NOW CLOSED WITH A NEW BRANCH OPENING IN SANGENJAYA ‘SOON’
Craftheads is a craft beer and bourbon bar tucked away in a basement on a side street just a short walk from Shibuya station. Given how recently many of Tokyo’s craft beer bars have opened, Craftheads is something of a veteran of the scene. It would be fair to say that the emphasis here is on US craft beer and bourbon, but nevertheless there are still a decent number of Japanese micros on tap. There are around 15 taps and they are split pretty evenly between US and Japanese, with a solitary Swiss micro on my last visit.
Serving sizes vary from beer to beer, but most come in a couple of sizes. The one commonly voiced criticism of Craftheads is that it is expensive and the sizes are smaller than usual, and whilst there is an element of truth in this, sizes and prices are mentioned on the menu, so you can’t say you don’t know before you buy. Also the Japanese micros are generally priced around about what you would expect in most Tokyo places, and some of the US imports are pretty special stuff. As a rough guide, prices for Japanese micros ranged from around ¥600 for a 200ml glass, up to a little bit over ¥1000 for 400ml. US imports are naturally a little more expensive but not excessively so. I got a glass of Ballast Point Big Eye for ¥700, and given how it tasted, I was more than happy with that price. (Update: After the recent increase in consumption tax, the prices have remained the same, but now the 8% tax is added to your final bill. Just to let you know).
In addition to the taps there is also a very impressive selection of (mainly US) bottles. A list can be seen on their website and there is stuff on the list that would excite even experienced beer tickers (Three Floyds, Hair Of The Dog, Alesmith, Lost Abbey). Unfortunately for someone on a budget like me, these are priced appropriately to their rareness and desirability. I have heard that many are private imports so I guess this is not surprising. There is also an extensive bourbon selection, but given that I know nothing at all about bourbon, I can’t really comment on that, so best check the website. Oh, and the food is supposed to be pretty good too, but I haven’t had that either.
Definitely worth a visit if you like Japanese craft or are more interested in US stuff. No smoking and no cover charge, which can’t be said for some other Tokyo places. And if you are feeling particularly flush a great place to drink something that you can’t find anywhere else.
Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
B-1, 神南1-13-10, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
From Shibuya, leave the station via exit 6-2 (follow the signs for exit 6 and then when you get there go up the staircase on the right signposted 2). Turn left at the top of the stairs and walk past Tsutaya. Carry on on this road for a little way crossing at two sets of lights, you will go past OIOI, Seibu and eventually Tower records. At the third set of lights, next to a post office, cross again but also turn left onto the side street. Take the first right shortly afterwards and head up the hill. Follow the road round and again take the first right. Walk to the next corner and Craftheads is on your right just as you turn in the basement underneath a bicycle shop. Harajuku is slightly closer, but the directions are a little bit more complicated. You should be able to work it out easily enough from the map at the link above though.