Thursday, 16 March 2017

Ann's Craftbeer Cafe


Finally, this is part three of my Chitosekarasuyama round up. Part one was Beertoria Miagolare and part two was Novel Craft. After I’d tried to visit Ann's twice on a Wednesday, I discovered that their opening hours on their Facebook page were wrong and that I was not going to have much success going here on that day. Now you have all you need to plan a Chitosekarasuyama pub crawl. Just don’t try to do it on a Wednesday.

- Maybe the biggest out of the three Chitosekarasuyama places, but not by much. They have counter seating for maybe six and seats at tables for about twenty more. A substantial portion of the floor space is taken up by the kitchen so I’m guessing they are quite serious about their food. I only had some pickles though. They were nice.
- Ten taps of craft beer, (so the most in the area) split maybe 50/50 Japanese and imports. The Japanese selection had some stuff you don’t see around so often and was a decent selection I thought. The menu very clearly states serving size and price for each beer so all credit to them for doing that! Small size is 260ml and ranges from ¥670-900. The large size is 410ml and goes from ¥910-1300. Obviously, the imports are generally speaking towards the higher end of this scale. They also have a beer flight available. Four beers for ¥1400, the glasses being maybe 150ml. No cover charge.
- Was fairly bustling when we went early on a Saturday evening and it seems, once again, like a place that is popular with the locals. The staff were welcoming and helpful and the place is no smoking and has wifi. Another big selling point is that they are apparently open all day, all the time (apart from Wednesdays of course!), which would make it a real rarity.

Like the other two Chitosekarasuyama bars, it’s quite a nice place. I think the locals here are a bit spoiled, having three decent places to go to. Whilst there is maybe not so much to bring you here from a great distance, the fact that there are three places in close proximity means that lovers of pub crawls and the Keio line will find something worth making the trip for. I wouldn’t like to pick a favourite out of the three places, but I’d say that if you are looking for Japanese beers and a homely kind of atmosphere, Ann’s is the place. If you want imports and you like cats, go to Beerttoria. And if you’re a late night hip-and-smoky vibes kind of person then Novel Craft is the place for you.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Mojiko
Outsider
Baeren
Yamaguchi
Yagi

Opening Hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday 11:00-24:00
Sunday, 11:00-22:00
Closed Wednesday

Location/Map:
南烏山 5-32-6, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo



Telephone:
03-6313-9688
 
Links:
Facebook
Website

Twitter
Ratebeer listing

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Antenna America Shinagawa Atre


Today, a quick post on a fairly new place in the middle of a department store food court in Shinagawa. Antenna America have branched out from their base in Yokohama to open a small bar and bottle shop in Atre, attached to Shinagawa station. Thank you to Davido for visiting and sending me photos and information. I popped in this morning on the way back from renewing my visa to have a look myself, but not to get a beer as it was a bit early and I have to work this afternoon.

- In the middle of the shopping centre food court on the third floor of Atre, which is found on the east side of the station, outside the ticket barriers. If you are arriving on the train from a JR line, head for the East (Konan) exit and you’ll only need to go up one floor. It’s a little bit tricky to find the escalator, (it’s near the outside of the building if you need to know), so maybe easier to just take the lift after entering Atre/Isetan. Look for 'Food & Time Isetan'.
- Apparently eight taps, but only six were on at the time of the visit. Expect to find the usual Antenna America stuff that you normally see at the bar in Yokohama, perhaps veering a little towards the safer end of their product line. As you might expect, the list was heavy on IPAs, but that’s life now really, isn’t it? All beers on tap are ¥800 and the size is probably around 350ml, so the pricing is about what you’d expect. Also there is a selection of bottles and cans (see the picture below. Again, maybe not as exciting as at the main branch in Yokohama), which you can drink in or take away for around ¥500. Beware that all of these prices are before tax, so you’ll pay a little more at the register.


- As it’s in a food court, the setting is kind of different from how you might expect in a bar. There are six seats at the bar but other than that you need to get your beer and sit at one of the tables spread around. One benefit of it being in a food court is that you can get a variety of things to eat from the other outlets whilst you’re drinking. I have heard that it might be a little tricky to get served at quiet times as maybe they are not expecting people to be drinking in the daytime. But hang around and try to catch someone’s eye.
- No smoking and no cover charge. As I might have mentioned already, it’s in a food court.

