Underground Craft Beer : The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for the latest hazy beers, or the newest imports, and you live in the local area, then Underground Craft Beer is your best choice – but the addition of a table charge and some high prices means that your time at the bar is going to be expensive. The beer flight was a welcome addition and the beers were served perfectly for the price that they cost. The whole place is non-smoking, has a nice little outside drinking area, and also offers up the chance for you to get some take out beers.
Underground Craft Beer : The Full Write Up
I have to admit that I have never felt the need to stop off at Akabane – in the whole time I have lived in Japan, I have never once felt the urge to visit, even with the plethora of rivers that go through the area. However, since the latest state of emergency ended, I have felt the need to visit places, and tick off bars in areas that I wouldn’t normally go to. Why Akabane? Just because I had heard about this place and they had a beer vending machine.
Underground Craft Beer opened in July 2020, and is located about a five minute walk from the east exit of Akabane Station, which is situated on the Keihin Tohoku, Utsunomiya, Shonan Shinjuku, and Saikyo Lines, so it’s a pretty accessible place for most people to get to. There is also a sister bar just down the road in Jujo, but that is being saved for another journey, another day.
Underground Craft Beer : Atmosphere and Interior
Underground Craft Beer is pretty easy to spot from the outside, as the exterior stands out from the dreary buildings around it. The big bay windows allow lots of light in from the outside, but also help to make it seem a lot larger than it really is, as with the bottle shop taking up the majority of the front part of the bar, every little bit of space counts. There are tables along one side of the wall as well as some counter seating, with space for about 30 people inside. The whole place is non-smoking and there is also free wifi, which comes in handy later. There are some tables outside the front of the store where you can drink, when the weather is a bit warmer though.
The big downside though is if you start drinking after 5pm, which is what most people do, then you incur a 300 yen table charge, which can not be avoided – the staff are adamant you have to pay it and get some food for your “purchase”.
The bar filled up pretty quickly soon after I arrived with groups of local office workers turning up and filling up the tables, though there was music it wasn’t obtrusive or too loud.
Underground Craft Beer : Approach to Covid-19
The bar has some stringent checks going on – alcohol spray and temperature checks for those people coming in to drink, as well as staff wearing masks and customers being separated where possible. Moreover, there is a 2 hour limit for drinking in-store. To reduce risk while ordering, all food and drinks must be ordered by a website that Underground Craft Beer uses, so the free Wifi comes in handy as the site is heavy on the images.
Underground Craft Beer : Beer & Tap Information
Underground Craft Beer is both a bar and a bottle shop, so let’s focus on the first, well, first. There are up to 15 taps of craft beer on at Underground Craft Beer, with a heavy leaning towards IPAs over any other style of beer, though there were both domestic and import beers on tap. The beers come in two sizes: regular (300 ml) from 700 yen, and US pint (473 ml) from 1,000 yen. There is also a beer flight that gets you 3 x 150 ml beers for 1,500 yen, though there are limits to which beers can be chosen. Underground Craft Beer isn’t cheap by any means, but at least you are not paying for an extortionate amount of head. All the prices include tax though.
There is also a selection of bottles and cans at the front of the store, that can be bought to be drunk in store, with an extra charge of 200 yen, or taken away, as well as the vending machine outside the front of the store that drinks can be bought from.
Underground Craft Beer : Food Menu
Underground Craft Beer had a variety of food on, but you have to use their online app to see what is on the menu each day. The main focus is Western food, so hot dogs, chips, and some fish and chips too, though there are some salads and other bits and pieces. The menus were in Japanese only, with only the basic information in English.
Underground Craft Beer : Details
- Open : Tuesday to Thursday / Sundays 11:30～22:00 (L.O. Food 21:00 Drink 21:30) Fridays, Saturdays, and day before national holiday 11:30～23:30 (L.O. Food 22:30 Drink 23:00)
- Closed : Mondays
- Happy Hour : N/A
- Phone : 03-6454-4838
- Homepage (in Japanese) : N/A
- Social Media : Instagram / Twitter