BBQ MUST be made in store and not from bought – so no places that order in BBQ for you.
BBQ HAS to be the main focus for food in the bar. BBQ with something else is fine, but BBQ as an afterthought is a no-no.
Craft beer has to be on tap and not in bottles – we have no problem with the latter; however, there is no difference then in making your own pizza and buying your own bottles for consumption at home.
Must be in the Kanto area – we’ve extended the area out now as there are some good choices outside of the Yamanote line.
Must have Japanese craft beer on tap – else it would just be a yakiniku listing with beer.
1) Baird Bashamichi Taproom in Bashamichi, Yokohama
Being a Brit, the idea of a BBQ for most of the small nation contains sausages burnt on the outside, and frozen on the inside, alongside some rubbery bits of meat that could be steak or pork. And sauces? Well you’ve got the choice of tomato sauce, some mayonnaise, or salad cream. Maybe some BBQ sauce too. One of the first BBQ places I went to in Japan was Baird Bashamichi Taproom back in late 2011 – and my mind was turned. The selection of meats at Baird Bashamichi Taproom is simple and straightforward, and all well made. The sides also go well with the meats and range from simple staples, such as corn bread and mac & cheese, to salads for vegetarians and also some flammkuchen-like pizzas. The taps are all Baird Beer with plenty of styles to choose from to go with whatever meat or sauce you choose to go with your meal.
2) Hatos in Naka-Meguro, Tokyo
Hatos, located in Naka-meguro, has long been a stalwart in the Tokyo community for BBQ. If you have not booked, it’s also one of the most busiest places for both craft beer and BBQ too – with queues and waiting times upwards of a few hours. It was also the first place in Tokyo to sell pit BBQ style food – with smoked pork sliders aka smoked pork burgers, pulled pork, baby back ribs, and some other specials throughout the year, such as chili, sausages, and other meats like chicken or beef. The sides are basic with fries and salsa, chili beans with corn bread, and the ubiquitous mac & cheese. The range may be narrower than other places on this list, but the food is highly recommended and the craft beer on tap – with Shiga Kogen well represented and also beers from overseas – pairing very well with the meats on the menu too.
Review: Hatos Bar in Nakameguro, Tokyo
3) Smokehouse in Yoyogi-Uehara, Tokyo
Shibuya is better known for fashion than drinking; however, Smokehouse, previously called Urban BBQ Smokehouse, brought BBQ to the Shibuya area, thanks to TY Harbor. While Smokehouse may not be the “first authentic BBQ” as advertised on the Smokehouse website, it does offer up authentic south American BBQ food, with the familiar brisket, sausages, pulled pork, alongside more modern dishes such as smoked chicken, chicken burgers, and also sliders too. As always, you can find the common sides of mac & cheese, pickles, and corn bread, with other options such as grits, smoked nuts, and green veggies. For those people wanting something different, there are also some more unusual offerings for a BBQ restaurant, with fish dishes on the menu too. Smokehouse is also one of the pricier places to go to get BBQ food however the portions are large enough to share for two or three people. The taps are mostly TY Harbor offerings with some guest beers on tap, though there are plenty of styles to choose from.
4) Nawlins BBQ & Craft Beer House in Yokosuka, Kanagawa
Of all places prime for a BBQ place, then a city home to one of of Japan’s largest US naval populations should have been at the forefront. Nawlins BBQ & Craft Beer House opened in 2014, and since then has become a popular place for locals and tourists alike to pick up some BBQ food, and also New Orleans cooking, hence the name Nawlins – the tourist pronunciation of New Orleans. The food is split between both BBQ cooking, with options of Baby back ribs, St Louis spare ribs, Texas style brisket, Chicken legs, Andouille sausage, and Memphis style pulled pork on the menu, along with traditional cooking from New Orleans and southern cusines, such as Po’ boy sandwiches, gumbo, and catfish. There is also a wide range of taps of craft beer, with selections from both domestic breweries and overseas options on the menu too.
5) Midtown BBQ in Kannai, Yokohama
One of the newest BBQ places in Kanagawa that came highly rated – and for good reason. The original branch in Nagoya is often fully booked, and their wagyu brisket sells out so fast that even with a reservation you’re not guaranteed to get some. There are plenty of options for meat lovers – sausages, chicken, ribs, brisket – and the best thing about it is that you can get it to take away if you can’t finish off the portions. Pair this up with a varied selection of domestic and imported craft beers, and you’re set for a lunch or evening of great meat and beers.
Review: Midtown BBQ in Kannai, Yokohama
6) Rise & Win Brewing Co. Kamikatz Taproom in Minato, Tokyo
It’s not all about American BBQ on this list, as the food at Rise & Win Brewing Co. Kamikatz Taproom is based on BBQ and grilled meats, so vegetarians should try getting food elsewhere. However, it’s not your usual American style BBQ, but more traditional with meats grilled over coals – known as hibachi. Japanese BBQ, while often thought to be yakiniku, is far more simpler than that, with coals being used to cook instead of gas flames. The menu focuses on locally grown, and on occasion organic, food sourced from around the area. While Kamikatz beers vary in quality – we’ve had some good ones and some bad ones on the site – there is plenty of choice here, so you can find something you’ll like.