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 David Hickey
Experience the finest of Belgian
craft at this after-work hang out in Daimon
|Photos by Jorge LarraÑaga
Thrill-seekers after a beverage Bruges-style have several
choices in Tokyo, but Agoo is the only bar showcasing the
diversity of Belgian beers in that little-known business district
between Shinbashi, Roppongi and Shinagawa known as Daimon.
Nestling but a stones throw from that ode to steel,
Tokyo Tower, and round the corner from the sanguine Zojoji
temple, with its vermilion-lacquered Main Gate that has dodged
air raids, sidestepped fires and sweet-talked its way out
of anti-Buddhist temple sackings, Agoo caters to the post-work
business crowd and then some.
They have good reason to come. For the small, one-room Agoo,
a brisk ten-minute walk from Hamamatsucho station, eschews
the mainstream in favor of Trappist and Abbey ales, golden
orange Saison beers with a well-worn country hue, and Lambic
beers made from spontaneous fermentation. Fortunately, Agoos
enthusiasm for Belgiums finest is headily infectious.
Bar owner Takano-san will gladly navigate the uninitiated
(in Japanese) through the extensive selection of almost fifty
bottled Belgian beers.
The bottle of St. Feuillen (¥1,050/glass), something of
a fake blonde since its color is more reddish brown, had a
pleasing bitterness, almost fruity thanks to the spices used
in the brewing. Switching from blonde to brune, the Moinette
(¥1,150/glass) was a sturdy ale at 8.5 percent ABV, well
hopped and richer than its blonde cousin. The furiten (¥500),
fried potato chips with a tangy egg mayonnaise sauce, made
a perfect accompaniment. Less so the fruity Tete de Moine
cheese, which is pushing its luck at ¥680 for barely more
than a handful of shavingsat that price, it would make
more sense nestling on top of a salad. The Beer Cocktail (¥780)
convinced us that Takano-san and his cohorts are no beer purists,
but unfortunately the lemonade mixer had about as much fizz
as a parliamentary Diet session on Japan Post reform. The
pale Duvel blonde (¥1,050) quickly rescued our taste buds
with the punchiness of its malt and hops, which was almost
enough to make the eyes pop out. It also tasted about half
the strength of its 9 percent ABV.
A big(ish) screen was unobtrusively showing the Lotte Marines
hammer the BayStars on one wall, but with the sound off, the
sports should not detract from conversation or the low-key
60s soundtrack of rare soul, Janis Joplin and that scourge
of the US immigration authorities, Yusuf Islam, aka folkie
Cat Stevens. No wonder, then, that by the middle of the evening
most of the retro-modernist stools and two-seater high tables
and chairs were occupied by thirty-something business types
(probably escapees from the bustling yakitori joint near-by)
in small groups as well as solo drinkers, including women.
There are a handful of Tokyo bars attempting to bring deserved
attention to the craft of Belgian beer, but few can boast
the knowledgeable staff and easygoing atmosphere of Agoo.
1F Sugihara Bldg, 2-4-5 Daimon,
Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3432-1535. Open Mon-Sat 5pm-1am, Fri-Sat
5pm-2am, closed Sun. Nearest stn: Daimon, Toei Oedo line.
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