Editor’s Note: Gambrinus Roppongi closed at the end of October 2019. This review has been kept up for posterity’s sake.
Gambrinus Roppongi The Bottom Line
It’s hard to recommend Gambrinus Roppongi over Two Dogs Taproom mainly because of the prices for the beer and the food but Gambrinus Roppongi does offer up a nice cosy drinking atmosphere with a decent selection of beers on tap. The pairing of tempura and craft beer works well enough that you will eat and drink plenty but it’s worth grabbing something more substantial to eat if you are going to drink a lot as the food portions won’t fill you up. The whole place is non-smoking, the bar has no table charge, menus are mostly in English and in Japanese, with some also free WiFi too. The downside is that prices don’t include tax so make sure you add that on at the end.
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Gambrinus Roppongi The Full Review
Gambrinus Roppongi is the second bar to open under the Gambrinus name, with the first being located in Kokubunji. At the time of writing, we haven’t been to the Kokubunji branch – not for want of trying but it’s a long way for us to go! This branch opened up in the middle of June 2018 and has a focus on tempura and craft beer – but more on those two later.
Gambrinus Roppongi is located about five minutes from Roppongi station as you walk towards Azabu-Juban station. It’s easy to walk past as the sign on the outside is conspicuous by Roppongi standards, so make sure you’re looking up as you walk. There is space for about 25 people instead, with about 10 people at the counter and another 15 or so dotted around the tables. The inside kind of reminded me of a Japanese kushiyaki restaurant – which, after talking with the bar staff, turned out to be what it was before Gambrinus Roppongi. The whole place is non-smoking and there is also no table charge either – two big positives for us at BeerTengoku. The menus are mostly in English and Japanese; but the specials aren’t in English.
There are 20 taps of craft beer at Gambrinus Roppongi, with a split between domestic and imported beers. The range of styles was pretty varied, with IPAs being the most represented; however, there was still other choices going for those who don’t want something bitter or hoppy. The beers come in a variety of sizes as well: small (230ml) from ¥650 to ¥820, large (420ml) from ¥980 to ¥1150, with the domestic beers being at the cheaper end of the scale. There is also a maß (German for measure) at 1,300ml for any craft beer on the menu, with prices from ¥2,400 to ¥3,300. However, there was no tasting flight, nor did any of the prices include tax, so make sure you factor that into your decision making. The beers came with a slight amount of head on them, but don’t be afraid to ask to get them topped up.
Gambrinus Roppongi’s food is based around tempura – one of my favourite Japanese foods so it already gets a thumbs up in that part, even though there wasn’t any chips on the menu. You can either choose from individual items on the menu or a chef’s special. Vegetarians can be happy as there are plenty of non-meat choices, and the staff will even ask you what you can’t eat as to make sure the chef won’t put any of that on the plate. The downsides are the portions are small (prices are per stick) and the portion sizes are small as well.
Gambrinus Roppongi Details
Open: Weekdays 16:00 – 24:00 Saturdays & Holidays 14:00 – 24:00
Happy Hour: None
Homepage (in Japanese): https://roppongi.gambrinus.jp/
How to Get to Gambrinus Roppongi
The closest station to Gambrinus Roppongi is Roppongi station on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line (H-04) and the Toei Oedo Line (E-23). It’s about a five minute walk from exit number 3.