Saturday, 28 January 2017

Ushi Tora (new location)

Ushi Tora has moved. The old standing bar is still there (check here for a post on that place), but their main bar has now crossed the tracks to the area north of where the Odakyu and Inokashira lines meet. I have a bit of a troubled relationship with Ushi Tora. I've had some bad experiences in the standing bar and can't imagine I will ever feel the need to go back there. But I have to admit the service in this place was fine. Nice, friendly staff and none of the bad stuff that I had at the standing location. I do still have a major reservation about recommending their bars as I'm sure will become apparent further along in this post, but they are popular places and plenty of people seem to not have the same issues that I do, so here it is. 

The new bar has a nice feel about it. Comfy seats, well lit but not too bright. They've gone for the bare concrete here (as opposed to the other Tokyo craft beer bar staple decoration, lots of wood). There's a long counter for probably around 15 people and tables for maybe 30 more. Sorry, I didn't count the seats properly as I imagined I could get the information from tabelog, but it looks like they might not have updated that listing from the previous place yet. They serve a nice range of pub food if you're hungry. The place is no smoking and they have wifi.

There are 22 taps available, two of which were handpumps. The beer line up is dominated by their own stuff. Eight of the taps were their beer and these were generally served in two sizes 260ml and 470ml priced at ¥600-650 and ¥950-1100 respectively. Their stronger beer was priced in these same brackets, but available in 150ml and 300ml servings. There were a similar number of Japanese guests available in similar sizes but priced from ¥730-880 for the small and ¥1150-1400 for the large. Much much more expensive than most other bars. The taplist was rounded off with imports and these were even more expensive (¥830-930 and ¥1400-1500). I don't really understand why people are happy to pay these prices, but each to their own I guess. Their beer list is posted daily on their blog, so you can easily check what they have on before you go. 

So, pretty obvious what my gripe is. I just don't like feeling like I'm getting ripped off. But to be fair, their prices and serving sizes are clearly listed and there are no any extra hidden charges unlike in some bars. To look at the positives, the whole experience was much better than previous experiences I have had in the other bar and the old place. The service was good and if you can look beyond the prices, the selection of beers is decent enough (although not sure there's anything that you can't get anywhere else). Later in the evening though, there were a few things running out and nothing new coming on, but I guess this would be different at the weekend. I think they used to stay open really late in the old place, but this one has much more normal opening times. Although, they do have the magical afternoon/daytime opening! Not somewhere I think I'll be going particularly often, but it will definitely work for some.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Ushi Tora
Devil Craft
Yo Ho

Opening Hours:
Daily, 15:00-23:30


代田 6-3-27, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo



Ratebeer listing


ryanmarks said...


You should check out Honey Baked Ham in Kamiyacho. Their happy hour is 450 yen for pints of various Hitachinos, Brooklyn Lager, Blue Moon, etc. 5-7:30pm every day, it's one of the best deals I've found in Tokyo.


Tokyo Beer Drinker said...

Thanks for the comment Ryan and for the suggestion!

Steve said...

I confess to not understanding your reticence at this bar's management.
I have had many enjoyable evenings at Ushi Tora, going back to December 2006, where it was that I met Bryan Harrell, the author of Tokyo Brews News. Throw in December 2011, where the combination of a pathetic USD-JPY exchange rate {Go on - look it up.} and myself not bringing enough dollars to traffic amongst the area led me to seek venues that accepted a credit card (which Ushi Tora [I] included) had me appear here again. (Look up the hashtag #reprieve on Twitter for my contemporaneous Tweets then.)
I took so many photographs of the now abandoned grade-level crossing of the Odakyu trains that they were a key element of my presentation to the Central Electric Railfans' Association in May 2012. I always wound up here afterward.
Is Ushi Tora expensive? Maybe you feel so. I did not get that vibe.
Have you been to Cask & the Cask in Toshima-ku? Maybe that is a pub you would especially enjoy.

Tokyo Beer Drinker said...

Thanks for the comment Steve. I meant to make it clear in this post that I didn't have a problem this time. Different case at the other place though, on several occasions. And plenty of people I know have said the same. I'm pleased that it's not everyone though.
Yes, I've been to the Cat & Cask. I posted about it on here.
As for the expensive thing, it's undeniable. Nothing to do with vibes, just cold hard facts as listed on the menu. It's considerably more pricey that most other places.