Smoke Cafe The Bottom Line
While Smoke Cafe does offer some very nice food, the range of domestic craft beers and the prices pale in comparison to Craft Beer Kan, so it’s not really a place we’d recommend going to if you’re in the area for a short time. Moreover, the table charge of ¥500 is also pretty pricey, even though you do get some roast beef for the “pleasure” and it’s also a bar that allows smoking too. Thankfully, all the prices include tax so there is some silver lining at the end of drinking.
Smoke Cafe Full Review
Smoke Cafe seems to one of Niigata city’s oldest craft beer bars, and the owners of it also run a series of other places in Niigata city, such as Joestar and JoJo.
This place is the largest of the lot and is located on the south side of Niigata station, about a 5 minute walk away in what appears to be the main residential area on that side of the station. Smoke Cafe is on the second floor of a building that seems to stretch for ages inside but appears small on the outside. What’s even stranger is that the inside looks like it has been half designed on a British pub and the other half on German beer hall. There is space for about 80 people inside. The whole place is smoking it seems though there is a room that is non-smoking on request. There is also free WiFi if you wish to read BeerTengoku as you wait for your beer.
While Smoke Cafe is huge, the beer list is anything but with only three craft beers on tap from Swan Lake, so we tried them all. They were also way too expensive at ¥800 a beer for about 270ml or so. Thankfully, the prices include tax as at that price, I really had to take my time in drinking them as it could have got expensive very, very quickly. The service was pretty slow as well as it took the staff a long ten minutes after ordering to tell us that the Swan Lake Porter had run out.
The food though is perhaps the saving grace at Smoke Cafe as it’s well priced and also tasty with plenty of choices for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. The sausages were freshly cooked though the chips at Smoke Cafe were, well, peculiar to say the least. Some of them appeared to be regular crinkle cut while others appeared to be Gnocchi-style that had been deep fried – fluffy on the inside and crunchy on the outside.
Smoke Cafe Details
Open: Tuesday to Thursday and Sunday 18:00 ~ 02:00 Friday, Saturday, and day before National Holiday 18:00 ~ 03:00
Closed: Monday (if not a national holiday)
Happy Hour: None
Homepage (in Japanese): http://www.smokecafe.jp/smokecafe
How to Get Smoke Cafe
The closest station to Smoke Cafe is Niigata station on the Hakushin Line, Echigo Line, and Shinetsu Main Line. Take the south exit and the bar is about a five minute walk.