Have you heard? Monday, August 4 is Beer Hall Day at The Dubliners’ Irish Pub. What is Beer Hall Day, you might ask? For one day only, pints of draft beer will be sold for just ¥500. At which branch? All six of ’em! And if you can’t wait until then, stop by any of the locations (in Shibuya, Shinjuku, Akasaka, Shinagawa, Toranomon or Ikebukuro) between July 28 and August 3, and for every pint you drink, receive a ¥100 discount ticket redeemable on or after August 5.
It’s easy to grow tired of visiting the same Roppongi watering holes week after week. Opened last month, Zero Bar (1F Roppongi 410 Bldg, 4-10-5 Roppongi, Minato-ku; 03-5775-0100; www.zerobar.jp) promises something fresh—and refreshing. This new champagne bar just steps from the Tokyo Midtown complex offers a selection of over 100 bottles of bubby and wine. The small-ish space is dimly lit, with a wood counter and comfy low-back bar stools and the drinks illuminated under red lights. To find it, look for the number “0” in the bar’s ground-level window.
Up for some live jazz, pops, bossa nova, samba or chanson from leading Japanese musicians? At Boston Dreams (B1 Roppongi Five Bldg, 5-18-20 Roppongi, Minato-ku; 03-3583-3988), just off Gaien-Higashi Dori, you can enjoy three sets of live music (7:40-11pm) six days a week. Stop by during happy hour (5:30-7:30pm) and pay ¥1,000 for two drinks and popcorn, with additional drinks just ¥500. Entry starts at just ¥3,000, but mention Metropolis and get in for half-price. BJM
by Steve Trautlein
German Farm Grill
Enjoy country cooking and excellent beers at this Shibuya
A recent foray to Belgo beer bar whetted
our appetite for European brews, so we headed over to German
Farm Grill on the other side of Shibuya station for more of
the same. What we found was another first-rate pub serving
rare Continental beers in friendly surroundings.
Like Belgo, German Farm Grill has an interior thats
short on designer furniture but long on charm. Wood benches
and seats, stained glass windows, and an actual working fireplace
give the space a relaxed, old-world feel. And though the bar
is reasonably large, theres not always enough room for
the crowd it attractsan earlier attempt to visit at
the end of December was unsuccessful because a bonenkai was
practically spilling out onto the street.
On a recent spring Wednesday, too, the place was hopping by
8pm, with a mixture of couples, groups of salarymen, and the
odd foreigner peppered about. The staff, suitably young and
hip for this neighborhood, proved to be extremely knowledgeable
about the menus unusual beers, and gladly guided the
uninitiated through the list. White-robed chefs hustled between
the kitchen and an elf-sized storage cubby under the stairs,
from where they emerged with leeks, fish, and other culinary
In the mood for something dark and heavy while browsing the
bars extensive menu, we chose the Spaten Optimator (¥913)
draft, even though it sounded less like a beer than an Arnold
Schwarznegger movie. Luckily it was a lot more palatable than
Arnies recent efforts, though its body was just as sturdy
and, with 7.2 percent alcohol, it packed a Schwarzneggerian
kick. Bottled beers on offer include Flensburger (pilsner,
dunkel and weizen varieties, all ¥997), Paulaner Roggen
(¥1,575), and the delightfully named Klosterbrau Bockbier
Hell (¥1,365). We also spied some Saranac, a brew that
hails from our neck of the woods in the Northeast US.
Turning to the food menu, we discovered just what separates
German Farm Grill from its Belgian cousin: gourmet country
cooking that features seasonal ingredients. White asparagus,
for instance, shows up in both a cream soup (¥1,870) and
a terrine with potato and coulis de tomate (¥3,360). On
a previous visit we enjoyed the only authentic pretzel weve
had in Japan (¥400), and we then tried to choose from
the page-long list of sausages (around ¥700-¥900).
We decided not to decide and ordered the assortment (¥2,583),
which came with four varieties, sauerkraut and German potatoes.
Though they arrived on a sizzling skillet, the top half of
the sausages were disagreeably cool, but they were all delicious
and the accompanying mustard was wonderfully spicy. We washed
the meal down with a Spaten Premiumbock (¥1,260), a lighter-bodied
alternative to the Optimator.
Its good to know that whichever side of Shibuya we wind
up on, theres an inviting bar with a congenial crowd
and an interesting menu. We just have to remember to stop
sampling all the wonderful beers while we still remember where
that station is.
8-1 Shisencho, Shibuya-ku. Tel:
03-5457-2871. Open Mon-Fri 11:30am-3pm & 5:30pm-4:30am,
Sat-Sun 5:30pm-4:30am. Nearest stn: Shibuya or Shinsen (Inokashira
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