Ginza's crisscrossing avenues bathed
in neon light are a far cry from the dirt paths that once
led to the ale-brewing monasteries of Europe. But in Belgian
beer bar Favori, we found a spot that filled that centuries-long
gap and gave us a taste of Belgian beer served in its rightful
The huge oak door, with its small square hole with bars cut
into it, immediately conjured the image of an entrance to
an abbey, and once inside, we noticed that every piece of
furniture, from the elevated platforms on which tables sat
next to the counter, was made of wood. A resulting musky scent
floated throughout the premises, which we noticed as we approached
the bar to purchase our first round.
We decided to kick things off with a glass of draft Hoegaarden
(¥700) and a bottle of Chimay Red Trappist beer (¥1,050)
from the well-stocked refrigerator beside the counter. For
snacks, we ordered Favori's trademark mussels in white
wine sauce and handmade fries (¥1,300), along with goat
cheese toast (¥850). Taking our seats in a cozy corner
on another raised platform at the far end of the room, we
had to wriggle past a row of salarymen enjoying their nightly
drinking bout, as well as couples and trios of OLs sitting
in their own tight-fitting quarters beside us. Once seated,
though, we were able to comfortably enjoy the atmosphere,
which turned out to be a lot more boisterous than what we
imagined a monastery would be.
Deciding it was about time to venture into
the more unknown brands of bottled beer-some only available
in Tokyo at Favori-we next opted for Duvel golden ale
(¥1,250) and Maes Pils (¥1,000). A somewhat long line
had formed at the fridge, as both locals and commuters were
drawn by the bar's special first-anniversary discounts,
but our patience was rewarded by the smooth golden ale and
the quenching pilsner's strong aroma of hops.
We tasted Belgian beers well into the night, from Leffe Blonde
Abbey beer (¥1,100) and Timmermans Geuze Lambic (¥1,000)
to the mint-flavored, green-colored Miss Mint (¥1,000)
and the lavish and indulgent Chimay Premiere (¥2,100)-served
in a 750ml bottle and one of the least strong of the Chimay
Trappist beers. Unfortunately, most of our fellow patrons
had similar intentions, and Favori's crowds did not
thin out until the hour of the last train-but understandably
so, since the pub is the only one in the area specializing
in hard-to-find Belgian beer.
2-10-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku. Tel: 03-6226-6117.
Open Mon-Sat 5pm-2am, Sun and hols 4-11pm, closed every first
Sun. Nearest stn: Ginza-Itchome.
Photos courtesy of Favori
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