachi (...eh?), Craft Beer Market Jimbocho Terrace and Au Fil de Jours. This means that you will always be able to get Kyoto beer here. The beer is served in a large wine glass making an estimate of volume almost impossible for me. It's ¥800 a glass, but there is also a cover charge.
- The food is good and the feel of the place is very nice. There wasn't a great deal of vegetarian stuff available and it wasn't the cheapest, so not sure how often we'll go there, but it's a very nice option to have.

So decent food, decent beer, decent atmosphere, decent location, but all of this comes at a price of course!

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Kyoto

Opening Hours:
Tuesday-Sunday, 08:00-14:00, 18:00-24:00
Closed Monday

Location/map:
富ヶ谷 1-44-2 A-FLAT 1F, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo




Telephone:
03-6407-0011

Links:
Ratebeer

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Daimon/Hamamatsucho round up part 4: Soul Bird

(This was originally part of a big Daimon/Hamamatsucho area round up post until I decided to split it in order for the tags to work better. Here are part 1, part 2 and part 3)


Finally, Soul Bird. Probably the most conventionally styled of all of these places (see the previous parts), Soul Bird is exactly what you would expect from a Japanese craft beer bar.

- Bigger than it looks at first. Plenty of seating as there is a patio out front and a large back room. All in all seating for about 40 and a counter that seats four.
- 10 taps of Japanese craft beer, some from breweries that you don't see so often in Tokyo (Marca, for example). Beer is served in two sizes, 280ml and 450ml for ¥660 and ¥880 respectively. They also have a beer flight of three 180ml glasses of your choice for ¥1200 (I think. Sorry, I forgot to write down the price, but I seem to remember it was clearly marked). There's no cover charge, but tax is added on at the end.
- Nice atmosphere to the place. Hope they are doing ok with all of the competition in the area.

So, overall, a nice place with some beers that you don't see in too many other places. A little bit out of my way, but if I'm in the area this is somewhere that I'd go back to.

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Marca
Beer Hearn
Coedo
Ushi Tora
Baird
Aoi
Minamishinshu
Yokohama
Johana

Opening Hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday, 11:30-14:30, 17:00-24:00
Wednesday, 17:00-24:00 (not open at lunchtime)
Saturday, 13:00-22:30
Closed Sunday and holidays

Location/map:
浜松町 1-20-5, Minato-ku, Tokyo



Telephone:
03-6450-1639

Links:
Facebook

Daimon/Hamamatsucho round up part 3: Barchetta

(This was originally part of a big Daimon/Hamamatsucho area round up post until I decided to split it in order for the tags to work better. Here are part 1, part 2 and part 4)


Barchetta is an Italian restaurant chain that just happens to have decent Japanese craft beer. They used to have a branch in Aoyama which I had heard great things about, but this has recently closed down. So when we passed a branch in Daimon it seemed worth a look.

- Restaurant, so the focus is naturally food. Have heard good things about the quality of the food.
- Pretty spacious and no way of knowing how many seats there were as it was split over two floors and I didn't see upstairs. Small counter for four or five people and the manager was nice enough to let us pop in for just the one beer without charging us a cover charge. If you are dining though, you will have to pay it.
- 10 taps of Japanese craft beer for a variety of breweries. There was some interesting beers I haven't seen elsewhere and some interesting breweries. Sizes are 250ml and 500ml and prices are ¥580 and ¥890 respectively. Tax is added at the end though. But still decent pricing and good sizes, especially for a restaurant.

I'd like to stop here for some food sometime as the manager was a nice guy who seemed to care about beer. The food coming out of the kitchen looked good and the pricing seems more than reasonable. I suspect it's a good place to stop in for lunch and load up on well-priced beers!

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Baird
Ise Kadoya
Fujizakura
Baeren
Coedo
Oh La Ho
Yo-Ho
Hakkaisan
Minoh

Opening Hours:
Monday-Saturday, 11:30-14:00, 17:30-23:30
Closed Sunday and holidays

Location/map:
浜松町 1-18-11, Minato-ku, Tokyo



Telephone:
03-6435-8954

Links:

Daimon/Hamamatsucho round up part 2: Lower Right

(This was originally part of a big Daimon/Hamamatsucho area round up post until I decided to split it in order for the tags to work better. Here are part 1, part 3 and part 4)

The Lower Right was pretty different from On The Table. It's in the basement under a Hub pub and is aiming for a slightly different type of salaryman. The prices and atmosphere were the main contrast from our previous stop.

