Tokyo’s 10 Best Value Craft Beer Bars

Greg Lane

The cheapest way to enjoy a glass of craft in Tokyo is to buy some at a bottle shop and drink it either outside or at home. However, if you want to sample some rarer brews or you can’t convince your friends to hang out with you in the park regularly, then one of the more reasonably priced Tokyo craft beer bars listed below may be what you are looking for. As a point of reference, the average price for an American pint (about 450ml) in Tokyo is around ¥1,000 to ¥1,200. All of the places below are considerably cheaper.

Antenna America

tokyo craft beer
Photo by Greg Lane

OK, we’re cheating a bit here since this oasis of West Coast craft beer is actually in Yokohama (south of Tokyo). However, you’ll soon forget the time it took you to get there when you’re sitting with a 400-yen glass (prices have drifted up of late with the declining exchange rate) of Ballast Point or Green Flash in your thirsty mitt. More info and review here.

Shinshu Osake Mura

Photo by Greg Lane

Literally “Shinshu (Nagano) Alcohol Village”, this place has beer from only a single prefecture in Japan. Luckily for you, that prefecture makes some of the best beer in Japan and luckier still you can drink at the bar for wholesale prices. The price of Shiga Kogen beer is even cheaper than you’ll find in a liquor shop. The staff are knowledgeable and friendly and will do their best to explain the different brews. In summer it can be a little hot and stuffy, but beer is the perfect antidote. More info and review here.

Craft Beer Bar IBREW

Photo by Gregory Lane

Nestled next to an elevated expressway between Yaesu and Ginza, IBREW is a tiny bar that spills on to the street with kegs and rounds of wood for tables outside. They have 10 taps pouring a variety of Japanese and Tokyo craft brews. On the day Tokyo Cheapo visited there were beers from Hideji, North Island, Baird, Hakodate Beer, Romantic Village (better than it sounds) and Minami-Shinshu. According to the barman, they often have Minoh and Shiga Kogen brews on tap as well. Prices are 421 yen for a smaller glass and 745 yen for a large glass.

Craft Beer Bar IBREW

Address:東京都中央区八重洲2-11-7 ます美ビル 1F
Phone:03-3281-622103-3281-6221
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Goodbeer Faucets

GBF has more than 40 beers on tap, focusing on Japan, the US and Europe. While a lot of beers on tap exceed 1,000 yen/pint (American size), the locally brewed beers are more reasonable—including the house brand 750-yen Endless Brown Ale. All Tokyo craft beers are 200 yen off during happy hour bringing the 750-yen GBF Brown down to 550 yen. Happy hour is from 5 to 8pm, Monday to Thursday and from 4 to 7pm on Sundays.

Goodbeer Faucets Shibuya

Address:Shibuya Crossroad Building 2F, 1-29-1 Shoto, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Phone:03-3770-554403-3770-5544
Hours:5pm - 12am (Mon - Thu, Sat), 5pm-3am (Fri), 4pm - 11pm (Sun)
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Craftsman

craftsman-770x577
Photo by Greg Lane

Craftsman is on the first floor of a building full of bars and pubs just a 3-minute walk from the west exit of Gotanda Station. There are 31 craft beers on tap and a well priced food menu to go along with your beer (a huge plate of Belgian frites for 600 yen + tax). Beer is priced by the glass. Irrespective of the maker or variety, it’s 500 yen + tax for the smaller glass and 800 yen + tax for the larger glass. The larger glass holds approximately 350ml. While this isn’t extraordinarily cheap (á la Shinshu Osake Mura) they have an incredible range: Minoh, Romantic Village, Tokorozawa Beer, T.Y.Harbor, Outsider, Sankt Gallen, Kagua and more. Even a dedicated craft beer explorer will find a number of rare varieties that they haven’t tried. Also be aware of the seating charge of 300 yen per person.

