Gremlin in Hatagaya, Tokyo

Gremlin Front

Gremlin The Bottom Line

I had heard many things about Gremlin in the past, from craft beer fans, brewers, and brewery owners so the bar was never going to live up to my expectations. However, for what it is, it is a cozy little place in the basement of a shopping complex that has a decent range of well-served beers on tap, at some good prices, and a friendly owner to boot. The inside reminded me a little of Craft Beer & Whisky Bar Transit, with its dark decor, and movies being played in the background, but Gremlin is non-smoking though. One thing I would suggest though is eating before you come here as there are only some basic snacks on the menu – nothing filling. The prices include tax, and there is some free WiFi too. Just make sure you can read Japanese as none of the menus were in English.

Gremlin Inside

Gremlin The Full Review

Though I travel to Tokyo a lot, I have to admit, Gremlin has been on my radar for a long time now, though I had never made the trip over to Hatagaya for some reason. The area hasn’t really offered anything in the past for me besides having a single craft beer bar, though Gremlin had come highly recommended and others seemed to have liked it a lot when they visited it. Yggdrasil Brewing owner, Davido, has been a big proponent of Gremlin, with the owner leaving him in charge on occasion when the owner has gone away, and sometimes allowing Davido to run metal nights.

Gremlin opened in November 2014, and is located in what can only be described as the basement of a shopping complex. Something like from the 1970s where the old Japanese shopping streets were developed into multi-level complexes and then time has forgotten about them. The building is dark, and dreary, and has definitely seen better days. However, Gremlin sticks out, mainly because of all the empty beer kegs waiting to be taken away.

Gremlin Interior & Atmosphere

There’s no escaping it – Gremlin is dark inside. Dark enough to be able to see others, but if the lights were to go out, then you’d be stumbling around. That seems to add to the mystic. The tables are high and made from cast iron, with wood slabs on top, except there is also what looked like a patio bench inside, and a leather sofa. A very eclectic atmosphere going on. The walls have some (deliberate) stenciled graffiti on which adds to the design.

There’s space for about 25 people inside, with 18 people dotted around on the various stools, patio tables, and sofa, with the others seated at the bar counter. The whole place is non-smoking, something that the ordinance from Tokyo government has done well to stamp out, and there is no table charge as well.

Gremlin Approach to Covid-19

There is none. No alcohol sprays on entering, no social distancing, and none of the staff wearing masks. Well I guess the lack of beer engines being used was one thing.

Gremlin Taps & Beer Information

There are usually 8 taps of craft beer on at Gremlin, with a heavy leaning towards domestic beers, and the occasional import. There are some beer engines for real ales too, but on the day I went, they weren’t being used. Beers come in two sizes: 283ml (Half UK pint) from ¥800, with imports a little higher, and then 473ml (US pint) from ¥1,200. There were no happy hour deals going, no beer flights on offer, and no takeaway beers. The beers were well served and came in nice, clean glassware.

Gremlin Food

There was only a smattering of food on the menu – which being all in Japanese maybe be hard for some people. However, the owner did speak some English so the basics can be explained to you. I would suggest eating before coming to Gremlin though as the menu is just some basic snacks and nothing else. All of the prices do include tax though.

Gremlin Details

  • Open: Weekdays 15:00 – 24:00 (L.O Food 23:00 Drink 23:30) Weekends / Holidays 15:00 – 24:00 (L.O Food 23:00 Drink 23:30)
  • Closed: Mondays
  • Happy Hour: None
  • Phone: 03-6300-5723
  • Homepage (in Japanese): N/A
  • Social Media: Facebook

How to Get to Gremlin

The closest station to Gremlin is Hatagaya on the Keio New Line.

About the Author

Rob

Been drinking beer since longer than I can remember. You can find me in a bar, on the slopes, or doing DIY. I enjoy porters, imperial porters, golden ales, and amber / viennas.

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