This post used to be a joint post with another Craft Beer Market. Check the other one out here if you are interested. The points that both have in common appear in both posts.
Today, part one on two fairly new Craft Beer Markets (click here for all of the CBM posts in one place), grouped together because there is usually not so many differences between the various branches.
So, both branches have the usual 30 taps of cheap beer in the usual sizes at the usual prices. Most beers are served in two sizes 250ml (¥480) and 473ml (¥780). It’s pretty good that these prices haven’t changed since I first mentioned CBMs on here a few years back. Barley Wines and stronger beers come in smaller serving sizes at the lower of the two prices. There is a ¥300 cover charge but this is easily covered if you have a few drinks as the prices are pretty cheap. Taplists for all the branches are updated daily on the CBM website. Both branches have the usual CBM decor, lots of wood and stone, and both seem to be pretty popular, so get there early or make a booking.
So, the specifics for each branch are below, but if you’ve been to a CBM before you pretty much know what you’re getting. This chain seems to just keep growing so they must be doing something right. I think it’s fair to say that the beer lists have definitely got less interesting as the chain expands. I suppose that they are having to spread the good stuff around a bit more and top it up with less interesting beers and breweries. But many people won’t care as much about this I guess. And even with things being spread a little thinner there still always seems to be some good stuff that I want to drink. I don’t know how long they are going to go on expanding. I guess it depends on how long the beer scene keeps growing. Certainly some people I have spoken to feel that there will be a contraction coming soon as this kind of growth can’t continue forever. Time will tell I suppose.
This branch is in a very convenient location in the Atre shopping centre that the JR station is attached to. This convenience is probably reflected in the longer opening hours. The first thing I noticed was that this place is pretty big too. There is counter seating for maybe 20 and tables for 30 or 40 more. It must be the biggest of all of the branches so far. There is an initially disconcerting but after a while quite comforting big train rumble from the tracks above. The food concept is ‘Okinawa and Chinese’. I was there for three beers early evening on a Sunday and the place was busy and the turnover of customers seemed to be pretty regular. Maybe the location contributes to the feel that it maybe doesn’t feel like somewhere you are supposed to sit for a long time. I was actually told on my way in that I could have the seat for just two hours. Have had this is at a couple of the other branches and personally I think it’s not particularly customer friendly. At least they tell you on the way in though. But this also probably contributes to the place feeling a little sterile and not so comfortable. I think the Koenji branch is definitely superior in this respect. I haven’t felt rushed there when I’ve visited. The ¥300 cover charge is applicable for people drinking alcohol after 15:00, so I guess if you can sneak in before 15:00 you shouldn’t have to pay it. This wasn’t my favourite CBM by a long way. But I can’t say I didn’t know what to expect from a new CBM before I went and should add that they always provide a decent drinking experience particularly if you are looking to try a lot of different beers without spending a lot of money.
Beers on tap (taken from both branches)
Monday-Friday, Lunch 11.00-15.00, Teatime (!) 15:00-17:00, Dinner 17.00-23.30
Saturday, Sunday, Holidays Lunch 11:00-16.00, Teatime 16:00-17:00, Dinner 17:00-23:30
1-1-24 吉祥寺南町, アトレ吉祥寺 東館 1F, Musashino-shi, Tokyo
It’s on the north side of Atre which is attached to the station and opens on to the street. Probably don’t need much more than that. Pretty sure you don’t need a map for this one.