Today, one of the first Ji-Biru bars I went to in Japan, initially when I was over on holiday a couple of times, and now living here. Baird have four Taprooms dotted around Japan, two of which are in Tokyo, and one in Yokohama and one in the brewery’s home town, Numazu . Have yet to go to the Yokohama one or the Numazu one, but from what I have heard each is fairly unique, but they have similar character and qualities, albeit with some local variations.
The place itself is full-on wood decor. Fairly cosy with seating for around 40 people, some around the counter and with a few high tables as well.
The beer is naturally all from Baird. They have 15 taps (10 regulars and 5 seasonals) and 2 hand pumps (one regular, one seasonal). The regular keg beers are Wheat King, Single-Take Session Ale, Rising Sun, Numazu Lager, Red Rose, Teikoku IPA, Suruga Bay, Angry Boy, Kurofune Porter and Shimaguni Stout. The regular hand pump is Harajuku Ale, which is made only for this location. The other branches have their own house beers too. Glass sizes are 500ml and 250ml for the regulars, and 400ml and 200ml for the seasonals. Prices are ¥1000 for large and ¥600 for small, and very occasionally a little bit extra if the beer is extra high alcohol or extra special. They also do a tasting set of three 140ml glasses of the regulars for ¥1000. Along with this, for regular visitors or heavy drinkers, they do a ‘Nonbei’ card which you purchase in advance for ¥10000, (the price of 10 pints), and which entitles you to 12 pints. Along with the beer they offer a pretty big range of Izakaya style food, (I particularly like the Shimaguni Stout edamame) and at pretty reasonably prices too.
To conclude, this is an all-round decent place. If you like Baird beers or want to try them, one of their taprooms has got to be the best place to go. The Harajuku taproom is a welcome refuge from the insanity of the surrounding shopping areas. Open from 5 on weekdays and noon on weekends, non-smoking throughout and with no cover charge, you should normally be able to get a seat without reserving, but might be worth phoning ahead. Posts to follow on the other taprooms in the area!
Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
17.00 – 24.00, Monday to Friday, 12.00 – 24.00 Saturday and Sunday
ノーサレンダービル 2F, 神宮前1-20-13, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
From Harajuku station, leave via the Takeshita exit. Cross the road and head down the crazy Takeshita Dori shopping street. Take the first left turn and follow the road to the end. The Taphouse is on the right hand corner on the second floor. You should be able to see the window seats from here.