Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Craft & Romance (NOW CLOSED)


This post will be a bit of a weird one as I have had this on my list to visit for a while as I had heard great things about it. In the meantime, one of my generous helpers, popped in there and sent me a few notes. So, I’ll state the facts about the place and then let you know what both James and I thought about the place individually. This seems fair as I had a slightly negative experience as you will see later, but it’s one which would probably only affect a tiny percentage of people, so I think it’s fair to get someone else’s opinion too. We have also each provided a photo, one of the entrance at street level and one of the bar entrance on the seventh floor, both equally bad (hope you don't mind me saying this James!).

- As usual with Craftsman bars, has a slightly fancy yet comfortable feel to it with plenty of seating, this time packed into a fairly small space. All in all it probably seats around 50 and most of it is at tables, with a couple of tiny counters. There isn’t a bar, the taps are along one wall, so you can sit with staff pouring beers behind your back. A pretty unique experience! Also, very nice small terrace seating 16 with views of the tops of buildings and the train station. Think it is much nicer than I made it sound. No smoking too.
- 31 taps, 28 of which are craft beer, the majority being Japanese stuff. Menu is divided by style and there are a decent mix of beer types and breweries. Small is ¥500 and regular ¥800, probably about 250ml and US pint. Beer flight of three 150ml glasses for ¥1050 isn't the greatest deal if you are looking for value for money, but works pretty well if you are looking to try a few things. ¥300 cover charge and tax is added on at the end, but we were able to get over cover charge waived if we ‘liked’ their Facebook page. Unfortunately we forgot to do so.
- Usual Craftsman food menu with an emphasis on pizza in this branch. Many people rave about how good the Craftsman chain’s food is.
- Fantastically late opening hours for a place of this kind. Very welcome!

James said:
"Better beer menu than Craft Beer Market… great beer flight… the outdoor terrace is pretty cool too…had a thoroughly enjoyable time and staggered out at 2am.  I walked the 6km back to my place partly to sober up and partly because even the night bus had gone. Late opening is great but you really need to live locally. Pretty sure I'll be back."

I am broadly in agreement with him, but as usual my problem was the food. I’m not complaining about a lack of vegetarian options as after all we are in Japan, but we were informed that a salad was ‘vegetables only’ and it contained bacon. It wasn’t a language difference as we were speaking Japanese and I was with a native speaker. The squid ink margherita pizza was back again too. The small amount of vegetarian items they had were delicious though, but I think I would have really enjoyed the experience a lot more if it wasn’t for the same food problems as Yokohama. Beer pouring was great though, (unlike Yokohama). Out of the three I’ve been to, Sendai is out in first place, Craft & Romance in the middle, purely for the food problem and Yokohama very far behind.

So thanks to James, you have some balance. The opening hours are amazing, it’s nice they let you off the otoshi (at least at the moment anyway, and at least if you remember to do it) and the beer selection and prices are decent. They publish their taplist on their Facebook page daily so it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on. They were pretty busy on the day we went though, so unless you’re heading there at a strange time it might be worth booking.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:

Hitachino Nest
Ise Kadoya
North Island
Oh La Ho
Romantic Village
Shiga Kogen
Swan Lake
Ushi Tora

Opening Hours:
Monday-Thursday, 17:00-01:00

Friday, 17:00-03:00
Saturday 11:00-03:00
Sunday, 11:00-00:00


吉祥寺南町1-5-3, KICHIJOJI PIATTO 7F, Musashino-shi, Tokyo



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