Friday, 13 March 2020

Le Shirakawa Yofune

Today a post about a place I stumbled on completely by accident on a recent trip to Nishiogikubo. I’m not sure if this place is at all well known. I can’t recall ever hearing about it but maybe that’s just me being out of touch. It’s funny, as before I went there I was lamenting the lack of craft beer places in Nishiogikubo. The Beer Kobo pub closed down and I was wondering why the other place I went to was no longer on my map. When I walked past and found it seems to now be a junk shop I guess I got my answer. Now there are so many beer places opening and closing that even the sad act of removing one from my map when it closes has become so commonplace that it is easily forgotten. I wonder perhaps if the current Coronavirus problems are going to give some more bars problems as people try to stay home. Obviously, if you are self-isolating, you’re not going to be going here soon, but you could at a later date. If you are still free and roaming, I’m sure there are a lot of places that could do with your custom right now. Anyway, here’s what you need to know.

- Medium sized pub/izakaya, tucked away a little off the street below a Mexican restaurant very near Nishiogikubo station. Funnily enough it was the Mexican restaurant that caught my eye and then I noticed I was standing next to the beer menu for this place. Inside behind the classy entrance blue curtain thingy, there are tables for maybe 20 and a counter for six. It felt like a place that is quite food focused but it was fine for me to just drink. There is a cover charge/otoshi of ¥300, but I was asked if I wanted it or not (perhaps as I had asked on entering if drinking only was ok). The master prepared something vegetarian for me and it was very nice! Their logo says craft beer and craft wine but I get the feeling that the food is also a big thing here. Sadly, I didn’t check the menu. Yeah, i know, I'm stupid. I was just thinking about the beer…
- 10 taps, but there were only seven taps of craft on when I was there. One was Malts and I guess the other two were not on. There was an interesting selection of Japanese breweries represented, with there being a few from Tohoku (and I did pick up a bit of a Tohoku theme going on) and one made just down the road by Oga (don’t think I’ve seen Oga on tap before but maybe I’m not going to the right places to find it). Generally speaking beers were served in two sizes, S (250ml) and L (450ml) priced at ¥700 for the S and ¥1100 for the L. The one exception was a Kyoto Brewing strong beer that was ¥800 for a ‘wine glass’. Bear in mind that tax is added at the end and you might have that otoshi too. In any case, the pricing is pretty reasonable I think. They had an Uchu bottle on the menu too if that's your kind of thing. Not sure if that was the only bottle available, but I didn’t spot any others mentioned anywhere else.
- No smoking, some daytime opening (for lunch, but closes mid afternoon).

I quite liked this place, and ended up staying longer than I had intended as I was supposed to be just popping in for a quick beer. The otoshi was really nice and I was very pleased I had it. Sometimes it’s a relief if I can actually eat the otoshi, so to have one that I actually enjoyed a lot was a very pleasant surprise. I thought the beer selection was pretty interesting too. It seems that they sometimes put their tap list on their Facebook page, but I’d say that you can probably rely on them having something good and interesting on, judging by my limited experience of one visit and a quick look at posted tap lists. I’d say I’ll be back there soon, but Nishiogikubo is a rarely visited area for me. But if you use the train, it’s not that far from Kichijoji and is very close to the station, so could easily be incorporated into some kind of Chuo line crawl if you're not bother by the otoshi. I used to talk about this pub crawl all the time and it used to pretty much mostly be Beer Kobo brewpubs, but I think now you could do it without visiting any of those, as there are interesting places near every station from Shinjuku to Kichijoji (and probably further if you did a bit of investigation). Regarding this place, it probably makes more sense to stay for a few though if you're paying for an otoshi. As I said, I don't know anything about the food, and as a vegetarian, it's almost certainly not good for me, but the considerate and helpful service makes me think that I would pop back if I were in the area. Cheers!

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:   
Y Market
Be Easy

Opening Hours:
Tuesday-Sunday, 11:30-15:00, 17:30-00:00
Closed Monday

西荻南 3-15-13 高梨ビル1F, Suginami-ku, Tokyo



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