Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Niigata intermission part 1: Beer Trip Olive & Olive Another Pint

(This post was previously part of a Niigata round up with three places in one. They have now been split into separate entries. The other parts are part 2 and part 3)

I was recently in Niigata for football and visited a few nice beer places. I was torn on whether to put them on here, but it seemed like I might as well put on places I visit even if they are a little way from Tokyo. I guess Niigata is only two hours away by Shinkansen. I haven't posted about anywhere in Kansai as I feel that there is so much there that it deserves its own blog and there's no way that I could cover it in enough depth. Anyone fancy doing that? But Niigata is still a relatively small scene, so is much easier to sum up in a single post. There are a few other places in town, but we didn't visit them, either due to them being a bit out of the way or them having crazy cover charges not conducive to popping in for a quick drink.
If you are interested, the area is famous for producing sake so there is a lot of interesting nihonshu around too. There is a place just across the station car dropping off point from Craft Beer Kan on the second floor called Ponshukan that has an amazing wall of sake serving machines where you can buy tokens and sample many different types in relatively small measures. I am clueless but enthusiastic about sake, so this was pretty much perfect for me.
Niigata was a very welcoming place and I had a lot of fun there. Thank you very much to Kuwabara-san and his family for meeting us at Olive, helping me out with info and for sending me photos of the two Olive branches. Oh, see what I did there? See you next year Kuwabara-san! Anyway, here is part one of your Niigata round up.

I've put these two together, as they are effectively the same bar, even if they are not physically connected (as far as I know anyway). I believe that Beer Trip Olive (hereafter referred to as BTO), was the original place and they later expanded to open Olive Another Pint (hereafter OAP) . It would certainly make sense given the name I guess. Here are the basics.

- Two bars almost next door (think there is one building between them). BTO has 45 seats spread over three floors and OAP is pretty much the same.
- 12 taps of Japanese craft beer at BTO and 4 taps of imported stuff at OAP. The exciting part, (at least for me anyway) is that you can order from both bars' menus.
- Beer served in two sizes, half and pint which are generally speaking 285-295ml and 480-500ml respectively. Prices for the half range from approximately ¥600-¥770 and for the pint, ¥1000-¥1350, the higher end being imports which were all Firestone Walker when we were there. These prices include tax, but there is a ¥315 cover charge to be added on at the end.

I really liked the feel of these bars. They were certainly somewhere you could settle in and spend a few hours. I feel I was maybe unduly excited by ordering a beer from a different building, but if you go I hope you get the same joy from it that I did. Some people might find the prices a little high, but if you're coming from Tokyo they will seem pretty normal. We'll definitely be going back next time we're in Niigata.

[Please note, according to tabelog, these places allow smoking, but I don't remember noticing]

Japanese breweries recently seen on tap:
Fujizakura Kogen
Swan Lake
Hitachino Nest

Opening Hours:
Seem to vary, but if you want to play it safe
Daily, 17:00-00:00
Sometimes seems to open at 15:00 though. Best check their facebook posts (links below).

弁天 3-2-16, Chuo-ku, Niigata


Facebook BTO
Facebook OAP
Twitter BTO
Twitter OAP
Ratebeer entry BTO
Ratebeer entry OAP


Mark Frederick said...

Great write-up. Thinking about going up here for the Swan Lake Anniversary bash, but still not sure.

There actually are 3 other breweries in Niigata-shi, but only in name.
Echigo, Niigata, and Makigoya.
It's a huge city, since many other towns got consolidated into it.
These three are very far from the center.

Tokyo Beer Drinker said...

I can't wait for next season when we can go back. I really enjoyed the feel of Niigata. Have fun and thanks for the info.