Walking from Karasuma station is a funny experience; bright lights punctuated by traditional Japanese style buildings and then Bungalow pops up on the corner. You can’t miss it as it looks out-of-place as the plastic sheet that both covers the front area and protects you from the elements is unique in the area. Bungalow is a cross between a standing bar and seating bar with oil drums for tables. Since opening in September 2012, it has prided itself on organic food and wines, but the food comes later.
My visit to Bungalow came at the end of a long business trip and a cycle to Yamaoka beer shop. It’s open from 3pm but I got there about 5:30pm and it had already started to fill up with other like-minded craft beer fans. There are two floors to Bungalow so it was easy to get a seat at that time but the owners did say that from around 8pm onwards it is pretty much standing room only.
The range of beers at Bungalow encompasses from Hokkaido down to Kyushu with the 10 taps rotating throughout the week as beers run out. Doted around the bar are lots of different kegs from breweries across Japan. I noted Sankt Gallen, Hitachino Nest, Minoh, and Swan Lake among others so plenty of choice. Beers come in two sizes, the 10oz or 285ml, for ¥700, and the 15oz or 425ml for ¥1,000. Both prices included tax so there was no surprise at the end of the night. The beers start from 1, which is considered to be the lightest tasting and/or least bitter, through to 10, which is considered to the boldest tasting and/or most bitter. I was lucky to try the new Outsider Brewing Sockeye Salmon Pale Ale, which was not as fishy as I thought it would be and also the Hansharo Beer Iseki Old, which reminded me of Old Tom’s Beer.
As Bungalow prides itself on organic food, it would have been rude not to try some, though the bread on the counter was the only thing on my mind. As you walk in, there are loaves of bread piled on the counter. Maybe not hygienic but it looked appealing. You get two thick slabs of bread, one seemed to be salted sourdough bread and the other slice is a fruity mix of raisins and dates. Both are warmed up and went well with soaking up wing sauce from the Buffalo wings, that were spicy and a little sour. Perfect. Though none of that compared to the desert. Stout cheesecake. Jeez. If I could eat that for the rest of my life, then I would be a happy man.
Bungalow One Paragraph Review
If you’re in the area, heck, if you’re in Kyoto, then you NEED to come to Bungalow for some craft beers and great food. It’s a bit of a trek from the nearest station but the warm and friendly atmosphere means you will end up staying for a while. I wasn’t surprised when the bill came, and for those who are worried, there was no table charge nor additional tax to pay as everything is included in the price.
Open: Wednesday to Monday 15:00 – 02:00 (L.O 01:30)
Homepage (in Japanese): Bungalow homepage
How to Get to Bungalow
Bungalow can be reached from Karusama station or Omiya station, both of which are on the Hankyu Kyoto Line. It’s about a five minute walk from Omiya, or ten minutes from Karusama station.