Today, a place I was slightly conflicted about visiting. Actually slightly is an understatement. Revo is a new brewery at the bottom of what I think is a big new APA hotel in Yokohama. If you don’t know about APA hotels, well… maybe it’s best that you should do your own research and make up your own mind about them rather than have a beer blog tell you what they think about it. Needless to say, I didn’t have the ‘I am THE president’ beer that they make with the special glass for my own political reasons. But undermining my own political objections, I did visit, have a beer and then a flight. Bear in mind I did this all for you reader, so therefore it’s neither of our faults, but I do deserve some kind of compensation for selling out my politics so cheaply. Or maybe some kind of punishment. But I’d obviously rather get the compensation (Paypal donation button on the right…). Here’s what you need to know (with no more mention of anything political till the end).
– Big place in the bottom of an APA hotel. So big that I couldn’t see all of it from my bench seat quite close to the front door. Doesn’t really feel like a hotel bar though. In my limited experience, I’d say it reminds me more of a US brewpub judging by the size and layout and I think perhaps that’s what they were aiming for, given that there’s lots of US craft beer paraphernalia around and a few US craft beers on tap. Going by the Tabelog entry, there’s room for 220 here. Massive! 70 in the bar area on a mixture of high communal tables and a dockside window counter. The ‘dining’ seats… who knows. I didn’t see them, but it’s fair to say that I was quite shocked when I read 150 dining as I had no idea so much could be hidden round the corner.
– Pretty big tap list and slightly unusually, they are a new brewery who is actually brewing! Guess their financial clout helps when it comes to applying for the license. They had 10 of their own beers on tap in a variety of styles (if by variety you mean different kinds of hazy beers). That’s probably beer gripe number one for me as I’m not really a big fan of hazy beers. If you are though, and many people are, you’ll be well served here. Even the table beer was hazy, which was a bit of a shame. But they were alright though, so I’m not moaning too much about that. Along with their own beers there were nine guests which were split roughly 2 to 1 between US imports and Yokohama breweries. Gripe number two is the pricing. On the surface it seems not too bad, but on closer inspection it begins to look pretty expensive. There are a variety of sizes with different beers being served in different sizes, but not necessarily in the way that you might normally imagine. For the simplicity’s sake, I’ll just mention the pint and half prices. Halves (US halves, 236ml) ranged from ¥650-¥900. US pints were between ¥1000 and ¥1200. So yes, for one beer at the top end of that range you were getting half as much for 3/4 of the price. Guests ranged from ¥680 to ¥800 for a half and ¥1150-¥1350 for a pint. Although they did appear to have a sale going on with up to ¥300 being cut from the guest pint price for some beers. All a bit random really, especially considering they were selling their own beers at a higher cost than some of the US imports. They also have a beer flight available featuring 4 x 100ml of their own beers (which they select, not you), for ¥1300. There are also some cans and bottles available to take away. I guess perhaps these prices don’t seem so outlandish to some people but…
– Cover charge of ¥300 after 17:00 daily. For you ¥300 you get absolutely nothing. Not even nuts. You’re just paying to sit down. Although presumably you still pay even if you stand. Bit of a rip off to be honest. But at least they state it fairly clearly on the menu. Also stated on the menu is the fact that they add tax at the end. Admittedly it’s the most expensive scenario, but if you went in for a quick US pint of one of their hazy IPAs you’d end up paying ¥1650 at the till, which is pretty outrageous really. They have wifi and they have daytime opening (but shut mid afternoon during the week according to their hot pepper page, but not according to their Facebook. Hours below are from Facebook). The music was quite fun in a rock/punk way. There are smoking areas, but I think they are behind glass and closed doors so were really not noticeable.
This was quite a nice place and I enjoyed some of the beers. I can’t really recommend it that much though as the pricing was pretty horrible. If money is no object, go ahead. But there are lots of other places that charge a lot less. The view from the bar across the dock was nice, but I’d rather drink in a windowless basement and not feel ripped off if I’m being honest. Add to this the dubious politics of the APA hotel owner and figurehead and you’ve got a recipe for a bad taste in the mouth. Although I should stress that the beers probably won’t leave that, it’s just the other things. If I’m wrong with my presumption and there’s no connection between the companies, I’ll take half of that back, but I’d be pretty surprised if they weren’t linked in some way, given the size of the brewery and its location. As my friends in the previous pub had treated me to a couple of beers (thank you!), I saw this as a kind of financial free hit, so perhaps was not as upset by the prices as I am now, but I did still approach with some apprehension because of the politics. I guess I’m a hypocrite going here, but perhaps it was worth it to spread the word and give you a true picture before you visit. Of course, for some people neither the cost or the politics will matter, but unfortunately for me it did. And now, as I’ve just checked the owner’s wikipedia page to try to give these gripes some context, I feel pretty disgusted with myself for going here at all. I won’t go back and would urge you to read about the ‘controversy’ before you consider going yourself. Or if you want, put it all out of your mind and go ahead if what I’ve described sounds appealing to you.
Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
海岸通5-25-3, Naka-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa-ken