Craftsman Gotanda

Japanese script:クラフトマン
Address:1F Grace Gotanda, 2-18-3 Nishigotanda, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo
Phone:050-7534-7688050-7534-7688
Hours:5pm -1am daily, Also 11:30am to 2:30pm weekdays
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Two Dogs Taproom – Hoppy Hour

2dogstaproom

Sandwiched between the usual clubs and bars in Roppongi, Two Dogs stands out with a range of 24 Japanese and international craft beers on tap. Split equally, the beer menu is regularly updated and features a mix of the big names and seasonal craft beers from across Japan, some familiar American labels and their original house brew Roppongi Pale Ale. Japanese beers are all below 1,000 yen a pint, while some internationals go above, but smaller sizes are available too.  To make the most of it though, Hoppy Hour is the time to go. Between 5 and 7pm every day, pints are reduced down to medium price and medium to a small, knocking a good few hundred yen off your bill. A full-menu nomihodai (all you can drink) deal is also available for 3,600 yen if you want to try a good selection. The pizza is great; freshly made in the wood-fire oven—with a vegan options available, and half price on Sunday evenings, for the perfect cut-price combination. If you’re a bit of a beginner, or not sure where to start, the owner Mike knows a thing or two about his beers and is always willing to give recommendations (and tasters if you’re nice). All staff speak English, free wifi is available and there is no seating charge, but it can get quite busy!

Two Dogs Taproom

Address:Minato-ku, Roppongi, 3-15-24 Aries Bld. 2F
Phone:03-5413-033303-5413-0333
Hours:Lunch: 11:30am-2:30pm (Mon-Fri) (closed for lunch holidays) Dinner: 5:00pm - 3:00am (Tue - Sat) 5:00pm - 11:30pm (Sun-Mon)
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TAPxTAP Kanda

Photo by Greg Lane

TAPxTAP opened their first Tokyo branch in July 2016 (branch number one was in Fukuoka). This small cafe-style bar seats about 20 and offers 20 beers on tap. Most of the beers on offer when we visited were from lesser-known Japanese brewers with a few big brand (not craft) international beers from Belgium and Germany. While some of the brewers are a little less renowned, there’s plenty of variety and it’s a good chance to sample some new brews and flavors. The “Cannonball IPA” from Tokorozawa Brewery in Hyogo prefecture was the highlight of our visit.

Small glasses cost 500 yen while American pints (450ml) are 800 yen. There’s also a menu with light meals and snacks like chicken karaage, mussels, pasta, pizza and salad.



TAPxTAP Kanda

Japanese script:TAP×TAP 神田店
Address:2-9-18 Kajicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Phone:03-6206-467203-6206-4672
Hours:11:00 - 15:00, 17:00 - 23:30
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Titans Craft Beer Taproom & Bottle Shop

Photo by Gregory Lane

Titans is the beautiful offspring of a partnership between two beer importers: AQ Bevolution and Beer Cats. The 10 beers on tap rotate through the offerings from AQ Bevolution and Beer Cats with the odd Japanese guest beer. Prices are from 700 yen for a goblet and 1,300 yen for an enormous 700ml “Titan” tankard. For value hunters, they have an 8,000-yen discount card that entitles you to 11 regular-size beers and one titan. Given that regular size goblets may range up to 900 to 1,000 yen, the discount card is a good deal. Bottles in the fridge start from about 500 yen. If you want to drink it inside Titans, though, there’s a 300-yen corkage charge.

Titans Craft Beer Taproom & Bottle Shop

Japanese script:タイタンズ クラフトビール・タップルーム&ボトルショップ
Address:3-53-7 Minamiotsuka, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Phone:03-5904-953103-5904-9531
Hours:15:00-23:00
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Beer-Ma

Apparently the “Ma” stands for “Mania” rather than “Mama”. Either way, Beer-Ma will have you drooling like a baby over their enormous bottled beer selection (1,500 varieties) and 10 taps of draft beer. Beer-Ma originated as a bottle shop on the other side of Kitasenju Station. Now, you can either drink your bottle on premises (there is a 100-yen charge per bottle) or take it with you.