As I am yet to drink here, I’ll go with what Davido said as a conclusion. This is not really a beer geek place. The atmosphere, as you might expect, is a little different from drinking in a bar. The prices are reasonable and it’s a good option if you have some time to kill at the station. Not sure it would really be a destination though, but it does the job as a meeting place before you head on somewhere else. Given the amount of people who work in the area, I imagine it gets busy when offices close with workers on their way home, but I guess if you want to drink US imports during the day and are not so bothered about a blistering hot atmosphere, this is a good place for you. There is wifi too apparently, so maybe it’s an option for people who need to get some ‘work’ done.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
None

Opening Hours:

Monday-Friday, 08:00-22:00
Saturday, Sunday & Holidays, 10:00-22:00

Location/Map:
 
アトレ品川 3F, 港南 2-18-1, Minato-ku, Tokyo

I'm guessing you don't need a directions map as it's attached to the station.

Telephone:
None
 

Links:
Website

Atre Website
Ratebeer listing

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Loose ends/various places

This will be a constantly updated post with brief descriptions of places that possibly deserve to be on here but which I have no time or inclination to visit. 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 & Dining DW - Yokohama
The 'taproom' of the Double Well brewery, taproom being in inverted commas as they don't seem to be brewing yet. When they do, this will probably warrant a full entry, but till then, it's a beer cafe with some decent selections, a little bit out of the way in Yokohama.
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Beer Republic The Grub - Ogikubo
The first Grub. I imagine it's pretty much like the Grub in Yoyogi Uehara, which was posted about here
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Berg - Shinjuku
Little food and drink place inside Shinjuku station in the basement of Lumine Est. Bit difficult to find and always seems busy and smoky, but usually has some good stuff on.
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Beerich Yeast - Kinshicho
Five taps of craft (two Yo-ho regulars and three Japanese guests). Occasionally have seen interesting stuff on here.
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Comme La Gueuze - Tamachi
Belgian dining place and bar with an averagely interesting selection but semi-high prices and a cover charge. As far as I can tell, not as exciting as I thought it would be from the name.
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Craft Beer & Wine U - Tachikawa
One of quite a few mysterious places in Tachikawa that I am unlikely to get to soon. Judging by untappd, they have a mix of Japanese craft and imports.
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Craft Beer House Kiwi - Takaido 
Bar in a bit of a dead area of the map with four taps of Japanese craft. Will add it if I ever get to it, as there's not many other beer places nearby.
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Dragonfly Beer Hall - Kiyosumishirakawa
Seems like another Baird franchise type place with six taps of Baird beer. Usefully, it's in an up and coming place with not much in the way of beer at the moment.
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Focusrite
Not the cheapest place by the looks of it! Four taps of fairly run of the mill craft, line-up listed on their website. Included only as it's in a pretty quiet area for beer.
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Good Sleep Baker - Setagaya
Maybe the first bakery on here. Three taps of decent Japanese craft. Will be interested to check this one out at some stage.
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I/R Second House - Shirokanedai
Kind of fancy restaurant-type place apparently, open during the day I believe and sometimes with interesting tap takeovers. Probably deserves a full write up, but I'm always a little intimidated by the fanciness and the fact that it's food focused.
Facebook

Mitsuya's Liquor - Asagaya
Nice bottle shop with a secret drinking area and a focus on imports. Probably deserves a full entry, but in the meantime it's on this post. Little to no web presence as far as I can tell.
Ratebeer listing

On The Marks - Kawasaki
Hotel with a Kyoto brewing permanent tap. Apparently opens in the daytime but have yet to confirm that. Heard it's a little pricy too.
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S-46 Beer Market - Chigasaki
Beer and dining type place with a heavy focus on Shonan beers and Italian food. Will visit when I get to Gold 'n Bub and add it if it deserves a full write up. 
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Screamin' Hop - Kanda
Four taps of US imports from various importers. I guess the theme is IPAs looking at the name and the selection I saw on the facebook.
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Spice Diner - Tameikesanno
A curry and craft beer place that is located in the heart of salaryman territory and not open at the weekend, so tough for me to get to.
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Station Cafe BASEL - Tachikawa
A station cafe that is confusingly in Tachikawa rather than Basel. Seems to have a semi-interesting line-up of beers judging by untappd, but looks much more of a cafe than a bar. Daytime opening I guess though.
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Sunday, 5 March 2017

Swan Lake Pub Edo Tamachi


Today a quick post about another Swan Lake Pub Edo in Tokyo, this time in Tamachi. The deal is pretty much the same as it is in the other Swan Lake places, I have already posted about. You can check the post on the original Pub Edo near Tokyo station here and the Yoyogi Uehara Cafe De Tete Pub Edo here. Tamachi is not an area I’m in very often so it has taken me a while to get here, but it’s finally done! Here are the details you need to know.