- Definite basement business bar feel to it. Big high leather bench seats. Pretty tightly packed in. Can imagine it feeling quite lively when it's packed. When we visited in the afternoon we were only able to stay for one beer as they were fully booked from around 17:30. So, it's definitely popular. Seating for 30 and a counter for around 10.
- Big smoke stench coming from the walls and furniture. Even though we were the only people in there, it felt a bit stinky. And the place hasn't been open that long!
- 20 taps, two of which are macro, eight fairly run of the mill Belgian beers with a few highlights and the remaining ten are Japanese craft of the cheap keg variety. Some decent beers on from larger breweries, (Nest, Baird, Ise Kadoya) and some darker stuff from breweries you don't see around that much. We went for a couple of the less well know breweries and one was a pleasant surprise.
- Japanese beers are in two sizes, 270ml and 450ml. Prices for these are ¥580 and ¥880 respectively. Belgian beers normally come in the one size in the correct glassware. So probably around 350ml. Pricing ranges from ¥750-¥950. They have a happy hour from 11:30-19:00 where all beer (we think... definitely the Japanese stuff anyway and we suspect the Belgian stuff too) is ¥550. There is no cover charge but tax is added on to your bill at the end. One other option they offer is a beer flight of any three beers on the menu for ¥880. Not sure of the size of the servings though.

Overall, positives are pretty good pricing, 'interesting' beer selection, daytime opening, but the negatives are smoky and busy and 'interesting' beer selection.

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Baird
Brimmer
Hitachino Nest
Dogo
Ise Kadoya
Johana
Hokkaido
Kinosaki

Opening Hours:
Daily, 11:30-24:00

Location/map:
浜松町 2-1-20, SVAX 大門ビルディング B1, Minato-ku, Tokyo



Telephone:
050-5785-4815

Links:
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Daimon/Hamamatsucho round up part 1: On The Table

(This was originally part of a big Daimon/Hamamatsucho area round up post until I decided to split it in order for the tags to work better. Here are part 2, part 3 and part 4)


First, the new bar/restaurant venture from the chain that started with Goodbeer Faucets. (Actually, I should probably mention at this stage that Wiz is part of the same chain. I had no idea about this as there's no sign in the name or the branding as far as I can tell). If GBF is their beer place that has some food, and Wiz their beer and food place, then On The Table is their restaurant that has beer. The focus is very much on dining here, although they are open in the afternoon for drinks only. Here are the details:

- Fairly spacious, sleek and modern style in a newly constructed building. Enter via the entrance shown in the picture above, take the lift to the third floor and it will take you straight into the restaurant.
- Lots of seating. Five tables for four, three tables for two, high tables for eight and a small counter for six. Wasn't very busy in the afternoon when we visited but it was only a couple of weeks after they had opened and at an unpopular time of day. If you are after beers only, I'd definitely recommend heading there between lunch and dinner.
- Large taplist. 25 taps, probably 3/5 of which were Japanese craft and the rest imports. The usual faucets house beers are decently priced but the other taps tend to veer towards the expensive end of Tokyo prices. Beers only available in one size and the volume isn't mentioned but we guess it was around 300-350ml. Prices start at ¥700 (for the house beers) and go up to ¥1200. [A quick update. They now serve beer in two sizes, 220ml and 350ml. Prices range from ¥500-¥700 for the small and ¥750-¥1000 for the regular.] They have a happy hour from opening at 11:00 till 17:00. Definitely a good reason to visit in the afternoon.
- Wifi and power points available to use. Staff were friendly and seemed pleased that someone was there in the afternoon.

Overall, it's a nice place, but the prices and one choice of serving size is a bit off-putting. And given that they are part of a chain, it's a shame that the taplist is not more exciting. I can see myself back here for happy hour, but I think it might be a bit rich for me outside of those times. And I guess I'm not really in Daimon very often either. Big pluses are the afternoon opening and no cover charge. Hope they can stay open all day as it is something that marks them out. Sadly, Wiz stopped their daytime opening after a while.

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Baird
Brimmer
Atsugi
Kyoto
Minoh
Tazawako
Nihonkai Club
Fukushima
Gotemba
Iwatekura

Opening Hours:
Daily, 11:00-23:30

Location/map:
芝大門 1-15-3, GEMS 大門 3F, Minato-ku, Tokyo



Telephone:
03-6435-8678

Links:
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