With over 70 draft beers, Popeye Beer Club in Ryogoku offers the largest selection of beer in Japan. This is a great stop for any beer-lover in Tokyo.
Any person who has lived in Japan has found themselves staring at the rows among rows of Japanese beer at a convenience store, not able to choose which subtly different taste they will have for the night. Or when at an izakaya (pub, bar), you order whatever beer is on tap, and you can’t differentiate what it is by the taste. Not so the case at Popeye's with their wide selection of craft beers. I found myself overly excited by the different choices. Did I want a fruity weizen, or a hoppy IPA? Cider or lager? Ale or stout? I couldn’t decide, so I went for the sampler.
For 3,000 yen, I was genuinely surprised when the waitress brought out 10 hardy glasses of beer, ranging from light to dark. The tray was so long that I had to get another table to fit it in front of me. My favorite was the Ginga Kogen Weizen, a fruity Hefeweizen brewed in Iwate Prefecture. Most of the beers at Popeye are from microbreweries around Japan, with a few exceptions imported from the States and Europe.
I happened to visit Popeye on a Monday during their happy hour and was surprised to learn that with a few choice beers, you are served a free side dish. To order, simply choose a beer on the happy hour list that has a crown mark next to it. Those are the beers that come with your free side dish. Some of their choices included half a pizza, ham and daikon radish salad, fried chicken, and sausage, among others. The food is served in generous portions and has a lot of flavor for bar food. As an added bonus, there is no limit to your orders!
Another element that I really appreciated was the no-smoking policy. This is a rare case in Japan. I love beer, but I don’t love the second hand smoke that comes with visiting a bar or izakaya. Smoking is permitted on the outside patio.
There are other choices for food, as well as a selection of cocktails, but the real reason to visit Popeye is to treat yourself to the crafted beers. With a reasonable price and homey atmosphere, I highly recommend visiting during their quiet happy hour.