Pubs in Japan (Sapporo, Osaka, Tokyo)

Beer taps

So I was supposed to write a post about Popeye’s in tokyo, way back when and it kind of sat in my writing queue forever. I had started a couple of times and it just wasn’t flowing. Then I decided to revive that post with some information about a couple of pubs we visited in Osaka, but this also did not flow. I will give it one more try with some company from the Sapporo brewery.


One of the things we have been doing durring our travels it to head out and hit some restaurants and pubs in the cities around japan. When we went to Tokyo with Ben and Jill, we checked out an awesome bar called Popeye.

The atmosphere was a little rowdy, the place was packed and we had to wait for a table. There was a good mix of ex-pats and japanese, although us ex-pats were in the minority, there was enough of us to yield a foreigner friendly wait-staff and english menus. The food was decent high class bar-fare, reminiscent of american pubs, but with a unique japanese flavor, (in a good way).

Beer Tower

On to the beer. This place specializes in micro brews from japan and around the world, (including some brews of their own.) We all tried some of the local brews, although I was heavily temped by a rogue IPA from back home. All of them were genuinely good brews, which is saying a lot when compared with the Yebisu, Sapporo, Asahi, and Kirin we are used to here.

Beer List

I only wish Micros would find their way into the liquore shops more readily here. However even in liquor specialty shops you only find more of the same. Even their imported beer is mostly pale lager that do nothing for my taste buds. Sigh. The beer at this place made it a site to see, I was happy to have that experience.

Tins Hall

While touring Osaka with Angus and Ella we made a stop at Tins Hall. Perhaps my favorite stop of the trip. It was a bit of a dive bar. While I can be a bit of a beer snob, there are times when you really just want a bar to sit, chat, eat some crappy (for you) food, and be left alone. This was the prefect place.


Tins Hall feels just like an american dive bar on anycampus, USA. It had a small clientele of Expats and japanese. The atmosphere was calm and the Burgers tasted like american burgers. Quite a feat in fact. Most burgers in japan do not taste like burgers do in america, they are missing just a little something.


Beer. Average japanese fair. Like a dive bar in america they served a couple of pale lager drafts. Beers that get the job done but that you drink for thirst and entertainment, not for taste.

Sapporo Beer

Last the Sapporo brewery museum and tasting room. We visited this places younger brother the Yebisu museum in Tokyo. Yebisu and Sapporo being two lines of the same brand. This museum was a lot more fun with several nice exhibits all in japanese. My favorite being a model about the life-cycle of beer that looks like it belongs in Willy Wonka’s factory. However, it was a good model with covered the story well. Very cool.


The tasting room had a series of Sapporo’s beers, a few of which are only available in Sapporo. While all are japanese beers, and mostly flavor neutral, the each have a hint of flavor. It kind of lets you know that, while they understand making beer. They cater to their audience which are not, yet?, big fans of beer with strong flavors.

Food. While their was little to eat at the brewery museum, some plastic like “cheese” and crackers, it is surrounded by very nice restaurant’s. All serving Sapporo Beers and beer friendly food. We chose one of the nicer places and got some quite tasty food. I had a Sapporo specialty, Ghengis Khan. (Actually a japanese take on a mongolian dish, obviously.) It was really good, lamb cooked, by me, on a grill in the center of the table. Quite the experiece if one has the chance. Everything was beautifully laid out and presentation immaculate. Quite a feat considering that you have to cook the food yourself.

Unfortunately, having an open grill on the table proved to much of a temptation for my parents, who decided to re-cook some of their prepared food. Much to danielle and my embarrassment and the amusement of the wait-staff… My dad ordered a braised salmon, which was quite delicious looking to Danielle and me. However, my Dad being a slightly-fearful anti-raw person, liked his meat a touch more well done. So on to the grill it went. My mom decided to compare a cooked sallop from her seafood salad to the raw ones provided. On the grill it went. By the time we were leaving I was sure that the very attentive and courteous wait-staff must have been on to this show. I looked at the faces of the wait-staff as we were leaving and decided their grins were, perhaps, just a touch too big for courtesy. I threw them a brief shrug as my parents walked out of the restaurant and watched them dissolve into giggles. Being a foreigner in a strange land, at least its nice to know you bring joy to those around you.

I will visit, I hope, many more pubs and breweries. In he end I hope I can post a bit more about them.

Posted on Monday, February 25th, 2008 at 9:14 pm. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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