Home Bar Review Golden River (Aridagawa / Wakayama)

Golden River (Aridagawa / Wakayama)

by Rob
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Golden River : The Bottom Line

Yes, Golden River is in the middle of nowhere, and yes, you’ve got to drive there so someone is going to have be the designated driver if you choose to drive back. Don’t be like us, book a space in the dorm around the corner of the building and let everyone drink and experience some great beers, wonderfully friendly people, and a very good brewery just across the building from you. And do this outside as well, where you can see all the local dogs come along and stroke them – not much better than that.

Golden River : Background

Golden River has been one of the places that has sat firmly on the list of “I’d really like to go there one day but how can I possibly manage it?” and then, one day, it happened. Driving down to Shirayama, I noticed that the route we were taking took us straight past the town of Aridagawa – the birth place of Nomcraft Brewing. With my biggest puppy dog eyes, and my cutest face, I was taken pity upon and told we could go. It wasn’t just this bar that I wanted to go to though, it was the whole building I wanted to see.

Golden River opened in 2018 and is part of The Living Room complex. The short story behind all of this is that The Living Room used to be Tadano Nursery School; however, numbers dwindled in the local town and it had to close. Very much like Cafe & Bar Blooming in Mishima, the local community wanted to do something to renovate and rejevunate the area, so instead of knocking the building down, it became a local community centre with a variety of shops inside, which includes a wonderful bakery, a nail salon, a dormitory, Nomcraft Brewing, and also Golden River. I love these kind of renovation projects and I spent a good 30 minutes to an hour looking around the building, as they had kept as much of the old nursery school facitilies alongside modern improvements.

If you choose to come here by train, the nearest station is Fujinami and from there, it’s about a 40 minute walk, though you could get a taxi from the station to the complex. Periodically, there is also a bus that runs to a little bit south of the complex, though it rather sporadic, so don’t gamble on it.

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Golden River : Atmosphere & Interior

The concept behind Golden River is firmly entrenched in Portland, Oregon. The owners noticed that people started to gather at a certain brewpub, and soon the place was full. People enjoyed conversation over craft beer that showed them that craft beer plays an important role in drawing people into the local community.

As you step inside, you’re greeted by a lot of wood, a lot of brown and black stools, some super comfortable sofas in the corner that will be very difficult to get off, and a big open space. It’s a very relaxing space to be in, and with some pleasent outside seating area on the mini-terrace, it’s perfect for just sitting and drinking for a few hours. There was some 70s and 80s MoR music playing, and the TV in the corner had some sports on, but it was enough to be heard, just not enough to drown out the conversation.

There was some free wifi for those wanting it, as well as the whole place being non-smoking. Dogs are more than welcome outside on the terrace, and believe me, there are a LOT of dogs that come along. Finally, there is no table charge either.

Golden River : Beer & Tap Information

Golden River has 8 taps of craft beer on, with the majority, if not all, of the beers coming from Nomcraft Brewing – the brewery next door. While Golden River is not techincally part of Nomcraft Brewing, having the brewery next door means that you’re going to get their beers as fresh as they come. The beers come in two sizes: half (240ml) from ¥600 and then US pint (470ml) from ¥900. I didn’t notice any happy hour, nor any beer flights on the day I went. If you want beers to takeaway, you do have Nomcraft Brewing next door, where you can pick up some cans or some growler fills. All of the prices include tax as well.

Golden River : Food & Menu Information

I didn’t eat when I went to Golden River because I went to the bakery around the corner first and picked up some bread and sandwiches from there. There are plenty of food options though, with a heavy leaning towards hamburgers and hot dogs on the menu. In terms of vegetarian food, there were some smaller dishes that you could choose from, though perhaps not as filling as the main dishes of hamburgers. The menus were all in Japanese with no option of an English menu it seemed, though the menus were in simple Japanese so if you can read, and understand, Katakana, then you should be ok.

Golden River : Bar Details

  • Open : Thursday to Monday 11:00 – 22:00 (L.O Food 21:00 Drinks 21:30)
  • Closed : Tuesdays & Wednesdays
  • Happy Hour : –
  • Phone : 0737-53-3005
  • Homepage (in Japanese) : https://golden-river.jp/
  • Social Media : Facebook / Instagram

Golden River : Location

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