Beer-Ma

Japanese script:びあマ
Address:2-62 Senju, Adachi-ku, Tokyo
Phone:03-3882-250803-3882-2508
Hours:Mon/Tue/Wed/Fri: 2pm to 12am, Sun: 2pm to 9pm, Thu: Closed
Read more  

Craft Beer Market

craft-beer-market-770x577
Photo by Greg Lane

Craft Beer Market is a wildly popular craft beer bar now with seven branches in Shinbashi, Jimbocho, Awajicho, Mitsukoshimae, Koenji and Kichijoji. While not super cheap, the prices are reasonable and the range of beers (about 30 domestic brews) are extensive. Sadly, on the day that I visited, neither of the two best beers on the menu were available. Prices are 480 yen for a glass and 780 yen for an American pint. Due to its popularity, it’s a very good idea to reserve your table in advance.



Locations: Shinbashi, Jimbocho, Jimbocho Terrace, Awajicho, Mitsukochimae, Koenji, Kichijoji.
Hours: Vary depending on the location. Call ahead to check.
Website: http://www.craftbeermarket.jp/

Former entries:

Brew pubs Ginza Hachiban and Koenji Bakushu Kobo were on this list, but with the profusion of new venues they’ve been well and truly relegated – worth a look if you’re in the neighborhood, but not worth a special trip. Likewise, the Beersaurus happy hour was listed, but they’ve been demoted due to their slightly limited range and high regular prices.

This article was originally published in May 2014 and regularly updated. Last update: July 2017.

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14 Responses to “Tokyo’s 10 Best Value Craft Beer Bars”

  1. Christopher Phillips

    Also Transit. Craft beer server land. Thrash Zone (if you are including AA), and more.
    Brimmer is good but glasses arent pints.
    Beersaurus is smoking, charges a cover charge even in happy hour and at least used to serve beers frozen cold. The koenji brewpubs (at least 3), well, you commented on quality and the serve (if you ask fr less head, they just shorten the pour. Hachiban, i gotta go with rapebeer. Nasty beer.
    shinshu sake mura and towers rock. i brew is cheapest as no cover charge but to be honest they need to adjust the gas and serving temps a bit. CBMs now have american imports on tap but each one has differing levels of service quality and also charge 300yen cover. It all adds up, especially if you only want one or two drinks.
    As you mentioned, the botles hsops are good vlaue, which sake miura is, more or less. theyre is another ibrew in shimbashi, not so far from sake miura. its now an oyster bar but has 8 taps of craft at good prices but you have ot buy one oyster as a cover charge.
    Lots happening now. night owl sells beer by the 100ml plus 750ml growlers to go! lots of new things going on. moonlight in noborito has jockies of craft bee for 300yen but quality isnt amazing.
    I hope you continue looking for more new and interesting places and update this article. I’m not sure these are all the top ten cheapest places to drink craft. Have fun, drinking and finding them all!
    sorry for my typos. im awful at that.
    Chuwy

    • CheapoGreg

      I appreciate the feedback and thanks for the tips! Yeah, I’m aware that Brimmer’s don’t serve pints, but if their 350ml glasses cost 500yen, then a pint would only cost 650yen odd. Although I wish they’d have at least one slightly more adventurous beer on tap.
      I’ll definitely be updating the list. Will be interesting to see if there are any craft beer gardens this summer. Sankt Gallen had something on top of the Omohara Building in Omotesando last year, although I’m not a fan of their fruit beers.

