Ushitora The Bottom Line
If you’re trying to find Ushitora Brewing’s beers on tap for the cheapest prices, then Ushitora comes highly recommended. However, for other breweries’ beers, then be prepared to pay a pretty penny for them, even by the usual Tokyo standards. Thankfully there aren’t any extra charges as tax is included and there isn’t a table charge either to pay. Some of the menus are bilingual and it’s pay as you go, so at least you can kind of keep track of how much you’ve spent. The whole place is non-smoking and there are some vegetarian options on, but not many.
Ushitora, like other craft beer bars that have been around for awhile, has a reputation that precedes them, and as such, always comes highly recommended to craft beer fans. Moreover, like so many craft beer bars that started out at the time, it’s tucked away down some back streets, though this time it’s in Shimokitazawa. It is almost a shame that this review is coming so soon that this bar closes and they open up a new, bigger branch on the other side of the station.
Ushitora One, the original branch, is a sit-down affair that opened over 10 years ago and outgrew its shop so much that Ushitora Two opened up a couple of doors down in 2015, which is more of a standing bar. Combined, there is space for more than 50 people and both of them are non-smoking as well as having no table charges too.
Combined, the bars offer 30 beers on tap, with at least ten taps dedicated to Ushitora Brewing’s own range, as brewed by Uetake-san, of Coedo Brewery fame. The rest of the taps vary between domestic and imported beers, though be prepared to pay for anything that is non-Ushitora. Ushitora Brewing’s beers come in two sizes: small (270ml) at ¥630 to ¥680 and large (470ml) at ¥900. The rest of the beers come in the same sizes; however, the prices vary greatly with small from ¥730 to ¥930 and large from ¥1150 to ¥1500. Thankfully those prices include tax, otherwise they could be some of the most expensive in Japan. It’s clear that if you’re drinking here, then you’re either going to stick to Ushitora Brewing’s beers or have some deep pockets. While beers can be bought and drunk in either bar, be prepared to fetch your own from the other bar if you want to order it. We also didn’t notice any happy hour at either bar.
The food at Ushitora is mixed with Ushitora One a more sit down affair with large meals, while the second store, offers fried food, known as kushiage, and also the famed Japanese food, oden, served from in front of you. If you want to bring food between bars, it’s not frowned upon but make sure you ask first.
Ushitora One open daily, 17:00 to 02:00
Ushitora Two Tuesday to Friday 15:00 – 23:30, Saturday and Sunday 11:30 to 23:30 Closed: Mondays and National Holidays
How to Get to Ushitora
The closest station to Ushitora is Shimokitazawa on the Odakyu Odawara Line from Shinjuku in Tokyo, and also the Keio Inokashira Line from Shibuya in Tokyo to Kichijōji. It can be reached from either the North Exit or the South exit, depending which train line you take.