Friday, 29 March 2019

Loose ends/various places Part 3

This is part three of what will be constantly updated posts with brief descriptions of places that possibly deserve to be on here but which I have either no time or inclination to visit. Part one is here, part two here and part four is here, or you can view all of them by clicking the digest tag, or just clicking here. I have tried various ways of keeping up to date with the crazy amount of places that are opening and have been struggling with deciding which places warrant including and which don't. This seems to be a reasonable way of dealing with them. They will remain on the map with a question mark as I can't vouch for any of these. The map will link to this post where places will be listed in alphabetical order with a short description and link which should give you some idea of what to expect and whether it's worth going to. There will be no tags, as that will just confuse matters I think. If I end up going to any of these places and they are worthy of a full write up, I'll remove them from here and make them a post of their own. Not everything on the backlog will be on here. This is mainly intended for what I imagine to be a bit less interesting but still worth mentioning places.

Beer Bar Festa - Shimokitazawa
Seems like it has eleven taps of Japanese craft and imports. No idea on prices or sizes. I have so little information on this place, this post is almost pointless…
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Beer Bar Hangout - Ogikubo
A pretty different place to many on this blog. Quite dingy basement bar with eight taps, most of which were Japanese craft. Some unusual breweries available. Smoky, and cramped with quite an old feel to it, but also quite fun. Fridge full of world beer bottles, but mainly macro stuff. I visited here, but maybe as it feels like more of a bar with craft beer rather than a craft beer bar, it will only make it on to this digest post rather than get a full write up. Beers were around ¥650 for a reasonable sized half. Interesting… Check out the missing letters on the outside signage. Lovely stuff!
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Beer Bar Jan - Yotsuya
Five taps which seem to be taken from the more common end of Japanese craft. Snazzy looking place with plenty of wood judging by the Facebook photos. Strangely they don’t have their address on the Facebook page, which is an interesting ploy. Seems a little pricey, but I don’t know their serving sizes.
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Beer Bar Marumaru Okachimachi - Ueno/Okachimachi
It’s a beer bar, but on facebook it’s down as a Spanish restaurant, so I think we can guess that they do Spanish food. If not, they’ve made a big error somewhere along the line. Seems to have around 10 taps and seems reasonably priced. Hmmmm.
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Beer Glass Hopper - Mizuhodai
Don’t really understand the name to be honest. Beer bar with five taps of Japanese and imported craft. No idea about the prices, no idea what kind of bar it is, but the beers looked quite interesting.
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Blocks - Nakano
Beer wise, seems to be connected to the Vector chain as they have their brews, but seems to get some other stuff in too including imports in their 9 taps of craft. Weirdly, I don’t think I know anyone who has ever been here, which probably says something. [Check comments below for something from someone who has been there]
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Brewpub Ergo Bibamus - Yokohama
Seems like another brewpub that doesn’t brew yet. Facebook pictures suggests that they have the kit but maybe not the license, as there are none of their beers on their menus. Mix of Japanese craft and imports. I’ll probably wait till they’re brewing to visit, but as it’s a pretty good location between Bashamichi and Nihonodori stations, maybe I’ll pop in earlier if I’m in the area. Seem to sometimes have irregular closing, so best to check the monthly calendar photo they post on facebook.
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Cafe Maison de K - Kuhombutsu
Belgian cafe and restaurant which seems to get some interesting stuff on tap and has a fridge of bottles I can’t make out from the photo. These places are never the cheapest and to be honest, I haven’t got a clue about the possible price range, but it looks like an interesting place and given my predilection for most things Belgian, I should probably head here soon.
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Cosugi Lodge - Musashi Kosugi
'Hip' restaurant in the bottom of one of a couple of new towers in Musashi Kosugi. Probably of limited interest. Five taps of pretty run of the mill stuff. No idea about prices, and to be honest, I’d much rather go to McCanns but if you’re a bit more sophisticated, maybe this is for you.
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Craftbeer Gau’s - Shibuya
Fairly small second floor bar on Kamiyama street in Shibuya. Beer selection seems reasonable. Five taps which are sometimes Japanese and sometimes imported. Prices are consistently expensive though. Tax added after too and after 23:00 there’s a cover charge. Open very late, but jeez, you’re paying for the privilege.
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Craft Beer Te’s - Fujigaoka
Got to imagine that the location means that I’ll never go there. Looks like a decent enough place if you live in the area or are passing through with their facebook showing some nice beers, but also, (in my opinion), some stinkers. Seems a bit of a hike from the station too.
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Craft Kunita-chika - Kunitachi
Doesn’t look the most exciting place. Around 10 taps of pretty run of the mill Japanese craft. Prices look reasonable but there’s no mention of glass size. Like their logo quite a lot though and they have a pun in their name.
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Gambrinus Roppongi - Roppongi
This one is a real mystery. I don’t think anyone ever expected the small Kokubunji bar Gambrinus to expand into one of the most expensive areas of Tokyo. Still not sure how strong the connection is to be honest, but much like Ninkasi, this place shares the same branding and logo. Theme is tempura and craft beer. Plenty of taps, I counted 18 on their online menu, which seems to be published on their website and their facebook. Seems quite fancy.
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Garage - Kamakura & Fujisawa
Craft beer and American food apparently. Both branches seem pretty similar. Seem to have around six taps of craft with a mix of Japanese and imports. No idea about prices or sizes. Post on Facebook mainly about the food so maybe that’s their focus.
Kamakura Garage Facebook
Fujisawa Garage Facebook