- Pretty small place, much more reminiscent of the Yaesu brach than the Uehara one. Found in an area of narrow streets with lots of pubs and restaurants nearby, north of Tamachi JR station. Seemed to have a mainly office worker crowd when we popped in early on a Friday evening. Lots of seats considering its small size. Apparently there is seating for 27 and this is spread between a few high tables for four and various small counters crammed into every nook and cranny. It’s an impressive feat that they could get so many seats in there. I would imagine if you are looking to visit on a Friday evening it might be worth booking in advance as it seemed quite popular.
- 18 taps of craft beer, but it’s likely that they won’t all be on. When we visited, there were a couple of guest beers on from Beer Hearn and Shiga Kogen and nine taps of Swan Lake stuff. It seems that they have five regulars on and a rotating cast of seasonals. Generally speaking, the Swan Lake beers are ¥650 for 250ml and ¥900 for 430ml. High alcohol and barrel-aged stuff is served in a smaller size (¥800 for 150ml). They also offer a tasting set for ¥1100, for which you get three 150ml glasses of your choice from their regular line up. Maybe not such an enticing offer to be honest. The prices of the guest beers are bafflingly expensive and this is something I have never quite been able to get to grips with about these places. They are ¥900 for 250ml and ¥1300 for 430ml.
- Thankfully they have a happy hour! Before 7pm on a weekday (including when they are open at lunchtime) and all day Saturday the prices are nicely discounted. The small glass is ¥500 and large ¥800, which are pretty good prices! The guest beers are ¥100 off too, bringing them a little closer to what you might play elsewhere, but still pretty expensive. If you are visiting, I would strongly suggest you do it during happy hour times and stick to the Swan Lake beers.
- Couple of other points of note. The bar is non-smoking which is nice. And there is a cover charge of ¥300 per person. However, this is not charged before 19:00 on weekdays and before 18:00 on the weekend, but you’ll pay it after those times.

A bit of a mixed bag. The prices during happy hour for their beers are pretty damn good and even when it’s not happy hour, their beers are a reasonable deal. However, the guests are crazily priced and there is that ¥300 cover charge which makes things even more expensive. If you went at 18:30 on a weekday and had a pint of Swan Lake beer you’d pay ¥800. If you went on the same day but an hour later and ordered a pint of guest beer (which are not particularly hard to find breweries and are available at plenty of Craft Beer Markets and the like), including the cover charge you would be paying double. It’s pretty hard to stomach that. But I did quite enjoy popping in at happy hour and the beer was nicer than I remember it being. Another plus point is their daytime opening, particularly on Saturday when they stay open throughout the day. During the week they close between lunch and their evening opening. As I’m not in the area particularly often, I’m not sure when I’ll be back there, but it is a nice place to grab a quick beer.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Swan Lake
Shiga Kogen
Beer Hearn/Herun (Shimane)

Opening Hours:
Monday-Friday, 11:30-14:00, 17:00-23:30
Saturday, 12:00-23:00
Closed Sunday and holidays

Location/Map:
芝5-21-15, Minato-ku, Tokyo



Telephone:
03-6453-7928
 

Links:
Facebook
Website

Twitter
Ratebeer listing

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Novel Craft


Novel Craft is the second of three craft beer places in Chitosekarasuyama that I'm going to put on here. The first was Beerttoria Miagolare and the next will be Ann's (but it was closed on the night I tried to tick all three of these off). I went there with some apprehension, as I'd heard it has a cover charge and it describes itself as being all about beer and beef tongue (half of which is not much good for me). It was a pleasant surprise though. Here are the details.

- Quite narrow room with a counter seating around eight and one other table for two as far as I could see. The decor feels quite fashionable, the place is a bit snazzy and they were playing kind of trendy music. The lighting is dimmed and it has a late night place vibe to it. And it is open till quite late, so if you are a night owl, this is the place for you.
- Six taps of craft beer, four of which were Japanese and two imports. The Japanese stuff was quite interesting, for example Barbaric (first time I've seen that on and it was very nice). Beer is served in three sizes, 200ml, 300ml and 600ml. Prices ranged from ¥500-650, ¥700-900 and ¥1350-1700 respectively. Once again, not the cheapest, especially when you consider there is a cover charge too.
- From opening till 20:00, they don't charge you a cover charge and you get a free appetizer. After that time though, you'll be paying ¥300. The staff were friendly and it was a nice experience, but unfortunately, (for me at least), it allows smoking.

