Stopping at a bar after work to simply have a beer and relax is very enjoyable. It’s something I miss from my time in Europe, where it was easy to find a bar like that at random in a terminal station or elsewhere.
Having a chat and a drink is enjoyable, but sometimes it can be difficult to keep track of what you are drinking when you’re engrossed in conversation. You may completely forget what you were drinking. However, a station bar like this provides a perfect place to take a break. It’s even better during the late hours when everything in your mind can be left behind and you can refresh yourself before going home. It’s like taking a shower after exercising; you cleanse yourself in a metaphorical washing machine.
Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, it is difficult to find a bar like this anywhere in Japan, even in Tokyo. It seems that the pub-style beer bar is not a common part of Japanese drinking culture. However, one of my favorite places to visit is the British style bar Clash in near Meguro Station, formerly known as Tavern. It is located on the second floor of a building on the side street of Gonnonosuke-zaka, which is a big sloping street. When you exit Meguro station from the east exit, take a left and walk down the slope. It is easy to find, and a short walk will lead you there.
Drinking at a bar in Japan can sometimes be an uncomfortable experience, especially for visitors from overseas, particularly if you happen to visit one that is not accustomed to first-time visitors. However, the beer pub style is more likely to be open to anyone and welcomes guests from overseas as well. These bars are usually run by young people who are excited to meet new customers.
The uncomfortable experiences I mentioned are not necessarily frightening, but rather include difficulties in communication if the bartenders are not proficient in English, or if there is no menu available and you are unsure of what to order. Sometimes, the ordering system may be unfamiliar to you. Additionally, some bars may not accept credit card payments or have unfamiliar rules such as a table charge once you are seated.
Despite these potential issues, drinking at a place in Japan is generally enjoyable, and you will get what you pay for, as long as you avoid certain establishments that specifically target foreigners, like girls-related bars or similar places that may aggressively approach you on the street.
The bar Clash in Meguro is really nice in my opinion. Firstly, the place is comfortably spacious, unlike many bars in big cities in Japan that try to squeeze customers into small corners. Perhaps they do this to save space for larger groups later on. This is understandable considering that Japan is a small island country with high land prices. However, unlike Hong Kong, Japan cannot build taller skyscrapers due to the risk of earthquakes. Nonetheless, this bar stands out because it was built by a former owner who focused on making craft beer and has since retired. Not only is the bar spacious and comfortable, but they also serve delicious craft beer at affordable prices, which the owner makes nearby. Lastly, I appreciate the lighting. In Japan, some bars are over-lit, making it uncomfortable to enjoy drinks. In contrast, this bar maintains a dimmer, more relaxed atmosphere. Overall, the bar offers a hint of an overseas environment, similar to one in Hong Kong, and I recommend anyone who come to visit to have a look in especially if you stay in the neighborhood. The location map I will attach below for reference.