LaLaChai The Bottom Line
Hatagaya might not be on your list of places to go for craft beer, but LaLaChai should definitely be on your list you like Thai food or craft beer as it excels in both those areas. The atmosphere and friendliness of the staff was relaxing but not to the point of being annoying. The beers were well-served, and while the prices may seem high, they already include tax and there is no table charge either. For those wanting some food, the food is delicious and the menu has some vegetarian options as well for those wanting them. The whole place is non-smoking and also has free WiFi. For those readers who have dogs, LaLaChai is also dog friendly, as well as family friendly.
LaLaChai The Full Review
I love Thai food and think that there is lots of good places around, but the exceptional ones are few and far between. When Samson The Craft Beer Dog sent a message over about this place, with his thoughts about LaLaChai having great Thai food as well as domestic craft beer on tap, I knew that I had to go. But Hatagaya? I hadn’t knowingly heard of the place before and got lost going between JR Shinjuku to the Keio Line. Hint: You do not need to take the New Keio Line platform at Shinjuku – will save you some time.
LaLaChai is located about 5 minutes from the North Exit of Hatagaya station, on the Keio New Line. It opened in February 2020, right before Covid-19 put many places into lockdown, but it survived through the pandemic with the staff serving up lunch boxes and beers to take away. And I’m glad that it did.
LaLaChai Interior & Atmosphere
It’s very white and brown inside LaLaChai – the walls are white while everything else seems to be brown. It seems to be a common theme in houses in Japan when being redesigned but the main thing I liked about LaLaChai is that it is light and airy inside. The music was loud enough to be heard – an eclectic mix of pop from both Japan and overseas – but not loud enough to drown out conversations.
Inside LaLaChai, there is space for about 20 people – with 6 people at the counter and the remainder at tables dotted around the bar. There is also some small standing room outside, though it is not officially part of the bar, it can be used if the inside gets a bit too full up. The whole place is non-smoking, but that isn’t surprising considering the Tokyo Ordinance for bars to stop smoking in bars and restaurants. There is no table charge at LaLaChai, and there is also some free WiFi for those wanting to give their mobile data a bit of a rest.
LaLaChai Approach to Covid-19
While Tokyo was in the second-wave when I went, LaLaChai were still taking a strong approach to Covid-19, with staff wearing masks and alcohol spray being available to customers to use at their own will. While I went at a quiet time, later on when other people came, the staff were trying to enforce social distancing and separating people when possible.
LaLaChai Taps & Beer Information
LaLaChai has 6 taps of craft beer on, with a heavy leaning towards domestic beers throughout the day. The menu is actually a series of boards above the bar, with the sizes and prices on. The beers come in two sizes: 280ml from ¥700, and 470ml from ¥1,100 with all the prices including tax. The beers were well served in some nice clean glassware, and didn’t come with an extortionate amount of head on top. There wasn’t any beer flight or happy hour though on at LaLaChai.
Now as I mentioned before, I love Thai food and think it is one of the best cuisines on the planet and will happily travel to find some great quality Thai food in Japan. I’m not a connoisseur by any means, but the food on offer at LaLaChai was delicious and not Japanified version of Thai food. The menus are both in Japanese and English, though the latter is only used in the names of the food. Don’t worry, as the staff will happily explain things for you in English if you can’t read the kanji. I went for something unusual – the South Thai Rice Salad and was left feeling both happy and full-up. The flavours were delicious but be warned – the spice levels are hot. I had the one chili rating and it definitely left some heat on the tongue – perhaps not the best food to pair with a craft beer mind. There are numerous vegetarian and vegan options on the menu and the staff were also accommodating in taking things out that I didn’t like.
- Open: Weekdays 11:30 – 22:00 (L.O Food 21:00 Drink 21:30) Weekends 11:30 – 22:00 (L.O Food 21:00 Drink 21:30)
- Closed: Tuesdays
- Happy Hour: None
- Phone: 03-6383-4431
- Homepage (in Japanese): https://lala-chai-thaifood-craftbeer.business.site/
- Social Media: Facebook / Instagram
How to Get to LaLaChai
The closest station to LaLaChai is Hatagaya on the Keio New Line.