From traditional sake to modern fusions such as Japanese craft beer, you won’t get the full experience of Japan unless you delve into the country’s drinking culture.
If you are staying in Tokyo and already on the mission to explore some hidden gems around the capital, this guide will point you to the best craft beer bars you ought to try.
1. Baird Beer Taprooms
Photo: Baird Brewing Company’s Instagram
Hailed as one of the titans of Japanese craft beer, Baird Beer has a total of 10 taprooms in Japan, of which four are spread out in Tokyo. The Harajuku Taproom is by far the favorite of many with its Japanese yakitori-izakaya (a Japanese bar selling grilled chicken on skewers) style.
2. Craft Beer Bar iBrew
Photo: iBrew Ginza’s Instagram
Want something cozy with a warm environment? Why not give iBrew a try? It is a small and charming craft beer bar. Serving a great selection of beers on taps, you can find your new favorites here.
Photo: Craftsman’s Facebook page
If what you’re looking for is a variety of strong and high-end (aka: expensive) Japanese craft beer, this bistro could be right for you. They serve 31 kinds of beer on tap along with a wide selection of bistro meals and charcuterie.
4. Goodbeer Faucets
Photo: Goodbeer Faucets
Nestled at the heart of bustling Shibuya is the cozy Goodbeer Faucets bar. They serve more than 40 kinds of beers on tap. Patrons frequent this bar not only for their draft beers but also for their ale and bottled beers as well.
5. Mikkeller Bar Tokyo
Photo: Mikkeller’s Facebook page
If you find yourself wandering the back streets of Shibuya, you might want to drop by this one-of-a-kind watering hole located just across a love hotel and a shrine. Famous to expats and tourists like yourself, some of their bartenders can speak and understand English, which means more convenience for you. The bar is currently serving 20 beers on taps from around the world and Japan.
Photo: Popeye’s FB page
No, this Ryogoku-based craft beer bar does not serve any spinach. At Popeye’s, you’ll find over 70 beers on tap. The staff is highly knowledgeable about the beer so you don’t have to worry about choosing from their Japanese, American, and British beer selections.
7. Shinshu Osake Mura
Photo: Shinshu Osake Mura
Shinshu Osake Mura can be literally translated to “Shinshu Alcohol Village.” Shinshu is the ancient name of Nagano—the major production area of Japanese booze. This is by far the cheapest craft beer bar you’ll find in Tokyo with a wide selection of different brews.
8. The Aldgate
Photo: The Aldgate’s FB page
Ideally located in Shibuya, some see the Aldgate as a pop-up haven for Brits nostalgic for home. Others see this as a hidden gem offering great Japanese craft beers. This bar will give you the best vibes with a great selection of British music and craft beers.
9. Two Dogs
Photo: Two Dog’s FB page
Roppongi might be famous for its clubs but if you’re looking for someplace to enjoy a pint in quiet, Two Dogs is a great choice. Founded by an American expat, you’ll find here English menus, great pizza, and a rotating selection of 24 craft beers.
10. Watering Hole
Photo: Watering Hole’s FB page
Watering Hole is the pioneering craft beer bar in Tokyo. Located in a quiet part of Shinjuku, it offers more than 21 choices of microbrews from Japan and around the world. One of the features that attract customers the most is their nano-brewery inside the bar.