Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Bucket HERE / Kakegawa Farm Brewing

[Quick update, they are now brewing their own beer under the name Kakegawa Farm Brewing. The brewery is quite close to this place and they seem to have a few of their own beers on so I'm also marking this as a brewery tap now. Check the facebook page for details]

Today, a brief post on a place in a city that was quite unfamiliar to me until last weekend. To be honest, I didn’t really see much of it either, apart from the inside of this bar. Before visiting, I thought it might be a bit of a stretch to add somewhere in Kakegawa, given that it doesn’t seem to really be on the tourist route, but Bucket Here won me over, so it gets an entry of its own. If you find yourself on the Kodama shinkansen, desperate for a beer, why not hop off, head here for a couple of hours and then resume your journey. I should acknowledge though that this is advice for people with much more enthusiasm and energy than me. In any case, it’s well worth a visit, especially if you’re in the area. Here’s what you need to know.

- Hugely spacious place if you compare it to the majority of places on this blog. Not a great deal of tables, but Bucket Here occupies the ground floor of a decent sized corner building no more than five minutes walk from the JR station. Modern looking decor with a counter for eight, three high tables for six each and then round the other side of the bar, a fancy sofa and a big bench seat that looked like it was made out of a tree trunk. Hip kind of Portland type feel to it, if that statement makes any kind of sense at all.
- Beers are a mixture of imports and Japanese craft split around 2/3 1/3 respectively. They are served in three slightly unconventional sizes, regular (390m), pint (500ml) and Mass (1000ml). Prices vary from beer to beer and range from ¥950-¥1100 (R), ¥1300-¥1500 (P) and ¥2500-¥2900 (M). Not sure quite how people manage a mass of some of the stronger or sourer beers on tap, but all power to them if they can do it. They also have a beer flight option, four beers of your choice, 125ml of each for ¥1400.
- Wifi, no smoking, no cover charge and some daytime opening. The things we tried from the food menu were very nice. They also seem to be quite into their coffee, so there’s even something for people who don’t like beer. Although what they are doing reading this blog, I don’t know, but welcome to them anyway.

Like I said, this was somewhere that won me over. There are only a couple of beer places in the city apparently and the Belgian beer bar was closed on Sunday so it was natural we ended up here. But I was very happy we did. There is also a brewery opening in the city soon so the possibility of a little scene starting. Apparently the staff sometimes close for beer trips to Tokyo or Nagoya, so it might be worth checking their facebook before you visit. This does show that they are very much into the stuff they’re selling though, which can only be a good thing. Sure, the prices look a little on the high side, but when you consider the unusual serving sizes and calculate the relative price, I think they’re pretty reasonable. It is also definitely the case that places in Tokyo have to be a lot more competitive price wise given the large amount of rival bars. And actually, I’m pretty sure some of the rarer imports are cheaper here than in similar places in Tokyo. So definitely worth popping in if you’re in the area and worth making a pit stop if you’re passing through.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:

Ise Kadoya

Opening Hours:

Monday-Thursday, 16:00-23:00

Friday, 16:00-24:00
Saturday, 14:00-24:00
Sunday, 14:00-22:00


肴町1-13, 蓮福寺ビル1F, Kakegawa-shi, Shizuoka-ken


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Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Sidewalk Stand Inokashira

Another quick post today, this time on Sidewalk Stand Inokashira. The original Sidewalk Stand in Nakameguro is already on my map but I didn’t think it justified a full entry as they beers weren’t so exciting so it’s on the digest post here. This branch makes it to full post status though, as the beer selection seems to always be excellent. I guess they like beer a bit more in this branch.

- Coffee shop, bakery and, of course, beer too. Definitely the emphasis is on the first two though. Counter area downstairs where you buy your stuff (couple of small tables there too), and then an upstairs area with views of the end of Inokashira park with seating for around 12.
- Three taps of beer from excellently selected breweries. All beers served in three sizes, half, 3/4 pint and pint at ¥600, ¥900 and ¥1000 respectively. I’m guessing these are US pint sizes, but I only had a half as they only had one tap on when I was there, so I can't be sure. Sorry! I went early on the Monday afternoon of a holiday weekend, so I guess that they might have sold a fair bit of beer during the previous two days.
- No smoking, no cover charge, tax included and pay as you go. They also have WiFi. Also open in the daytime every day.

All in all, a nice place to pop in for a quick beer. I don’t think they really expect you to settle down for a long session. They don’t seem to have any internet presence for this branch, which is a bit strange, so you take your chance a little when visiting with regards to number of taps on, but I think their opening hours are pretty consistent so they'll at least always be open. It’s nice to see that a place where beer is not the main concern is making the effort to put some decent stuff on. The excellent selection really makes the difference here.

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:

Shiga Kogen

Opening Hours:

Daily, 09:00-21:00


井の頭 3-31-15, Mitaka-shi, Tokyo


Facebook page (unofficial)
...and that's it!

Tuesday, 13 February 2018


This is the first of two posts on places that I feel deserve to be on here because of a somewhat interesting selling point. I’ll keep the posts fairly brief, as both places are not uniquely beer places, but are well worth popping in to. So, today, it’s Garageville. I’d never got off the train in Tsutsujigaoka before but I have passed through it on trips down the Keio line for football or visiting places for this blog. Seems that there are a lot of beer reasons to head west down this line now. Anyway, here’s what you need to know.

- Primarily a second-hand record shop with a wide variety of decently priced records. I went intending to pay a quick visit for a browse and a beer, but ended up buying four records. Three small sofas arranged in front of the record racks and, as you’d expect from a record shop, a nice stereo system playing interesting music.
- Beer is exclusively in bottles, from a variety of countries. There were quite a few British bottles, some US stuff, Germans, a few Belgians and a selection from both Hideji and Songbird (which is the big selling point for me as you don’t often see their beers in bars. At least I don’t anyway). All the Songbird and Hideji were priced at ¥1000 a bottle. They also serve other drinks, I saw wine and coffee. I should have paid more attention but I was focused on beer and records. Sorry.
- No smoking, no cover charge and tax was included in both the beer and record prices. They have a Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and I’d recommend checking on one of them for their opening hours as they seem to vary. But when they are open, there is an element of daytime opening if that’s your thing.

Think this is the third record shop with beer on here after Big Love and Small World, but the first second-hand record shop. I really enjoyed visiting this place and will definitely be back. Not sure if there’s anything else in the area, but it’s very close to the station, so pretty accessible even if you’re just passing through. 

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited: 
None, bottles only, but in bottle, Hideji and Songbird

Opening Hours:

Variable, but it seems they always post their hours on twitter, so check there before you go

西つつじヶ丘3-30-30, Chofu-shi, Tokyo

0424 985367

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