Opened fairly recently, Yona Yona Beer Kitchen is the Tokyo taproom of Nagano’s Yo-Ho brewery. Situated in a slightly swanky shopping complex opposite Akasakamitsuke station, it’s a fairly swish place, with plenty of seating (120!), which seems to be aimed mainly at the local salarymen and women to go to for work do’s. Not to say it isn’t worth checking out, especially if you like Yo-Ho’s beers, but bear in mind that when we visited it was fully booked, so you might have to pick your time wisely.
From a beer point of view, you won’t be surprised to hear that the focus is on Yo-Ho beers. They had eight regular taps and two handpumps of their own stuff varying from the widely available to some more obscure selections. In addition to this, they had one special (their own beer) and four international guests (Thornbridge, Epic, Left Hand). Beers come in a variety of sizes, but the majority are offered in regular (400ml), and small (looked around 200ml) glasses. In addition to this, the two handpumps were served in medium size (probably about 300ml), as were the guests. Regular size costs ¥680-¥730, small, ¥450-¥480, and for the two handpump beers, the medium was ¥730. Guests were all ¥850. The prices look pretty reasonable, but you have to consider that the majority of them are their own beers and they also are in smaller glasses than most other places. The pricing did make me feel a little like it wasn’t really aimed at me, or possibly even at people who weren’t putting things on expenses.
I’m not going to go into too much detail in this post, as I think I’ve pretty much mentioned most of the things you need to know. If you love Yo-Ho beers, this is the place for you, and they do have a few that you don’t see around very often. The guests felt a bit uninspiring for me, but maybe I’m a snob, or maybe I was unlucky. It’s another place in what is becoming a crowded market in Tokyo, and I had a nice enough time there, but can’t really imagine I’ll go back very often. However, there is no cover charge and, almost unheard of in Tokyo, it is open all day! So, maybe I will be back after all. (One thing though, apparently they don’t serve between 15:00 and 16:00, so if you want to drink at these times you have to be in there and order before 15:00. Bit of a strange policy!) Oh, and sorry, the photo is especially bad this time!
Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
東急プラザ 赤坂2階, 永田町 2-14-3, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
For once, some really easy directions! Go to Akasakamitsuke station and leave by exit 10 (turn left at the top of the escalators). Cross the main road and Yona Yona Beer Kitchen is on the second floor of the Tokyu Plaza complex opposite the station. Because it’s so simple, it’s not really worth putting a map on here. Just cross the road!