Easily claims a rightful place as one of the best craft beer barson the planet. A little off the tourist beat but it’s only 2 minutes from Ryogoku station which is on the JR Chuo line so shouldn’t be too hard. Assualted by a legion of staff in such a lovingly polite and warm way that only the Japanese can do. Whilst there are 70 beers on tap you will likely only focus of 45 - 50 (that is if you are here for a drink and not to tick) given the remainder are small pours (100 to 180ml) at around 800 yen. Of course probably fair enough given they are high end high abv styles. The happy hour deal (ie free smal plates of certain beers) is awesome. Worth getting here early as it seems to fill up quickly. Never have I ever experienced such an upbeat friendly vibe (Rome’s Football pub runs a very close and honest second).
Popeye’s is easily the best beer bar I’ve been to in Japan, and certainly deserves a spot among the world’s best beer bars. Why?
For starters, the atmosphere is great. Tucked away just a stone’s throw from Ryougoku station, the nondescript exterior might lead a few searching for some good brew to pass it by. But inside lies a traditional American pub style brewpub. Sleek counters, wooden tables, appropriate glassware and beer decor- and to top it all off, a huge list of the day’s available brews on tap. Yes, this is proper.
The quality is phenomenal re the beers. I’m originally from the Bay Area and frequent quite a few of the craft beer mainstays there and I still see brews at Popeye’s from the US (and Europe) that I have never seen on tap. Not to mention the unrivaled Japanese craft beer selection.
The service is attentive and helpful. I haven’t gotten into any huge conversations with the staff yet BUT they’ve always been really quick to pour me a brew. And you kill the keg, get 9/10 of a beer- its on the house. Maybe with a complimentary appetizer (which has happened to me twice).
Selection- I’ll just list a few I’ve gotten here on draft:
Swan Lake Weizen
Swan Lake Belgian IPA
Swan Lake Golden Ale
Vamp Imperial Black Ale
Great Divide Oaked Yeti Imperial Stout
Cantillon Geuze (bottle)
Mikkeller Nugget IPA
Augst Winter White Ale
The list goes on... usually 40 on draft and a bunch of bottles are available.
The food is typical pub fare, but with a few extra treats thrown in. Hop infused sausages and emu sashimi are fresh in my memory.
Value- expect to pay about $11/pint. That’s actually good for Tokyo. And the food is a deal.
All in all, if you are a craft beer head and are in Japan, you should not miss this for anything. It will be worth your while.
Visited 5x 2008-2010, most recent visit 11/2010.
World class beer bar. THE place to sample the most comprehensive scope of Ji Biru.
Outstanding staff- if you don’t speak Japanese, and if you are polite and patient, you will find at least one of the staff will help you out. They will help you "tour" through their amazing world of craft beer.
One night, I sat next to a brewer, a young man who had studied in my home town of Seattle, and had wonderful staff on hand that made the night unforgettable. I felt that I was leaving friends when it was time to go. One of the clients even walked me back the subway station!
Ridiculous selection of beers. A great vibe, was humming the night we went, with plenty of locals (actually...all locals except for us). Staff, extremely happy, just add to the whole experience. Can take or leave the food, but hey, this place is all about the beer! If only I could go back regularly, or even once again :(
Fantastic large selection (70 beers on tap). Fine place. Ok large. On certain times you get a small food dish with certain beers -good idea.
They had samplers - but you had to find it on the menu - we got 20 cl. of 12 different beers - that kind of samplers !!
The largest selection of Japanese micros plus imports on draft in Tokyo.
defresh (16) , Japan | January 31, 2010| Updated March 10, 2013
Wonderful place. Occasionally holds unbelievable events - was lucky enough to attend Phred’s beer tasting there. Go here if you like beer and ever are in Tokyo.
Update: Over the years that I lived near Popeye I tended to check in about once a month and I definitely think that my experience has gotten worse. The staff seems more stressed out and less convivial. I also haven’t been as impressed by the selection as in the past - which to say that it isn’t still quite good, just that for all the taps there sometimes doesn’t seem to be anything that stands out.
This is Japan’s beer mecca. Great staff, great beer. And now NON-SMOKING!(Smokers can do so on the balconey though).
Only drawback are the prices (it is Tokyo), and the lack of decent food. However certain beers come with small happy hour plates, so at least it can be free.
jonno (134) , Japan | April 16, 2009| Updated August 1, 2016
The place to go...blah blah.I could just copy and paste most of the comments already left about the place. All you need to know is they have lots of ji beer. Good food. nice people. eclectic customers. enjoy
Top notch place. Out of everywhere I’ve drunk beer, this place would be close to the best. Huge selection of very high quality brews, many of which you’ll only find either here or at the brewery.
I was lucky enough to chat to the "master" on a busy Saturday night and he really seems like he knows his stuff.
The food is quite good without being anything special, but it goes great with the beer and the "Happy hour" between 5 and 8 is well worthwhile.
Not the cheapest place to eat and drink, but you wouldn’t expect it to be (and I’ve certainly paid much more for less).
Overall: no complaints at all, I can’t wait to go back again (sadly, it may not be for a while).