For a country that seems to be rampant with alcohol, it’s a surprise that not more places are open before work is over for the day in Japan. While people have things to do, it’s always nice to knock off work early, go down the pub, and have a couple of quiet beers, then go home. However, in Japan, that is seldom the case – though it’s changing. Slowly. This guide is for you to find some bars that are open early and stay open throughout the day. It’s all well and good having a couple of lunch time beers, but then having to stop for a few hours means the buzz and excitement stops. Thanks to @dburkes on Twitter for this idea as well! Something we should have done a long time ago.
The only constraints for the following bars are
- that they have to be open before 5pm and stay open. The earlier the better.
- have to be located inside the Yamanote line – so no Jiyugaoka or Shimokitazawa am afraid;
- we have to have visited them so we know that they are open and offer up beer throughout the day.
Without much further ado:
This place was always going to feature on the list. It’s a favourite of ours at BeerTengoku, with its friendly warm atmosphere and wide selection of beers from the Nagano area. The bottles and cans can also be taken away to drink off-site along with snacks and finger food from the area too. It’s open from 11am though it is closed on the second and third Saturday of each month. The only major problem with Shinshu Osake Mura is that it is standing room only, so gets busy later on in the day. and closes early.
Hours: Open from 11am until 21:30 most days. Closed on Sundays with second & third Saturday also closed.
Now we’re talking – The Lower Right offers up Tokyo’s longest happy “hour”, which should really be called a happy “day” as it lasts from opening until 19:30. There is a decent mix of beers on tap at The Lower Right, as well as having some delicious dishes on hand as well. The main downside to The Lower Right is the random times when smoking is allowed, which are outside of meal time. If you can navigate around those hours, then you’ll either leave The Lower Right drunk or just slightly warmed up.
Hours: Daily 11:00 ~ 24:00 Lunch: 11:30 ~ 15:00 Dinner: 16:00 ~ 24:00
Review: The Lower Right in Daimon, Tokyo
You’ve got two choices for this one – either outside of Tokyo station or Akihabara station – but both of them are open from 11am. While the Tokyo branch is more designed around stopping in for a quick one or two, the Akihabara branch is more suited for some leisurely drinking. Both places serve food so you can soak up some of that booze up as you drink. Both branches offer up some special brews that can’t be had elsewhere – including the other branches of the Hitachino Nest Brewing Lab locations.
Hours: Tokyo Branch – Daily 11:00 – 23:30 / Akihabara Monday to Saturday 11:00 – 23:00 Sunday and Holidays 11:00 – 21:00
Located in Shibuya Hikarie, iBeer Le Sun Palm is a much more casual affair and the menu doesn’t really excite anymore compared to what else is in the area. However, it’s open from the morning, and if you get bored of the shopping the area, then come along for some cold beers throughout the day. The clientele is more female group orientated and less beer geek but we’re here for the beer and long drinking time. Come in for one or two to warm up before heading off to somewhere else in Shibuya.
Hours: Monday to Saturday 11:00 – 23:30 Sunday 11:00 – 23:30
So what do you do when you have a successful chain of craft beer bars in Tokyo, with another one in Osaka, and you’re looking for new ideas? Well you close a couple of the stores down (Jimbocho Terrace and Koenji) then try to open up a brewery, then realise that perhaps a brewpub in this day and age would be a better idea – make your own beer then sell it to other bars in the chain. That’s exactly what the owners of Craft Beer Market, a company called Steady Works, have done with Craftrock Brewpub – a venue that works as a brewery, a bar, and also a music space too for concerts and performances in the heart of Tokyo.
Open: Daily 11:00 – 23:30 (L.O Food 22:00 Drink 22:30)
If you’re feeling peckish, or want some craft beer, or fancy some sake, and Shinshu Osake Mura is a bit too cheap for you, then check out this place. WIth around 20 taps of craft beer on, Towa The World’s End is bound to have something on tap for you. The food is delicious too. The main downside to it is that it’s located in one of Tokyo’s barren areas for drinking i.e. Ueno and also a bit on the steep side.