GGC - Kawasaki
The GGC stands for Great German Cook. This is apparently mainly a German style restaurant with absolutely loads of taps of German beer on. They have a pdf of their beer menu that you can download from their facebook page. I don’t really understand the pricing though. But then again, if you want to drink lots of German beers in Japan, you’re probably not that bothered about the cost anyway. Would be interesting to try this place out sometime.
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iBeer Le Sun Palm - Kawasaki
iBeer Le Sun Palm - Shinjuku
iBeer Le Sun Palm - Chiba
iBeer Le Sun Palm - Futagotamagawa

Le Sun Palm - Shibuya Mark City
I’m going to take a leap of faith here and guess that all of these bars are quite like the Shibuya Hikarie iBeer Le Sun Palm I posted about here. Given that the theme seems to be young lady friendly bars in shopping centres, I can’t see that they’d be that different. Was quite surprised to find out that they had so many branches. Guess they’re doing ok! Try not to misinterpret their ‘Girls! Beers! Ambitious!’ slogan. I think it's who they are trying to attract, rather something that is on offer.
Pretty useless website

Isana Brewing - Haijima
Another west Tokyo brewery but this one seems to have a bit more of an established taproom. I saw seats and tables in Facebook photos. Ten taps and servings in three sizes. Not sure if all ten taps are their beers though. Will have to check this place out.
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Jingle Beer & Dining - Yokohama
Seems reasonably priced, focused on local Kanagawa breweries, but perhaps not ultra exciting stuff. Consequently, this is an uninspiring write-up.
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Mimpi Manis - Shin-Nakano
Your guess is as good as mine. Facebook says it’s a beer shop, google an izakaya and the hashtags say a beer bar. A combination of all of those perhaps. Nearer to Shin-Nakano on the Marunouchi line than Nakano JR. Looks like it gets some interesting beers, but no idea on how many taps or prices.
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Mountain River Brewery - Kugayama
Another new brewery, and this one appears to have a very relaxed kind of taproom with very limited opening hours, I think usually only Saturday afternoon. They call it ‘beer takeaway’ and it seems to be in plastic cups, so I’m not sure you’re supposed to hang around long. Intriguing…
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Mukuraf - Morishita
Craft beer and dark roast coffee is the tagline on the website. Looks like a nice place with a cafe feel. Lots of daytime opening but not sure about beer prices or sizes or number of taps. On Untappd it looks like they have some reasonably interesting beers though.
Website

