Ryuda The Bottom Line
If you have plenty of money to spare, and you’re looking for somewhere fancy to impress someone, a craft beer bar may not be your first choice. However, with Ryuda, you can pay a fortune for some beers that you can find cheaper less than 5 minutes walk away, and also get some food – while simultaneously impressing the company that you’re with. It’s a shame really, as there are very few places in Tokyo, let alone Japan, that try to offer up some pairing of craft beer and Japanese cuisine. The prices are some of the most expensive I’ve come across in Japan for craft beer with perhaps the only two saving graces being all prices include tax and that there is no table charge. For those who are still interested in going, the drink menus have a smattering of English on them, while the food menu is Japanese only. There is also some free WiFi as well for those that want to use Google Translate or Maps to find somewhere cheaper.
Ryuda The Full Review
After having a few beers at Craft Beer Tap Fam333, the owner recommended walking towards Shinjuku to find some more bars – with Watering Hole and Ryuda being on his list of places to go. Ryuda is not an easy place to find – do you sense a familiarity here? – and it was only when the security guard of the building that Ryuda is located in pointed out that I ended up finding it.
Ryuda is located about 5 minutes walk from JR Yoyogi station, and can be found just across the road from what I thought was the headquarters for the Japanese Communist Party – an unusually flex to put into a review but perhaps it will help people identify the bar. The owner used to work at Ushitora 2 in Shimokitazawa, but left as he wanted to focus more on Japanese cuisine and drink pairing – something that he felt that he could not achieve at Ushitora due to the nature and size of the bar.
Ryuda The Full Interior & Atmosphere
Ryuda was one of the most aesthetically pleasing bars that I have been to, and it stems from that fact that its ethos is food and beer pairing. As you walk in, there are two many places for customers to drink at – a small standing area and then a counter area that resembled an old sushi counter – the kind with its refrigeration unit on top so you can see the catch of the day. Except this one has meat and vegetables in. At the time of writing, there is space for 8 people standing at the entrance, 5 people at the counter, and then a couple of tables at the back for 6 people overall. The whole place is non-smoking and has no table charge either. As mentioned in the Bottom Line, there is also some free WiFi to connect to with the details around the bar.
In terms of music and background, there was some light gentle foreign radio on the go, with a varied genre playlist going on, but it was hard to hear it over the conversations in the bar.
Ryuda Approach to Covid-19
As soon as you walk into Ryuda, there’s alcohol spray that you have to use before taking your seat or standing space. However, while the bar does employ some social distancing, there are no barriers between the food preparation area and drinking areas. The usual capacity of the bar has been halved, with the counter seating area only have space for 4 people and the tables at the back of the room only for reserved groups. All of the staff were wearing masks too on the day, in spite of the recent unusual upturn for people to be wearing those unusually mouth guards that you see in Costco.
Moreover, to compensate for the lack of sales, beers can also be bought to takeaway though there was no difference in prices for those bought in plastic cups.
Ryuda Taps & Beer Information
There are 10 taps of beer on at Ryuda, with all of them dedicated to both domestic and imported craft beer. However, and this must be said, Ryuda is not cheap by any means of the imagination. It probably ranks in the top 5 of most expensive places in Japan for craft beer though no doubt someone will try to out-do Ryuda. Beers come in three sizes: small (250ml) for ¥1,000, medium (310ml) from ¥1,150, and then US pint (473ml) from ¥1,400. Thankfully the prices include tax but there is no rhyme nor reason to the pricing really. The beers are well-served mind, but without a happy hour or beer flight option, then it is going to get expensive very quick to drink at Ryuda.
Ryuda Food Information
I didn’t have any food at Ryuda because it was course option only. With the concept of food and beer pairing, the menu changes daily and it’s up to the owner to decide on the daily offerings. There are choices for vegetarian options according to the owner. The menu though is in Japanese only for the food options.
- Open: Daily 14:00 – 20:00 (L.O Food 19:00 Drink 19:30)
- Closed: Check social media
- Happy Hour: None
- Phone: 03-6804-6002
- Homepage (in Japanese): https://ryuda.owst.jp/
- Social Media: Facebook / Instagram
How to Get to Ryuda
The closest station to Ryuda is Yoyogi, on the JR Yamanote Line or Kita-Sando on the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line.