Browsing articles tagged with " Bar"
Nov 29, 2012

Bar Genco: Prohibition-era moonshine. Well, JD

A new collaboration between Cosa Nostra group and Jack Daniels reeks of prohibition era moonshine—but this one is all above board. The new Bar Genco (1-4-1 Ebisu Nishi, Shibuya-ku; near Ebisu station provides all manner of cocktails made from—you guessed it—Jack Daniels Tennessee whiskey. Sit among their calm décor of black leather and red walls and sip libations like JD with fresh strawberry juice. Mafiosi in search of a simple life can order up their whiskey straight or on the rocks (¥700), while the more dapper dons can go for Gentleman Jack (¥900) or JD Single Barrel (¥1,200). The menu is suitably sour mashed with finger lickers like JD BBQ sauce-slathered roast-chicken salad (¥900), spare ribs (2-8 pieces, ¥600-¥2,400), and the JD burger (¥1,200).

Sep 20, 2012

Watering Hole: Home-brew heaven in Yoyogi

Japan’s homebrew hero Ichiri Fujiura and his wife Michiko Tsutsui, a former manager at Vivo, have pooled talents to bring thirsty Tokyoites a new addition to the jibiru circuit. Watering Hole promises a nice marriage of domestic and international selections, with big hitters such as Stone and BrewDog alongside local breweries like Isekedoya and Harvest Moon.

The nineteen taps—handmade by Fujiura—plus two hand-pumps mix creative choices and crowd-pleasers. Beer styles run the gamut from pilsner to barley wine, with something to satisfy every taste. Better yet, next year the couple’s adjacent brewery, Tharsis Ridge, will add its own craft beer to the lineup. Most pints run ¥1,000-1,300 yen; a better deal than the half-pints, which start at ¥750. The indecisive can spring for a beer flight for ¥1,000.

To start, I opted for Beer Buddy’s New Zealand IPA, a hoppily crisp beer that suited the weather perfectly. My partner went for Nihonkai Club’s Bohemian Style Pils, and ended up with a glorified Ebisu. Not bad, but not great. We quickly moved on, ready for something heavier. Epic Brewing’s Rio’s Rompin’ Rye and Ballast Point’s Tongue Buckler seemed to fit the bill.

At 10 percent ABV, many bars serve the latter in a smaller snifter or tulip glass. Watering Hole gives you a pint. This alters the flavor slightly, emphasizing the hops more than the sweetness, and it proved the favorite. Epic’s Rye, on the other hand, seemed heavier and cloudier than on a previous tasting. We asked if it was the bottom of the keg.

Let me tell you: this staff knows their stuff. We found out how long the keg had run, that it was from the middle, and that it was a live beer, accounting for the taste change. Even more impressive was the friendly, helpful manner of the answer. These are people who love their beer.

On our way to being sozzled, we deemed it an appropriate time for food. The menu is small but varied. The organic green salad (¥700) is fresh and generous, but the dressing underwhelming. We wished we’d ordered the sausage (¥600)— we salivated every time the sizzling platters went out. The fried hops (¥350) come with a warning on the menu—“bitter!!”—but the flavor is nuanced. They paired nicely with the heavier-bodied Rye; less so with the already complex Tongue Buckler.

Luckily for jibiru fans this bar lives up to its name, offering a good range served by helpful staff, and decent food alongside. Skip the water, and drink more beer.

Menu: Japanese & English
Price Range: Half-pints from ¥750; pints from ¥1,000
Smoking Rules: Nonsmoking seats available
Seating Tips: At the bar or by the window
Pros: Nice selection and good location
Cons: Over-priced half pints
Address: 5-26-5-103 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku
Tel: 03-6380-6115
Station: Yoyogi
Hours: Open daily 3-11:30pm

Aug 9, 2012

Craft Beer Market

By David Labi

Slurp through 30 types of beer at a vibrant, open-fronted bar in the Bohemian urban-suburbia of Jimbocho, courtesy of Craft Beer Market’s second branch. The first one in Toranomon has been such a success since opening last year that this new locale was unveiled a couple of months back to some media fanfare. Which perhaps explains why, when arriving there at 5pm, the entire place was booked out. We’d heard a reservation was recommended, but figured getting there early would be fine. Wrong.

We managed to wrangle a table for a limited two hours. That gave us an excuse to order practically everything on the menu in record time.

Most ales are Japanese, from Shikoku, Saitama, Kanagawa and more, with international wildcards thrown in. We kicked off with a Belgian cherry beer less sweet than its aroma, which layered the palate reasonably. Various other beers came and went, but none were particularly satisfying. The hoppy beers seemed too hoppy, while the fruity beers were too fruity or not fruity enough. Some were wonderful on the first sip, only to be scuppered by a bizarre aftertaste. We’re not craft connoisseurs, but it was quite difficult to find one that really worked. The victor was a Kanagawa yuzu beer. You couldn’t taste the yuzu but the ale was great.

The otoshi—tasty tostados of tuna salad—turned us onto the food menu, with assorted snacks and Japo-Mediterranean fusion. Pass over the paltry ham (half portion; ¥900) for the rotisserie chicken that revolves seductively above the shiny taps. A whole bird comes quartered for ¥1,600, with a lip-smacking flavor to its crispy skin. The skinny and herby chips (¥600) are abundant, dusted with chilli powder for some bite.

All this tucker couldn’t soak up the gallons o’ ale. At ¥480 a glass, it’s more economical to get pints for ¥780, but the desire to try kept us on the glasses. Plus most come only slightly chilled, and even a glass’s dregs could get a little soupy.

The place is smartly laid out with high, square wooden tables, bottles and kegs on display and a chalkboard beer map of Japan. But the best part is the Tokyo rarity of an open front that allows the summer breeze (if any) to float in. Smokers are confined to a small corner box, and there’s a small standing-only area.

In the end we were glad to be kicked out at 7:15pm, as a longer stay would have led to bankruptcy. The costs mount up as you’re chugging down the glasses, and the food, though generally respectable, is not cheap. All in all it was fun tasting a range of Japan’s craft beer, but gimmicky flavors might make you wish for a smaller, and better, selection.


[Menu] Menu in Japanese

[Price] Beer ¥480 (glass), ¥780 (pint)

[Smoking] Mostly nonsmoking

[Seats] Anywhere, but reserve!


1F, 2-11-15 Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku
Tel: 03-6272-5652
Open: Open daily 11:30am-2pm; 5-11:30pm
Nearest stn: Jimbocho
Jul 27, 2012
Francesco Agresti

Piano Bar My Scotch

By Jeff W. Richards

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and sometimes…not so much. Amidst all the glamour and clamor of the Roppongi streets, sometimes you just want a small bar that serves straightforward standards and doesn’t try to be your best friend—a place where it is comfortable to not talk, where you can eschew the editorial “we.” With most enticing street level signage ushering you into a land of cover charges, pricing systems and surcharges it’s easy to become cynical, and you can be forgiven for taking the words “happy hour” with a grain of salt.

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