My TaBReW - Tachikawa
Think the name is supposed to be a pun on My Table and Brew. Works better in Japanese I suppose. 10 taps with some interesting stuff on from local breweries. Have heard some complimentary things about this place but have still yet to go there. There’s quite a few places I haven’t been in Tachikawa to be honest, but this is probably top of my hit list.
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Octone - Minakami
Newish brewery out in the mountains in Gunma. Eight taps of their own beers available. Pricing looks good too. You just have to get there, I suppose. Will get a full write up when I manage to get there. Check facebook for their current opening hours as I believe they might vary.
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Oga Brewing - Mitaka
From the Facebook page looks quite spacious. Eight taps which seem to have some of their beers, some Japanese craft and some imports. No idea about prices, sizes or quality. Really need to get up to speed with some of these new breweries... Think there is a connection to Drunk Bat but not sure what it is.
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Ottotto - Hamamatsucho
Not sure about these places. There are a few and thus far I’m only adding this one, which is the main brewery I think. Seems like there’s a huge amount of money behind it. Saw it advertised on a Yamanote line train. The Japan Beer Times article about it seemed to suggest that they were trying to make beers that wouldn’t distract you from your food. Whilst I get what they’re saying, it’s not exactly making the beers sound very interesting. Intend to go at some stage, but until then, it’ll remain on this digest post.
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Platinum Fish - Kawasaki & Shinbashi
Seems like a big company with loads of restaurants but also seems like the beeriness varies quite dramatically between branches. The two most interesting look like the Shinbashi branch and the Kawasaki branch, so these are the only ones I’m listing on here, but check their website if you’re interested in the others. Can’t really get an idea of beers or prices from their website though. Have heard that the Kawasaki branch has a bottle shop too so am going to try to check that one out soon.
Kawasaki website
Shinbashi website

Rudy Brew - Kamakura
Newish bar in Kamakura that took over from another craft beer bar that I never managed to get to before it closed, (Xrosk). Eight taps with a mix of imports and domestic craft. Seems to have a ska theme which I guess is becoming a thing here. (Riot Beer has a bit of ska going on)
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Shared Brewery - Hachioji

I think I can guess what the deal is here from the name, but won’t speculate. Seems to have four taps of beer available, presumably made at the brewery. Very limited opening hours, so best check their Facebook or website before heading there.
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Shiki Beer - Shiki
A Saitama brewery’s taproom and consequently not the easiest place to get to. Have found their beers interesting when I’ve tried them. Quite curious opening hours, so beware. Seem to have six taps available.
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Shishi Bone 2 - Ichikawa
The original Shishi Bone in Koiwa was summed up in digest post 2 here. This one is out of Tokyo in Ichikawa in Chiba, but that’s still pretty close. This time the focus seems to be on burgers. Flicking through facebook posts, the four taps seem to always have Ushitora on, which for me would be a reason not to bother going, but in the interests of fairness and given that the other branch looks good, I’ll put it on here.
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Takao Beer - Hachioji
Quite a way from the nearest station. This is the brewery and there is a bottle shop but not sure if drinking on site is available. You probably need a car to get here and then you wouldn’t be able to drink anyway I guess.
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The Life - Kashiwa
‘By Marche Baton’! Whatever that means. Presumably that there’s some money and a big company behind this. Big daytime opening as it’s a ‘cafe, lunch, beer pub, party, meeting’ place. Looks quite nice from the facebook pictures. 10 taps of imports and Japanese craft (with local-ish brewery Loco represented). Prices seem to be as you’d expect. Rooftop terrace too apparently. Don’t seem to post much about the beer on facebook so read into that what you want.
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Tokaido Beer Kawasaki - Kawasaki

Will get a full write up asap. Fairly small place apparently. New brewery by the guy who used to run Kazakami. This place has investment from Kawasaki local government I've heard, so it will probably be a bit fancy. Certainly looks so from the Facebook pictures.
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Towers - Tsukishima
Was a much loved standing bar near Tokyo station until it closed and moved to somewhere a lot less convenient. Now seems to have seats and six taps of Japanese craft.
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Tullamore - Yoyogi Hachiman
Irish pub with a couple of taps of Japanese craft beer to go along with the usual Guinness and Murphys. Classic ‘Irish pub’ decor and feel. It's near my house, so it gets a special pass to be on here. To be honest though, have only been once, so maybe that says something.
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26k Brewing - Musashi Sakai
Describe themselves as a 'super micro brewery'. Don’t know anyone who has been here, which is a bit unusual. Like their logo a lot. Quite strange opening hours make me wonder what kind of operation this is. I’m guessing you can drink on site, but them opening at 9:00am confuses the matter. Will update if I find out any more info.
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Two Dogs Taproom - Roppongi
This is a place that probably deserves its own entry, but which I haven’t given one to for a few reasons, some of which I’ll keep to myself, but one of which was an email from someone ‘recommending’ the place to me as a great bar who neglected to mention that they were one of the owners. Lots of taps with menu descriptions cut and pasted from ratebeer seemingly without actually checking what the rating says with sometimes hilarious consequences. It’s in Roppongi and feels like it, which is great for some, but for me always means I’m less likely to visit.
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Sunday, 24 March 2019

