Editor’s Note: International Dining Bar SMITH in Harajuku, Tokyo closed but this review has been kept up for posterity.
International Dining Bar SMITH One Paragraph Review
With no table charge and most prices including tax, International Dining Bar SMITH could have been a nice place to enjoy a couple of cold beers during the day; however, the expensive prices for beers at 400ml and the ludicrous prices for bottled beers, compounded with the slow service put me off going again. It’s a shame but there are cheaper bars both in Shibuya, Harajuku, and also Shinjuku that are more worth your money. Smoking is allowed but it seems that the area is secluded away from the non-smoking areas.
International Dining Bar SMITH Full Review
SMITH, or to give it its full name International Dining Bar SMITH, opened in March 2015 just down the road from Meijijinju-Mae station on the Tokyo Metro. It’s located on the main road that intersects Omotesando-dori that leads up to Harajuku station though it isn’t the easiest place to find as International Dining Bar SMITH is on the fourth floor of what appeared to be an office block / shopping tower. Turning up at midday on a Sunday, I thought it wouldn’t be busy but it quickly filled up with the lunchtime shoppers looking for a respite from the hustle and bustle of Harajuku and Omotesando. The crowd were mostly middle-aged women in groups though there were some younger people on dates it seemed too.
International Dining Bar SMITH is styled on a supposedly Brooklyn style bar but having never been to Brooklyn, I would have to feign knowledge about whether it did or not. (Perhaps a kind reader would confirm whether SMITH does or doesn’t look like one). The only Brooklyn Bars I’ve seen have been on TV and look like dive bars. That’s another strange point about SMITH. It is styled as a dive bar on their Facebook page; however, if you have been to Craft Beer Bar iBrew in Yurakucho / Ginza, then you’ll know what a dive bar looks like – SMITH is anything but one.
There are ten taps of craft beer available at International Dining Bar SMITH as well as a selection of bottled beer from Japan and around the world. The ten taps vary between domestic craft beer and imported craft beer and among these taps are two taps of SMITH’s on collaborative efforts: SMITH IPA which is brewed in Seattle and ther SMITH / Hitachino Nest 7′ 20 Session IPA. The beers come in two sizes: small (240ml) with prices varying from ¥690 ~ ¥720 and regular (400ml) which vary from ¥1,090 to ¥1,220 but thankfully all prices include tax for draft beers. During happy hour, which is daily until 19:00, all regular beers are ¥200 off. There is also a tasting set of three marked beers, as depicted by the star on the menu, for ¥990, with each glass being 150ml.
However, the less said about the bottles the better. Time for a rant…Everyone knows drinking craft beer in Japan isn’t the cheapest hobby to do; however, it isn’t as expensive when you drink at home. Now, it’s great that International Dining Bar SMITH has bottled beers available for people to try, heck, you might even try one, enjoy it, then go and find it. BUT THE PRICES ARE RIDICULOUS! Let’s take Aooni IPA – a particular favourite of Joe and mine. It can be bought for about ¥260 in supermarkets such as Seiyu but here it costs, wait for it, ¥840 a can. And that doesn’t include tax! Baird Beer Numazu Lager can be bought for about ¥440 online – here it costs ¥1,090 without tax. Rant aside avoid the bottled beers.
The food, which eventually came after 45 minutes, was nice but there was a mix-up of epic proportions. Teething problems to a bar are accepted for the first couple of weeks or so as staff are trying to find their way around but this was not acceptable. There were no sides, such as chips, during lunch time, sacrilege among BeerTengoku, instead there were plates of meals. There was a decent enough variety; however, it was either the meat by itself, or pay another ¥400 ~ ¥500 for rice, salad, and so on. You can’t just get the rice, it’s all or nothing. Which they wanted me to have. Cue disagreements about what I ordered only for the staff to look at the receipt and see that I ordered just the meat. While the customer is not always right, disagreeing with them in public is never a good idea – left a sour taste in my mouth that thankfully the Hansharo Mikado Stout did a great job of removing. I wasn’t encouraged to stay any longer after this so up I left in search of the Baird Harajuku Taproom.
International Dining Bar SMITH Details
Open: Monday to Sunday 12:00 ~ 23:00 Lunch 12:00〜15:00 (L.O.14:30) Cafe 15:00〜18:00 Dinner 18:00〜24:00 (L.O.23:00)
Address:〒150-0001 Tokyo, Shibuya-Ku, Meijijingu-mae 6-28-6 Q Plaza Harajuku 4F
Social Network: Facebook
How to Get to International Dining Bar SMITH
The closest station to International Dining Bar SMITH is Meiji-jinguMae on the Tokyo Metro of the Chiyoda Line and the Fukutoshin Lines. If you use exit seven, the bar is a two-minute walk away.