Food & Drink | TOKYO FOOD FILE

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

by Robbie Swinnerton

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.