Bakushu-an: Nighttime nibbles served by the pint

by Robbie Swinnerton

A mound of oysters on the half shell, with a pint of intense hop-driven IPA on the side. It’s a combination that could well get to be a habit this coming winter, if we can only get over to Otsuka more often, to the cozy little Japanese-style tavern known as Bakushu-an.

As the name hints (bakushu is the old Japanese word for beer), there’s an excellent choice of brews: 10 taps dispensing draft ales and porters, all from craft brewers around the country.

Enthusiasts of premium sake will also have no complaints: There are 150 bottles crammed into the fridge here, many of them rarely found in central Tokyo.

Besides those delicious oysters (both domestic and imported; pictured right), Bakushu-an also has a good selection of obanzai, prepared side dishes both hot and cold. There’s enough sustenance here, both liquid and solid, to keep you happy well past the last train — if you can put up with the old-fashioned wooden seats that are so small they could have been made for Hobbits, that is.

Bakushu-an, Yoshimatsu Bldg. 2F, 2-27-1 Kita-Otsuka, Toshima-ku, Tokyo; (03) 3915-450; Open 6 p.m.- 2 a.m. (Sun. and holidays 3-11 p.m.); closed Mon. Nearest station: Otsuka (JR Yamanote and Toden Arakawa lines). Japanese menu; little English spoken.