The Slop Shop


Let me start this post with an apology. Sorry this post isn't very good. Firstly, the photo isn't a good one but that's not entirely my fault. There was some construction going on when I visited. Best look out for those distinctive doors to find this place. Secondly, I probably should have made some better notes or written things up a bit quicker as between visiting and writing this, there has been a certain amount of slippage regarding the details. I'll do my best to communicate what I can remember, but if you visit and find something I've said very wrong or if I've missed something important, please let me know and I'll update. Enough with the apologetic preamble. The intriguingly named Slop Shop is a new bottle shop and bar halfway between Toritsudaigaku and Jiyugaoka stations on the Toyoko Line. There's plenty of bottles and cans to drink on site or take away. Here's what (I can remember and think) you need to know.

- Pretty new place (you could still smell the recent paint job when I visited), with plenty of concrete. One side is filled with fridges and on the other there's a small counter where you can stand and drink your beer. Behind the main counter there are some taps too.
- They have (I think), four fridges full of bottles and cans, dominated by imports, mainly US but with some European stuff and a healthy Belgian selection. There are five taps of beer, which seemed to be served in one size (I'd say something round about 350ml, in that Belgian tulip/bulb style glass). Three of the taps were Japanese and two imports. Prices ranged from ¥800-¥900. The bottle and can prices seemed pretty regular. To take away you pay the price on the label. To drink in, there is a corkage charge. I only briefly glimpsed the sign on the way out but I think it said that it's ¥200 corkage below 500ml and ¥400 over 500ml. Please correct me if I'm wrong on this. 

Other than what I've mentioned there's no so much else to say. There's no cover charge, I think it's non-smoking (I'd be really surprised if it wasn't) and they have a lot of daytime opening. It does close pretty early though, so it's not really somewhere you're going to be settling in for a long session. The lack of seating would also probably contribute to this. The selection of beers included plenty of interesting stuff and the staff seemed to be interested and willing to help. It's not so far from the station and must be a real boon if you live nearby. They seem to sometimes post their taplist and new arrivals on facebook so check there if you're interested. I haven't been to many of the more established bottle shops recently so can't really comment on whether their selection is vastly diffierent or superior to these other places but there were plenty of things that I fancied drinking, which always works for me! And it's nice to see a new place in a relatively beer-free area that is trying something a little different from the many very similar places that have appeared recently.

Japanese breweries seen on tap: 
Hop Kotan
Be Easy
Far Yeast 

Opening Hours: 
Monday-Friday, 15:00-21:00
Saturday, Sunday & holidays, 11:00-21:00

Location/Map:

中根2-5-10, Meguro-ku, Tokyo



Telephone: 

03-6421-3116

Links:
Facebook

Website
Twitter

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Coaster Craft Beer & Kitchen


Today a quick post on a bar that seemed to appear without me realising. It's strange, as I walk along this road quite a lot but I guess that I probably haven't recently, and perhaps a recent break in boozing has compounded that. But here it is anyway, a new beer bar in Shimokita, a lively area that probably still lacks a really good beer bar. Sure there are a few others and one particularly big name, but I think I've probably made it clear that I'm not that keen on Ushitora, which is loved by many, but which I find to be hugely overrated. Whether, with the arrival of Coaster, we can now say that Shimokita has its own great beer bar is still up for debate. However, Coaster does seem to be offering something a little different to the other places in the local area. Here's what you need to know.

- Trendy decor, something like the Mikkeller bar, but with a bit more of an American influence thrown in. Can't really put my finger on why I think this though. Lots of bare concrete and wood. Big and high communal table in front of the bar. Seats for five or so at the counter. A few smaller tables and some bench and sofa areas. There are also some standing tables in quite an open area by the door. Perhaps this was what was making me think of Mikkeller. Big kitchen area at the back where they seem to make some nice looking food.
- Beers served in two sizes, and I think they were US pint and half. Prices didn't vary that much between imports and domestic beers, and surprisingly, one of the cheapest beers available was actually an import. 15 taps, about 2/3 imported and 1/3 Japanese. The Japanese selections weren't the most exciting, but I realise that this is all a matter of opinion anyway. The imports were split 50/50 between European and US beers. Prices ranged from ¥600-¥850 for the smaller size and ¥1100-¥1400 for the larger. Unbelievably, much like at the Ol Tokyo bar, the Oslo brewing beers were the most expensive. I have no idea who's buying their beers at these prices. I know Norway is an expensive country, but there's a distinct lack of 'cost performance' for their beers I find. So, it's not cheap, but the space is quite large and it's in an expensive neighbourhood I guess. 
- No smoking, no cover charge and wifi. Oh, and also power outlets too. Whether there is daytime opening or not, who knows? Their Facebook page doesn't have hours (edit: IT DOES NOW, AND THERE IS PLENTY OF DAYTIME OPENING), and the website seems to just be a page of links to the Facebook and Twitter. Guess it's a work in progress, but I'd say they should probably publish their hours somewhere as at the moment it's all guess work and I'd imagine that doesn't exactly encourage floating voters.

