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Another8: Craft beer, stylish setting, top-shelf fare

by

Special To The Japan Times

Another month, another new craft beer bar throws open its doors in Tokyo. The spread of microbrewed saisons, porters and hopped-up IPAs is inexorable and highly welcome — especially when the venue is as attractive and welcoming as Another8.

Instead of following the standard American or European pub model, this stylish little bar in Meguro has a simpler homegrown look, with clean lines, light wood furnishings and traditional accents. Behind the counter by the door, the beer taps — eight of them (how did you guess?) — are set into a wall with a textured mud finish.

This is a nod to Another8’s Kyoto connection. It’s an offshoot of an equally classy bar in the old capital, a converted machiya (townhouse) called Before9. Reinforcing that link, there is always at least one beer from Kyoto Brewing — and recently this excellent young brewery staged a complete tap takeover.

Another reason to check out Another8 is the food. The bar snacks are classy, ranging from soy-sauce pickles to the addictively munchy home-cooked burdock chips. But there are more substantial cooked dishes that will make you want to linger. The shirasu (whitebait) omelet is worthy of a quality bistro, as are the garlic shrimps. The piquant Sichuan-style chilled tofu (mabo hiya-yakko) is as good as it sounds. And don’t miss the baby back ribs with their juicy meat encased in a rich BBQ glaze.

If you feel the food calls for more of a Japanese accent, just order a glass of sake to go with it. There are eight brews to choose from — almost always including one from Kyoto.

Beer from ¥650; bar snacks from ¥400; Smoking permitted at outside seats; English menu; some English spoken.