Having first opened its doors in 1997, Shooters is the longest running and most successful international restaurant in Nagoya. But it is not only its longevity that makes this a great place to hang out: It also boasts friendly staff, a well-stocked bar and generous portions of Americana cuisine.
Being a sports bar, Shooters is a great spot to both watch a game (on one of 18 TV screens) or to partake in a little sport yourself, as it has a pool table, a darts board and table football. These get a little crowded, so be prepared to wait your turn, and when the place is really bustling, they may be removed altogether to cram in a few more patrons.
Cocktails range from cosmopolitans to sangria, but the bar staff’s real talent lies in mixing shots, of which there are 25 to choose from — the Bloody Brain being the most eye-catching, with curdled Baileys afloat in fruit schnapps. Shots are ¥500 each (all prices exclude tax), but go down to just ¥390 on Fridays and Saturdays. American beers both draft and bottled are available, as well as a regular rotation of American microbrews and craft ales.
The food menu is plentiful, and picking out favorite dishes is no easy task. The 4 Way Sampler (¥1,290) is a great option for groups, with onion rings, calamari, chicken wings and the ominously named (but delicious) fowl balls. The Classic Shooters Burger (¥990) comes with fries and a salad or coleslaw; Shooters prides itself on its burgers, which are served with the bar’s own special sauce and its “famous” buns.
Its Tex-Mex menu is also extremely popular, with taquitos (¥690), chicken enchiladas (¥1,190), quesadillas (chicken, pulled pork or beef, ¥990), tacos (soft or hard; chicken, pork or beef, ¥390) and a lot more besides. If you can’t decide, you can get a small sampling of everything on the 4 Way Tex-Mex Plate, which is ¥1,890. Burritos are ¥990 with chicken, beef or beans.
Each day there is a unique offer: On Wednesdays, for example, all desserts are marked down to ¥500, while on Sundays peppered chicken wings are just ¥375 for five. This means that the place is busy throughout the week — and outright booming at weekends. The layout makes it seem extremely spacious, so you’ll never feel cramped, and the attentive staff ensure you won’t feel frustrated waiting for your order to show up.
It is no accident that Shooters is so popular. It ticks all the right boxes: great food, a lively atmosphere and an active involvement in the local community, from sponsoring the Diamond Dolphins basketball team to holding live shows. Nagoya locals and visitors alike will find something at Shooters to love.
2F Pola Bldg., 2-9-26 Sakae, Naka-ku, Nagoya; 052-202-7077; www.shooters-nagoya.com; open Mon.-Thurs. 5 p.m.- 1 a.m., Fri. 5 p.m.-3 a.m., Sat. 11:30 a.m.- 3 a.m., Sun. 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m.; nearest station Fushimi; smoking and non-smoking areas; English menu; English spoken. Adam Miller has been living and writing in Japan since 2008. He lives in Nagoya with his wife, his baby daughter and his dwindling whisky collection.