Cafe Bankan One Paragraph Review
Cafe Bankan is a tad on the pricey side for beers but go for the tasting set and you’ll leave happy (inebriated). Cafe Bankan had free wi-fi (just ask them behind the bar for the password), and no table charge was included. The bad news is that it allows smoking both inside and outside. I didn’t know this on the first time I went as there were people outside smoking but not inside. When I’m next in the area, I’ll DEFINITELY going be back here for some chilled, laid back beer as long as no-one is smoking.
Cafe Bankan Full Review
So the long day of drinking began. For some reason, which I am still yet to understand, I decided to go on a mini craft beer crawl and Koenji came out on top of the list. Looking for somewhere that opened early, Cafe Bankan popped up as it opened at 11:45am – not 11:30am or midday. Quite an unusual time but still early enough for some drinks and grub to line the stomach.
Cafe Bankan is situated about five minutes south of JR Koenij station, where, for those who don’t know, the Chuo Rapid line does not stop at the weekend. I had already missed the stop twice because of this and was getting frustrated. Finally arriving at Cafe Bankan, we had the choice of inside seating or outside. Looking up at the sky meant only one decision – inside. Noone wants watered down beer do they? A co-drinker and myself were the first in and were hoping for some serious beer action. It’s weird sitting drinking in a “cafe” but Cafe Bankan is definitely more geared towards the alcoholic side of cafe life in Japan, rather than coffees and cakes.
The tap selection at Cafe Bankan was impressive. There were about 15 taps of domestic craft beer on when we went and there was a large variety of styles too, from saisons to porters, and wheat beers to spiced sansho beers. For those who haven’t been drinking with me, I have been known to take my time on deciding a beer. If there were one beer on a menu, I would still take time deciding on that beer. Beers come in two sizes, small size at 240ml, and large size at 420ml. Prices for the small varied from ¥720 ~ ¥770 while large varied from ¥1000 ~ ¥1200 – a tad on the pricey side but then at the bottom is the option – the tasting set which gets you three ~100ml glass of any beer on the menu for ¥900. Off we went.
The first choice was easy – Daisen G Beer Weizen, Minamishinshu Apple Hop which was chased with Minoh Sansho W-IPA. The service was impeccible as I stumbled along in slightly inebriated Japanese and the friendly staff, of which I am guilty of forgetting their names, joked with us in English explaining the beer. The beer went down way too quickly so it was time for another round of beers. This time the Coedo Marihana, Iwate Kura Stout, and then the Shiga Kogen House IPA – three tasty beers very different in style and potency.
The food at Cafe Bankan is mixed but more focussed on sharing and snacks it seemed by the menu. We ordered some mixed nuts, sliced ham, and one of my personal favourites, gorgonzola walnut pizza liberally doused with honey. It worked really well with the Iwate Kura Stout and the Shiga Kogen House IPA. Cafe Bankan had already filled up by 1pm and while we weren’t asked to leave our seats, we thought more people should shall the same fun we had. I wanted to stay for more but the adventure was on and had to leave.
Cafe Bankan Details
Open: Monday to Friday 15:00 ~ 01:00 (L.O 00:30) Weekends and holidays 11:45 ~ 01:00
Happy Hour: None
Homepage (in Japanese): http://www.ban-kan.com/
How to Get to Cafe Bankan
Cafe Bankan is located close to JR Koenji on the Chuo line. It’s about a five minute walk from the south exit.