So, it's a little expensive, but prices have been creeping up everywhere recently and the location and space are not cheap, I'd guess. They are a little outside the main Shimokita shopping area, but not far enough to put off thirsty customers. But I would imagine that they don't get as many people walking past and stumbling on them as they would if they were nearer the station. I wonder if the fact that they have Oslo brewing beers on means there is some connection to Ol Tokyo. I'm not sure Oslo beers are worthy of the super high prices and I'm not sure that it's a brewery people particularly seek out. If their concept is 1/3 European, 1/3 US and 1/3 Japanese, I quite like it! Just wish the Japanese beers were a bit more interesting, but once again, this is just my personal taste.
If they start publishing their taplist, I'm sure they'll get plenty of interest in this area. I also feel that perhaps I'm not really their target audience. The place feels fashionable, vibrant and airy. I am unfashionable, lethargic and musty. But good luck to them. Hopefully I can pop back soon.

Japanese breweries seen on tap: 
Brimmer
Baird
Ushitora
Distant Shores

Opening Hours:
Daily, 12:00-24:00


Location/Map:

代沢 5-19-13, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo



Telephone:  
03-5787-6397  

Links:
Facebook

Website
Twitter

Friday, 1 March 2019

Monkey Wrench


A quick post today on a Kawasaki bar that serves Kawasaki brewed beers. Monkey Wrench is a short hop from the north exit of Mukogaokayuen station on the Odakyu line. Apparently, the building it is in is due for redevelopment sometime in the future, so if you want to visit I wouldn't hang around. Not saying it will be soon, but better to go sooner rather than later. There's not much on the Tokyo Beer Drinker map in this area and it's probably an area that people might pass through rather than stop at, but it's always nice to have another station on the Odakyu with a beer bar and always nice to have somewhere else to drink TKBrewing beers. Here's what you need to know.

- Medium sized bar that feels quite spacious considering the amount of seats. Counter seating for four, a similar counter along the front window and tables for around 10. The two interests of the bar (aside from beer of course) seem to be motorcycling (I'm almost certain this is not what people who are into it call it), and punk (see the Black Flag poster and the guitar in the corner). They have concerts there sometimes. Check their facebook for dates and details.
- Six taps of Kawasaki beer. Judging from their previous tap lineups, this seems to be four taps of Brimmer (their usual three regulars and one seasonal) and two ever changing taps of TKBrewing. Beers served in two sizes, US pint and half. The Brimmer regulars are ¥900 and ¥600 respectively and the seasonal Brimmer and one of the TK's were ¥950 and ¥650. The other TK was a touch more expensive at ¥1000 and ¥700. They do a beer flight featuring all of the taps for ¥1500. Not sure about the size though. The tap list is intermittently posted on their facebook, but I guess we know what three of the taps are anyway (Brimmer Pale, Golden and Porter).
- They serve food which I didn't look too much at it (sorry), but the couple of items I had were typical Japanese pub snacks and were very nice. They have some daytime opening at the weekend, there's no cover charge and there's wifi. Unfortunately however, smoking is allowed, which will be a big turn off for some.

So that's about it. It's a godsend if you live in the area I'd imagine, but perhaps a little of the beaten track for much passing trade. Although there are now a lot of places on the Odakyu line and I heard that there will soon be an Odakyu day pass ticket, so maybe an Odakyu pub crawl will be an option soon. It's also pretty close to Moonlight, although I haven't been there for ages so can't really comment on it now. The pricing is decent, and it's really nice to see TKBrewing available in another location. I always really enjoy their beers.

Japanese breweries seen on tap: 
Brimmer
TKBrewing

Opening Hours:
Monday-Friday, 17:00-00:00

Saturday & Sunday, 15:00-00:00

Location/Map:

登戸 2130 サンフラワービル 2F, Tama-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa-ken



Telephone:  
044-712-3969 
 

Links:
Facebook