Libushi Bashamichi is the relatively new brewpub and taproom for the Nagano based brewery AJB in central Yokohama. Although you can get AJB beer in quite a few places around the Kanto area, this new place gives you the opportunity to try plenty of taps of their beer in one place without having to go to the mountains in Nagano. I guess having to do that is part of the appeal though! Also, along with the regular AJB beers, you can also get some that have been brewed on site. The brewer here is not the same person as the one in Nagano I believe, but there is definitely a similar theme or feel present in the beers they make. Anyway, here’s what you need to know about the pub part:
- Located on the first floor of one of the historic buildings near the waterfront almost right above Bashamichi station. There isn’t much external signage. I guess maybe this is something to do with the building’s heritage status. Inside it feels very modern and swish. It’s quite big but there’s not so much seating. There’s a counter for about 10 along the front windows and then a separate one with a big communal table for maybe about the same amount. There’s lots of space though so maybe if it gets busy, people will perhaps be standing at the very long counter. Behind the counter at the end near the entrance you can see the microbrewery that makes some of the beers available. There were some snacks available, but I didn’t see them and instead focused on boozing.
- 14 taps of beer available when I went. Three were guests, four were brewed on site and the rest were brewed in their main brewery in Nagano. Beers served in two sizes, half and pint. In their Nagano taproom I believe the pints are UK pints, but I’m not sure if that’s the case here too as I only had halves. Prices ranged from ¥650-¥850 for the half and ¥1200-¥1450 for the pint. The guests were naturally at the top end of these, but some of their own higher alcohol beers were also almost at the same level. Prices have gone up everywhere recently, so it felt like they were only a tiny bit higher than average though. You order and pay as you go at the counter. They had a beer flight of four beers for ¥2400, but not sure how big the servings were.
- No cover charge, daytime opening, maybe WiFi (I forgot to check, but I’m guessing they probably have it).
This place felt pretty swish to me. When I went in they were playing some smooth funky soul from the 80’s which I thought could only be loved by someone who didn’t live though the decade but I am a bit of a music snob. They later played Fela Kuti though, which I thought was much better. Perhaps some might feel a bit out of place here as the clientele seemed to be quite young, quite fashionable and quite confident, (no boxes ticked for me there sadly), but after a few sips I came to quite enjoy myself here. I’ve had a strange relationship with AJB, initially liking their beers, then being massively turned off by the Barrel Aged Series and now coming back onside again. I had three beers here and liked the two made in Nagano the best, but the one made on site was nice too. I think the place is definitely not aimed at attracting me, but I can still see myself popping in there for a couple when I’m in Yokohama. The lack of a cover charge really helps with that and is therefore a great thing!
Japanese breweries on tap when I visited:
Saturday & Sunday, 11:30-23:00
北仲通 5-57-2 KITANAKA BRICK&WHITE South 1F, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken