Editor’s Note: Nawlins BBQ & Craft Beer Bar in Yokosuka, Kanagawa closed in November 2019. This review has been kept up for posterity’s sake.
Yokosuka. Famed for curry, Commander Perry, and the US Navy; yet with all of the American influences, there has always been a distinct lack of craft beer outlets in the area, considering the influence the American craft beer industry has had. Nawlins BBQ & Craft Beer Bar goes a long way to remedying that situation. Nawlins BBQ & Craft Beer Bar is in its second location now, just a bit further up towards Yokosuka Chuo station, and comes with a serious reputation behind it.
Based on slow-smoked American BBQ, and also serving some good old-fashioned Creole food (I’d like to take this point to remind everyone that Rob is as American as tea and cricket – Joe), Nawlins BBQ & Craft Beer Bar pairs this up with over 21 taps of craft beer, with at least three-quarters coming from Japan. There is a regular supply of Baird Beer on tap, along with the Nawlins Smoked Amber brewed at Baird Beer too. On the day we went, BeerTengoku met Charles A Hall, owner of Nawlins BBQ & Craft Beer Bar and also Brendan Delhomeau, bar manager too. Both were friendly and welcoming to all customers, new and old. Chuck Morrow, who has a long history in BBQ cooking, wasn’t in that day but he is considered to be a legend of BBQ cooking in Japan. Just ask people what they think of the food at Bashamichi Taproom.
The beer though was the main reason we came to Nawlins BBQ & Craft Beer Bar and we were not disappointed. Besides Baird Beer, the other Japanese craft beer on show was impressive, with beers from North Island (Hokkaido), Ushitora (Tochigi), Loco Beer (Chiba), Nihonkai Club (Kanazawa), Brimmer Beer (Kawasaki) and Zakkoku Kobo (Saitama) all available. Brendan talked about how the idea was to keep the beers local and on flow so expect different beers every time you go. The prices on the board are for large US pint size glasses, with half sizes glasses costing ¥650 though the size varies depending on the strength of the beer. The beer prices also include tax which was unknown to us last time we went down. (Thanks Brendan for clearing that up!)
We started off with the Locobeer Red Shamrock, a very malty 5% Irish ale that was far too easy going for our liking. The Brimmer Mosaic White Ale was a new one for us and we had to have a large one. It paired really well with the shrimp Po’ Boy sandwich and coleslaw. By 1pm, the bar had become reasonably full with a decent sized crowd – some eating in, while others picking up fried chicken, jambalaya and other things to take away. Not many people were drinking so we had to make up for it. The staff recommended the Zakkoku Kobu Millet Weizen, a popular beer among the customers, and it was nice though a strong banana sweetness came through. Finally, the Ushitora Wake Up Coffee Stout was calling to us, and it was a nice, mild, espresso-like beer. Nawlins BBQ also does a beer tasting set as well, four beers of about 75ml for ¥750, with the beers chosen by the manager.
The food menu is expansive and is pretty hard to choose from. Unfortunately, on the day we went, the brisket had sold out which thus meant other meals based on the brisket, such as the BBQ chili, had also sold out. Also, the andouille sausage had sold out too. Our luck had to run out sometime after all the nice beer, we suppose. The Gulf Coast Shrimp Po’ Boy was recommended, but didn’t really look like the picture in the menu though it was still tasty. The homemade coleslaw was also more vegetables than mayonnaise. Still hungry, the Buffalo wings came highly recommended by Charles himself and were tasty, though a bit on the small side compared to the wings we had at Bungalow.
There is also free wifi, with the details posted around the bar for anyone to use, and there was not a table charge on the final bill for those worried about it.
Nawlins BBQ & Craft Beer Bar One Paragraph Review
Nawlins BBQ & Craft Beer Bar is a great bar that is worth visiting if you’re in the area of Yokosuka city. The wide range of beers from Japan is wide and varied with something for everyone and the food is tasty, though no guarantee that you can get what you want.
Nawlins BBQ & Craft Beer Bar Details
Open: Weekdays 11:00 – 22:00 (LO 21:30) Saturday and Sunday 11:00 – 22:30 (LO 22:00)
How to Get to Nawlins BBQ & Craft Beer Bar
The closest station to Nawlins BBQ & Craft Beer Bar is best reached from Keikyu Yokosuka Chuo station. From there, take the west exit and walk towards the US Naval base. It’s about a five-minute walk.