The concept of Genka Bar is both simple and brilliant – after you pay 1,500yen to enter, all food and drink from then on is sold at wholesale prices. Glasses of beer cost the same or cheaper than you would pay for a bottle at the supermarket while shots of spirits like Bacardi rum, Beefeaters gin and Stolichnaya vodka are all available for 60yen each!
Usually with this type of place there is a catch. Like everything is dirt cheap but it’s in the middle of Kabukicho, or the fire exits are blocked and cockroaches have free run of the place. However, none of that applies to Genka Bar – the only catch is the entrance price and perhaps the fact that it’s in slightly uncool Gotanda. In fact the whole experience is far above that of the average dive in Shibuya or Shinjuku. The lighting is subtle, the clientele varied, the atmosphere relaxed, the decoration simple, the staff friendly and knowledgeable, the range of drinks enormous and there’s even ample space between the tables.
It’s such a nice place that the cheap booze is almost inconsequential. The food is pretty standard bar fare for Japan – various salads, smoked salmon, sausages – but once again, it doesn’t leave anything wanting.
Just because you’ve paid your 1,500yen, it doesn’t mean EVERYTHING is dirt cheap – that would be plain stupid. You can still find bottles of wine for 10,000yen but since they’re giving it to you wholesale, it’s the kind of thing that would cost you twice the price elsewhere.
At the end of the night after 1 Bass Pale Ale, 3 glasses of Guinness and a couple of plates of food, my share of the bill was about 1,700yen bringing the total to 3,200. Not outstanding value but this varies a lot depending on how much you consume and exactly what you order.
So here are some prices so you can decide for yourself whether it’s worth it for you to pay the 1,500yen entry price.
Asahi Super Dry 360ml – 180yen
Guinness 400ml – 300yen
Heineken bottle – 220yen
Leffe Brown – 370yen
60yen – Ben Nevis, Black Nikka, Beefeaters Gin, Gordon’s Gin, Smirnoff, Stolichnaya, Bacardi Rum
90yen – Ballantynes, Canadian Club, Jamesons, Bombay Sapphire, Zubrowka Vodka, Cuervo Tequilla (Silver/Gold)
120yen – Chivas Regal 12 years, Johnnie Walker Black Label, Glen Livett 12 Years, Glen Fiddich 12 years, Havana Club 7 years Rum,
Wine (all bottle prices)
Genestet Collection Cabernet Sauvignon – 840yen
Genestet Collection Chardonnay – 840yen
Borgogne Pinot Noir – 1,890yen
Chablis La Chanfleure – 2,400yen
|2F/3F Nozu Building, 2-5-8 Nishi Gotanda, Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo
|JR Gotanda Station (5 minute walk from the West Exit – turn right upon exiting the station then follow the tracks for about 100m. Genka Bar will be on your left)
|Monday to Saturday, 17:00 – 01:00
Sunday and Public Holidays, 17:00 – 24:00