Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Beer Cafe Gambrinus

Another one a bit out of central Toyko, but once again worth the trip. The Chuo/Sobu lines seem to have a lot of good bars along their length. So, Gambrinus in Kokubunji. We combined our visit with a bit of record shopping in the area and got to Gambrinus shortly after opening time. It's a good thing that we did, as there was a large group booked in, and the place is quite cosy. There is seating for about 5 at the bar where we ended up, and table seating for maybe another 15, maybe a few more, so once again it is quite a small place, but this is quite normal for Tokyo. The decor is modern, but comfortable. When we were there they were playing modern rock music at an unobtrusive level. It was a pretty nice drinking experience, and the food we had was nice too.
So, onto the beers. There are 12 taps and one hand pump, the majority of which are Japanese micros. They have one import which seems to vary between Belgian, German and Czech. The beers are served in a wide range of sizes. They have the regular small (284ml), regular (420ml) and large (568ml), so you are catered for if you like your pints UK or US size. They also have a smaller taster size and an extra large too. There is a formula on the menu for working out the prices of these. Dealing with the general sizes, the prices are fairly standard for Tokyo. One thing I do like though is that they don't massively increase prices for higher alcohol beers like some places do. I think my pint of Minoh imperial stout here was the cheapest I have seen (apart from in the brewery's bars in Osaka). Small sizes range from ¥700-¥750, regular from ¥900-¥950 and large from ¥1200-¥1300. Naturally the imports are a bit more, but to be honest I was much more interested in the Japanese beers.
All in all, a nice neighbourhood beer bar. If you are in the area it is definitely worth checking out, and another place that would be good for a Chuo line pub crawl as it is really close to the station. They regularly update their website with their tap lists and seem fairly accommodating if you arrive and the place is full. There is a small standing area near the front door where you can have a drink whilst you wait for a table. Good selection of interesting beers and nice food, so well worth it.

Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Bayern Meister
Shiga Kogen
Beer Buddy
Sankt Gallen
Swan Lake

Opening Hours:
17.00 - 02.00, Monday to Saturday. Closed Sunday, the first Monday of the month, and public holidays

第46東京ビル 6F, 南町 3-16-5, Kokubunji, Tokyo 185-0021

From Kokubunji station, leave via the South exit. You will find yourself on a small square with 5 roads leading off of it. You need to take the second road from the right, so not the one the runs next to the station, but the next one anti-clockwise. Gambrinus is on the 6th floor of the second building down this street. There is a small entrance with a lift where they have a sign (see the picture above), so look out for it. If you get to the next street you have gone too far. 



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