There are few good reasons for staying in Tokyo through a long, punishing Japanese summer. But there are a few consolations. The heat and sweat are a lot more bearable if you know that once night has fallen you can be sitting outside, with a light breeze in the air, cool music on the sound system, a cold drink in your glass and good food on your plate.

That is the promise — and the pleasure — of an evening at Hatos Bar. This laid-back, arty hangout has been open a year and a half already, but so far it's managed to fly under most people's radar. In large part that's due to its location, hidden away on a quiet residential backstreet on the outer fringe of Naka-Meguro. Now, finally, the word is starting to spread.

Make that three words: beer and BBQ. If that doesn't sound like summertime, then nothing does. And not any old beer: Hatos Bar only stocks full-flavor craft ales, both bottled and on draft, from small-scale regional microbreweries. These are intended not for chugging down to slake the thirst but for leisurely sipping and appreciation.