Hours: Monday to Sundays & Holidays 11:30 ~ 23:30 (L.O. for food 22:00 L.O. for drinks 23:00)
Let’s be honest, drinking during the day requires nourishment – both the liquid kind and the dry kind – and Folk Burgers & Beer in Jimbocho is perhaps one of the best places to come get a damn tasty hamburger, and then wash it down with some beers too. Perhaps you’re in the Jimbocho area to pick up some books or some winter wear – shopping is hard work and you deserve a break from all that walking around the city. You could combine your jaunt to Folk Burgers & Beer with some other bars in the area such as Craft Beer Market Jimbocho or Hinomoto Beer Parlour too.
Open: Tuesday to Friday 11:00 – 22:00 (L.O Food 21:00 Drink 21:30) Weekends & Holidays 11:30 – 21:00 (L.O Food 20:00 Drink 20:30)
You’ve got a couple of choices for Standing Bar Beer Boy with here and also the Shibuya branch in the Parco building, but we’re plumping for Naka-meguro, mainly because the walk along the river is a nice little jaunt away from the busy area of Tokyo. Standing Bar Beer Boy tweaks the tried-and-tested idea of Craft Beer Market to create something different, and it works. The casual atmosphere of being able to pop in for a quick beer, without the hassle of waiting for a seat, or having even to book a table, is still welcome. You can come in here for a couple of beers, then pop down to Deguchiya to get some bottles to take home too, before coming back here to finish off the session you’re on.
Open: Weekdays 11:30 – 14:00 (L.O 13:30) / 16:00 – 23:00 (L.O 22:30)
Our first brew pub on this list is Anchor Point. While it’s not the cheapest on this list, it does open from early, mainly for the crowd thirsty for coffee. Anchor Point has quite a narrow range of beers and is a tad on the expensive side but it does have a large outside drinking area, perfect for some early afternoon beers in the sun. You could combine coming here and then going over to Yona Yona Beer Works in Akasaka-Mitsuke if you have time.
Hours: Daily 11:30 to 23:00 (L.O Food 22:00 Drink 22:30)
Review: Anchor Point in Nagatacho, Tokyo
With a successful chain of shops and also a brewpub in the Yokohama area, it was only a matter of time before TDM 1874 started to stretch its legs and they did so in Aoyama, renaming their Marche Du Jeux shop TDM 1874 Aoyama in November 2018. With this rebranding, the focus moved toward half craft beer bar and half wine store – something that sounds unusual at first, but like their store in Kannai, seems like a great idea to create a larger catchment of drinkers. It’s a nice little place to stop in for a couple of beers and chat away at the counter, or even stop in for something a bit longer.
Open: Monday to Friday 12:00 – 22:00 (L.O Food 21:00 Drink 21:30) Saturday 11:00 – 21:00 (L.O Food 20:00 Drink 20:30)
Review: TDM 1874 Aoyama in Aoyama, Tokyo
If you’re going to Shinshu Osake Mura above, then combine it with a trip to Craft Beer Bar iBrew Shimbashi. Located in the same building, this place offers up 30 taps of domestic craft beer at some of Tokyo’s cheapest prices but most importantly, it’s open from 1pm and stays open right until 11:30pm. Perfect for some early drinks before heading off to somewhere else that opens up a bit later. Like Craft Beer Market, there’s a few places to choose from with also Ebisu and Akihabara
Hours: Open from 13:00 to 23:30 daily.
These places are all open throughout the day but a little later than the ones above. They are still worth of a visit if you can’t quite start drinking as early as others.
1) Big Love Records
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 13:00 to 22:00 Monday 15:00 to 20:00
Hours: Weekdays 14:00 to 00:00 Friday 14:00 to 02:00 Saturday 12:00 to 02:00 Sunday 12:00 to 00:00
Hours: Weekdays 15:00 – 0:30 Friday 15:00 – 01:30 Saturday 12:00 – 01:30 Sunday 12:00 – 0:30
4) Tap Stand
Hours: Daily 15:00 ~ 23:30
5) Watering Hole
Hours: Daily 15:00 to 23:30
Review: Watering Hole in Yoyogi, Tokyo