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Mikkeller Tokyo: Danish flair in deepest darkest Dogenzaka

by

Special To The Japan Times

Everybody likes a happy ending, especially when the story involves one of Tokyo’s most popular pubs. That’s why many cheered when Mikkeller Tokyo announced its return this spring.

A year after calling it quits in Shibuya’s Udagawacho district, the Danish-based craft beer bar has reincarnated. And this time it has the perfect location to match its idiosyncratic brews — in Shibuya again, but this time up the hill in Dogenzaka.

And what an inspired setting: A two-story, open-fronted property with a Miami-inspired Deco-look kitty-corner from a Shinto shrine and cheek-by-jowl with all manner of colorful adult-only establishments. Mikkeller’s founder, Mikkel Borg Bjergso, flew in to witness the relaunch in late April led by general manager Hamilton Shields and his crew.

As before, the bar boasts 20 taps, about half of them dispensing Japanese microbrews and the rest Mikkeller’s own distinctive custom-made range. If you have never tried its sharply acidic spontans (spontaneously fermented sour ales), stridently hoppy IPAs or deep, dark, dangerously alcoholic imperial stouts, prepare to be amazed — and, with alcohol levels rising well above the 10-percent mark, to become seriously inebriated.

Thankfully, Mikkeller Tokyo also has an in-house kitchen. There’s usually a small range of good smorrebrod (open-faced sandwiches), including vegetarian options to go with the pork and excellent fried fish versions. For greater sustenance, look to the frikadeller, pan-fried meatballs in the Danish style, which are plenty hearty enough to get you back down the hill in time for the last train.

English menu; English spoken