Kyoto, much like Osaka, is a city with a lot of options that this site could never expect to be able to keep on top of. Because of this, until now, I’ve thought that it’s not worth adding Kyoto places as I could never do it to any degree of accuracy. I then realised that this whole site is a mess of contradictions when it comes to places that get added and places that get ignored, sometimes due to laziness, sometimes due to grudges, so I thought I’d just add places that I’ve been to and that I liked. I always say that this site is not comprehensive and in the case of Kansai, this is a massive understatement, so bear that in mind when considering you boozing options. Given that I’ve actually visited these places, sometimes on multiple occasions, you might be able to take that as some kind of recommendation. But remember that in a big city that I don’t go to particularly often, google is still your friend. But google can’t make bad jokes and sometimes thinly veiled snarky comments, can it? But anyway, Kyoto is a fun city to drink in, particularly at the moment as there still aren’t so many tourists there due to the limits on inbound tourism. I realise this isn’t necessarily going to be a good thing for readers living overseas though. Sorry about that!
Perhaps the most well known of the Kyoto breweries and one which has a pretty good reputation. The brewery taproom is currently still under some kind of COVID restrictions. I’ve heard that you have to drink outside and it’s all in plastic cups. As I haven’t been there under these conditions, I’ll add that in normal times, they have the bar area for standing downstairs and some seating upstairs and had about eight taps (maybe… or was it six?…) of their own beer, lots of brewery goods and an occasional food truck. It has limited opening hours so bear that in mind before you go down there mid afternoon on a weekday. Hopefully things will be back to normal soon as even though it was a bit of a pain to get to, it was one of my favourite places to drink in Kyoto.
Kyoto Beer Lab
I’ve only been here a couple of times. Nice riverside location with some outside seating/standing boozing opportunities and a few counters inside too. Has about eight taps of their own beer at decent prices. Seems that lots of them are quite high strength, or at least that was the case last time I visited. We’d also just lost a terrible football match. Both of these things may have contributed slightly to my vague memories of the place. But I will say that I have a generally positive impression of it. Perhaps not particularly helpful. Sorry. You can walk here from the main Kyoto JR station in about ten minutes, so it’s an option if you’re just changing trains and don’t want to stray too far.
A new place for me, which I visited very recently so I’m sure my recollections will be spot on… except we went here after a day of boozing in Nara so maybe not. I think it was an old tea house but is now a brewpub. Very nice atmosphere to the place, with a real traditional feel to it. This must be one of the nicest looking bars around. Serves about five taps of their own beer and has some guests too. Very nice chips/fries with a great selection of different flavourings. Out of the city centre a little but only a few stops south on the Kintetsu line and also near the Keihan line. Really liked this place.
It’s been a while since I last went here but this used to be my favourite place to drink in Kyoto. Corner bar which kind of opens out onto the street, with just some kind of plastic sheets for walls or doors. I guess that maybe I haven’t been here in Winter when I guess it might be a little different. Food and beer selection was always good and it had a stripped back concrete decor minimalist feel to it. Must revisit soon and then I will probably discover that everything I have written here is now factually inaccurate.
Just round the corner from Kyoto Beer Lab, this is a bar that prides itself on having some local taps and some other Japanese craft. I was really smashed when I went here about a year ago so can hardly remember anything, but I remember it being nice. Not sure about prices… They have food and the place felt kind of like it was on the comfortable side of classy. But yeah, all of this might be completely wrong…