Food & Drink | TOKYO FOOD FILE

Ibrew Shinbashi: Craft beer fits fine in salaryman territory

by Robbie Swinnerton

Contributing Writer

The cheap, cheerful, crowded, smoke-patinated dives that populate the lower floors of Shinbashi’s Ekimae Building are an enduring time capsule of old-school, after-work salaryman drinking culture. Ibrew’s craft beer pub has only been open there for a year, but its no-frills, low-budget approach makes it a perfect fit.

The furnishings are rough and ready but the welcome is warm. As long as you can get in, that is: With the same competitive prices as at the original Kyobashi location — ¥390 for a half; ¥690 for a pint (plus tax) — and up to 30 different brews on tap, places are always at a premium.

But you can always join the crowd standing outside the entrance cradling their glasses and waiting for seats to free up. Once you’re installed, either at the counter or at one of the tables farther inside, you’ll find the food menu is priced just as attractively.

Small snacks such as macaroni salad or spicy chicken gizzards “peperoncino-style” are as little as ¥190 (or three for ¥490). And even the house-special gyū-suji nikomi — a rich, warming stew of simmered beef tendon — is yours for just ¥390.

Another reason why Ibrew is so popular: There are few other craft beer places in Tokyo quite so close to a mainline station. That makes it the perfect place for a final round or two before the commute home.

Open daily 1-11 p.m. (L.O.); craft beer from ¥421; beer snacks ¥190, dishes from ¥290; Japanese menu; little English spoken