Hey everyone! This is Steph from New Zealand!
I was very honoured when I was asked by Yadoya to organise and host a pub crawl event. Back home in New Zealand I love me a good pub crawl so I was very excited and did a lot of research (drinking) in Nakano for the bars I selected for Thursday night’s event. We began the night at Yadoya Guesthouse Green, to have a few drinks to start ourselves off on the right foot. After introducing ourselves to each other; the guest who came were able to try the homemade Umeshu that Yadoya makes every year, its very delicious and only ¥100 a shot!
At 20:30 we headed off to our first stop, Beer College. It’s very close to Nakano Station, literally just across the road. This was by far the most interesting bar of the night, the whole premise of Beer College is that they serve one type of Kirin beer but with the different serving taps and pouring styles it changes the texture of the foam and also how the beer tastes! There are four main types of beer in the different pouring styles: Beer College normal pour, Second pour, Third pour, and fourth pour. Second pour is my favourite; the second pour has a much finer foam which gives the beer a creamy taste and texture, I highly recommend! Beer College has a lovely and relaxed atmosphere, they offer other options for those who are not beer inclined but also want join in on the fun. The bar owner and his wife are really kind so if you want to get educated in the art of serving beer come to Beer college for some schooling.
Next we set off to our second stop, Beer Kobo. This is my favourite craft beer bar in all of Nakano. Beer Kobo has a chain of bars along the Chuo line which is also a fun pub crawl in itself (pro-tip). At the Nakano branch, Beer Kobo offers a pint of really good craft beer for only ¥500, which is so affordable! They also offer food and everything on the menu is also only ¥500. It has a very fun and alternative vibe, the actual size of the bar is not very big but there are cool spaces to relax in and enjoy your beer. They usually offer about 6 options on tap, Thursday night there was a limited edition Sweet potato beer! It was delicious; sweet and tangy, you can definitely taste the sweet potato flavour! The staff are really cool and friendly, if you are coming to or staying in Nakano, Beer Kobo is a must stop!
Our next stop was EbiMen – EbiShrimp (エビ麺ーイッツシュリンプ) was a last minute edition to our pub crawl, a fellow Yadoya staff recommended this place and you can’t go wrong if you follow Seiji! At this stop we ordered 3 of their largest bowls of Shrimp noodles and let me tell you, the flavour of the broth is enough to send me crawling back. I absolutely fell in love with these Shrimp noodles and I will definitely return again. This place has a few fun games that you can play as well. The first involves you rolling two dice into a bowl, if you get two of the same number your drink is free, even numbers will get you a normal sized drink and if you roll an odd number you pay double but get the mega sized drink; which basically means you buy two drinks. I unfortunately rolled a seven (six and one) so I got the mega drink and let me tell you kids its huge! So if you’re not feeling lucky maybe order a drink like normal but if you’re up for the challenge, give it a go! The other game we played was a card game where you make up names for the characters on the cards, you go through the deck trying to remember all the made-up names while also making new names every time a new character would pop up, if you forgot a name you had to drink. It was a very fun game to play while waiting for our noodles and for me to finish my mega drink. Overall a fun bar with bloody fantastic noodles!
For our fourth stop we went to Abbot’s choice; this is an international bar with that has an English pub feel. I really like this bar for its high class whiskey and craft beer that they have available but with that being said it is a bit expensive but definitely worth a visit because they do have an amazing selection of whiskey and scotch. If craft beer or whiskey is not for you, rest assured they do have cocktails and other drink options available! Abbot’s choice is a great place to visit for a casual drink or nightcap.
Our final destination of the night was Juke 80’s music bar and I really like this bar it has an 80’s American diner/bar feel to it. If you are a fan of old school music and classics; which I most definitely am, this is a must stop! They have an music catalogue in English and you can request any song from the 60’s through to the 80’s for free. the drinks are pretty standard and not too expensive, they were mostly around ¥500. I requested one of my favourite classic rock songs Living on a prayer by Bon Jovi and we requested many more songs, it was such a fun time. I will be coming back to see my close friends Bon Jovi, Madonna and Prince.
Nakano is such a great area to visit, there is just so much to see here. I had many more bars that I wanted to go to for our pub crawl but I couldn’t fit them in; some honourable mentions are Bright Brown Blue & Jazz lounge, Torikizoku (¥298 Izakaya) and Vow’s bar. So if you’re here to stay or visit why not try some of the places mentioned above, grab a drink maybe some food and relax!
Nakano daisuki desu!!!