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.
This was quite the place. Visited while in Tokyo in November. A little off the beaten path but not hard to get to by any means. Has a big yellow Popeye sign in front so hard to miss walking up to it. Not a large place but they pack them in. Greated at the front by a host who immediately had us seated. We were shown the beer list in English, explained the happy hour specials and the beer board. We were there during happy hour so for every local beer about 30+ on tap, you got a free appetizer which was pretty darn good. A lot of local Japanese craft from all over Japan including their own. The service was quick to re-order and the prices were cheap. You could get small, full pours, tasting small set or tasting big set of 10+ beers along with the Tower of beer if you were really bold. We stayed about 1.5 hours before our dinner and was well worth the visit and deserving of a top 50 beer bar. A must visit while in Tokyo for the craft beer connoisseur
There’s not much to say: if you love beer and you’re in Tokyo, you absolutely must go to Popeye’s. It’s cramped, loud and always busy, but the service is brisk and the selection is an incredible mix of the best Japanese beer and some very worthwhile imports.
Comparable to an anthill. People everywhere, staff everywhere. Service is fast and friendly. Beers are many Japanese crafts and some European and US beers. Sort of expected some Korean, Chinese, Thai... beers as well, that they didn’t have. This is maybe not to be expected though. Met some nice people at our table and had a great time. Definitely recommended.
We popped in during Tokyo Beer Week, the place was absolutely packed. There was some kind of party going on, I believe opening of the beer week. At one point everybody stood up, did a toast and a singalong. Hard to rate ambiance and service in those circumstances. Service was good considering the crowds - we’ve received what we ordered in reasonable amount of time. Impressive tap list, 70 taps, lots of Japanese crafts and some interesting imports. Epic Big Bad Baptist was great. Unfortunately didn’t get a chance to revisit, I’d consider this one a must when in Tokyo.
Certainly a cool place and a must visit. Hardly relaxed, but interesting atmosphere. Good mixture of tourist (and probably expats) and local. Mostly attentive staff. Great selection of Japanese microbrew and tasty food.
Really cool Japanese pub. Kinda blends an English pub with Japanese sensibility. A flight of ten beers is less than $20usd. The free otoshi was delicious. And the beers came within minutes of ordering, despite a packed house. Best selection I found in Japan, but definitely not as large as other first world countries. Definitely worth a visit if you’re in Tokyo though.
---update 2015 Christmas time--- Man this place was a madhouse but oozed convivial good cheer with the master presiding over it all with a beneficent smile.
------ old review from 2009 visit ---- A must if you are visiting Tokyo, they have a tasting set which is great and a fantastic happy hour! During happy hour all beers on the menu marked with a crown come with a free half-dish of food - great value. As everyone says, probably the best selection of draft beer in Japan with friendly knowledgeable staff.