I have to say, I liked it more than I had expected to. But, one big drawback for me would be the smoking. I was lucky that no-one was smoking when I was there, but this would make me think twice about visiting again. As has been the case with a few places I have been recently, the prices were a little on the high side. I would have thought that with the large amount of places around now, prices might be going down rather than up. But maybe the limited amount of craft beer drinkers is just getting spread thinner and consequently bars have to charge a bit more to stay in business. As you can probably guess, I'm not a businessman, so have no real insight, but it's not exactly the trend I might have been wishing for.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Barbaric
North Island
Ushi Tora
Marca

Opening Hours:
Wednesday-Monday, 18:00-02:00
Closed Tuesday

Location/Map:
南烏山 4-13-9, 2F, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo



Telephone: 
03-6689-0989 
 

Links:
Facebook

Ratebeer listing

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Beerttoria Miagolare


Today the first of three Chitosekarasuyama places. We're starting with the trickily named Beerttoria Miagolare and will follow up with Novel Craft and Ann's. Seems like there is good potential for a pub crawl here! I have friends who visit these places quite often so I thought it was time I got my finger out and went and put them on here.

- Beerttoria is a cat themed Italian-food-serving craft beer restaurant. It's a pretty bright place with cat decorations wherever you look. There is a counter for six and three other tables for four people. When I visited, there were what seemed like three regulars at the counter chatting away to the staff (who were very friendly). One of them was eating a pizza. I wish I'd had a pizza... Just going here for drinks is totally fine for them too though, which is nice! All in all, it felt like a really nice and comfortable place and I'm pretty sure I'll go back.
-  They had eight taps, but were serving only six beers when I was there. The beers were mostly imports and mostly from the US. They did have one tap of Kyoto on though, which was nice. Also they had a nice French cider too. All are served in three sizes, S (260ml), Glass (380ml) and Pint (470ml). Prices ranged from ¥700-1000, ¥900-1200 and ¥1050-1400. So maybe a little more than some other places but not as much as many of the places I've visited recently. They also have a fridge with some bottles and cans which started from ¥850. Tasting set available too. Three 120ml servings for ¥1000 which is alright by me. Beers were served in nice stemmed glassware.
- Pleasingly non-smoking. Also, there was no cover charge and tax was included so no unpleasant surprises at the end.

One thing I like as much as I like beer is pizza, so I think I'll definitely be going back here. Perhaps the beer selection wasn't exactly what I would be looking for, but there was a nice range of styles available. Also they list their beers on their facebook page and on their twitter, so you can always wait until you see something you want to drink and then visit. The place had a really nice feel to it, like a locals place but in a friendly and welcoming way, rather than a 'what are you doing here?' way. They open at lunch but close mid afternoon, so I'm guessing they expect to serve more food than beer at that time. My favourite in this area. So far...

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Kyoto

Opening Hours:
Daily, 10:00-14:00 & 17:00-01:30

Location/Map:
南烏山 6-5-7, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo



Telephone: 
03-6886-1053 
 

Links:
Facebook

Twitter
Ratebeer listing


Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Spicarbo


I have never really had any reason to go to Komae city, just before the Odakyu line crosses the Tama river until now. In an attempt to get some of this horrific backlog done, I decided to pay a quick visit to Spicarbo last week. If you're a fan of walking, this could be part of a Chofu area pub crawl with Twelve (post coming soon, when I've gone there...) and Chofu Beer Works. Here's what you need to know about Spicarbo.

- Nice looking place with a counter seating around 10 and a few tables for four at the back. It describes itself as a bar and grill and the kitchen is pretty big and open, so I'm guessing the food is an important part of its appeal. The front of the bar was open as it wasn't very cold on the day I visited and given that there are some ashtrays out front, I'm guessing that this is where the smokers go. I visited quite soon after opening, so I can't be sure, but I imagine that it's a locals place with a slightly sophisticated vibe.
- Eight taps of craft beer, about three quarters Japanese with a few imports. There wasn't a great deal of difference in the pricing between any of the beers. The sizes are half (300ml...) and pint (473ml). The prices ranged from ¥860-900 for the small and ¥1320-1400 for the large. So, you're not being particularly punished for drinking imports, but you are paying a fair bit more than you would in many other Tokyo places, particularly for Japanese craft beer. But, there's no cover charge and no tax added on at the end, so what you see on the menu is what you pay.

This was a nice place to have a drink and the fact that there's no cover charge is a bonus. But I think the prices would put me off coming here often. It fills in another area of the Tokyo Beer Drinker map which is nice and I can see that it must be a big plus if you live in the area. Their beer selection was quite interesting, (you don't see Songbird around too often), but I'm not sure I feel comfortable paying almost the same for a beer from Johana or Fukushima and a US import.

Japanese breweries seen on tap:
Shiga Kogen
Songbird
Johana
Shonan
Fukushima

Opening Hours:
Monday-Friday, 17:00-24:00
Saturday & Sunday, 12:30-24:00

Location/Map:
中和泉 1-2-10, Komae-shi, Tokyo



Telephone: 
03-5497-1677
 

Links:
Facebook
Website

Twitter
Ratebeer listing