      • Christopher Phillips

        I went to that. Prices ok, lovely setting but they do tend to dry hop the sh*t out of their beers, all grass.
        Craft beer gardens rock apart from the beer selection and the smoking. Good luck with your beering adventures and hope to bump into you over a cold one! T

    • Beer Morihide

      Went to Beersaurus last night. Maybe happy hour offers a bit of value, but this place is 100% overpriced compounded by unoriginal sports bar decor (where are the dinosaurs? the smokers?) and an uninspiring selection on tap. It’s such an obvious money grab by some investors hopping on the craft beer wagon… No love here! I shan’t be returning.

      • Christopher Phillips

        dinosaur on the wall and triceratops at the elevator. no smoking? lucky. usually at least one a hole is in there, lighting up and just holding the cigarette by his side. 1300yen normal prices and 650 happy hour but served cold and makes it hard to enjoy the beers that much. Transit in hatanodai is my choice but sadly that place allows smoking too. great cheap food there and 780 pints including tax and filled to the brim and great condition. Sadly brimmer beer box is closing this month or early next

        • CheapoGreg

          I’ll have to check out Transit – I need to replace Bakushu Kobo in Koenji – it’s by far the weakest place on this list. All may not be lost with Brimmer Beer Box. The talk is that they’re looking to relocate – hopefully nearby.

          • Christopher Phillips

            Yes. Faucets prices seem to have creeped up. 1300yen pints now, even at happy hour, thats 1100 a pint! the house beers like endless brown are by far the best value and the only place you can try brimmer beer for 500 a pint in happy hour. But its a limited to just happy hour and just those 4 or so beers plus they do sometimes get busy (full with reservations even tho the place looks half empty) and turn people away, rather than let them stand, which is hard for this british guy to get used to.
            I like faucets but i can’t really afford to drink there and not go in happy hour and stick to their house beers. food again is not cheap!
            Transit is professional quality food and beer at fantastic value prices. Adachi san the master does it all himself and does a great job. the bar itself has no frills but he is freindly and knowledgable plus the locals are kind and freindly. they hold off on smoking for me if they know im there, which im thankfull for but feel awful about. Shiga kogen 10th anniversary IPa (7.5%) 780yen for a us pint. Old rasputin imperial stout 780 a us pint. Not really that close ot anywhere and no frill about the place but cant argue the value factor.

          • Tim Maloney

            Beer Animal, less than 4 minutes walk north of JR Kanda station, just inside the Yamanote loop.

          • CheapoGreg

            Will try to check it out. Thank you.

      • CheapoGreg

        Well, I did warn that it was damn expensive if you go outside happy hour! They’re supplied by Nagano trading – the same people who do Antenna America so they usually have some decent beers from Coronado, Green Flash, Ballast Point etc.

      • Tim Maloney

        Disagree with you all on Beersaurus. Yes, it can be expensive after happy hour but HH really rocks. Especially good value when there’s Old Rasputin… or as last Friday Stone 10 on tap. Incidentally, they might have the biggest turnover for Nagano Trading’s beers in Japan but they also serve imports from AQ Bevolution, Evergreen & Beer Cats as well. The service is far better than most places & the food menu is both extensive & reasonable. I agree Transit is very good, too & I count it as a regular bar. The new i-Brew Wired just a stones throw from it’s sister shop is also great if not better AND is non-smoking, too.
        If you want somewhere to replace Bakushu Kobo (Koenji), CheapoGreg, try Beer++ in Jujo which was kinda’ inspired by it but the owner thought he could do it better.

  2. I think everyone is looking for good beer and a good deal.
    Should be break it down by cost per ml? Ha! Ha!

    Ibrew’s large glass is 410ml, an American pint is 470ml, therefore Craft Beer Market is actually a slightly better than deal than Ibrew. Brimmer at 650yen is the most bang for the buck.

    Also, the Koenji branch of Craft Beer Market actually has a food course + all you can drink plan Monday to Thursday starting at 3500yen.

    Cheers!

  3. Ash Baker

    ビール工場 in Nakano is cheap, has all micro brews and just 500 a drink.

    • CheapoGreg

      Thanks for the tip! Will check it out. Any idea of the glass size?


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