It has been hot again today. With the sun finally setting and the long day finishing, you want just a quick drink before going home. You want to gulp down cold beer quickly missing several trains. Not a long stay, but in the bar, before bounding for home. Who in the world would accept this selfish request? The perfect solution is Tachinomi, (stand-drinking.) Here are some excellent standing bars in Kyoto where you can enjoy leisurely lone drinking!
Suiba, Tominokoji Rokkaku (in Kawaramachi)
Suiba, within a stone’s throw from a little square in Sanjo tera machi. Through the transparent glass door, you can hear and feel bustling atmosphere inside. Its appearance is just like the one of ordinary Café & Bar, from which you might expect superb original blend coffee for \600 a cup. One step inside, many types of men enjoy drinking close together. Tachinomi is no more for the Showa borns, but has turned into the bar attracting all ages, young and old, men and women. Clean-looking counter and bright lighting, contemporary interior deco attracts any man in the street. Occasionally, a long queue of customers waits patiently outside, and a pleasant looking waitress will lead you inside. Leave everything to her. She will make room for you in a flash.
Looking at the menu at the counter, you will be surprised at cheap beer, maybe below cost. Splendid for beer fans. As it is a bar, it has a sufficient list of drinks such as plum, yuzu, apple wines which are popular with ladies, in addition to classic Japanese Sake, Shochu, Highball. A dramatic acquaintance between young people born in Heisei era with a glass of Yuzu wine, and elder people with Masu, Japanese sake drinking cup, may come up.
List of dishes is also plenty. I would usually go for Sashimi, but why don’t you try its signature big fried crab stick here? On top of it, they will always give a great treat for your tongue with their seasonal dish such as puffer fish, girella punctata. I personally recommend potato salad. Potato salad has become such an accurate measure to judges the deliciousness of the restaurant that it is said eating potato salad can give you overall level of the restaurant. That of Suiba, is delicious, which means that according to this measure, dishes here are all delicious. This is true. You yourself can come and try some to find out if this is true.
I remember a Caucasian standing next to me the counter once before. Standing on the other side of the man, was the tall Asian belle. They looked like a well-matched couple, I thought. All of a sudden, the belle bit on the fried mackerel and gulped it down with beer. The time stopped. A few seconds later, I stealthily looked at the Caucasian. He was still dumbfounded. They were not a couple or anything like that. Just the tourist and the business woman on her way back home from office. At this right moment, I came to understand the real meaning of the bar name. “Suiba.” “Sui (posh) ba (spot)”. I have no idea what this Caucasian thought but I wanted to tell him that this is what posh means in Japan.
Address (Japanese): 京都府京都市中京区大黒町７７番地 河村ビル １F
Address (English): 1F Kawamura Building, 77 Daikokumachi, Nakagyouku, Kyoto
Trading hours : 17:00 ~ 24:00
Close : Wednesdays / the third Thursdays
Website : http://www.suiba.jp/
Heso (near Kyoto station)
Heading north to Higashi Hongan-ji Temple from Kyoto station, a melting pot of races. Every one of big fans of drinking, however, would ignore this temple, so-called ‘Higashi-san and naturally be turning right at Shichijo-street, that would be leading you to “Tokyo Shinbashi Heso Kyoto at station.”
This bar is the best for busy business men as it came from Tokyo Shinbashi, the mecca for a quick drinking, attracting aged business men hurrying back home with stand drinking space outside the bar. You can see and hear them laughing no matter how hot or cold the day is. Heso is more entertaining facility than its neighbour, Pachinko. It would give another hard blow on those who try to endure its attraction, with Croquette, sold at outdoor stall for take away customers. You can either bound for home eating hot croquette, or bring them home for your family. Heso is not a big bar but has a strong Shinbashi strategy.
In daytime, Heso turns into Soba stand-eating spot, serving set lunch and even Sake as well. Its strategy is so effective that you can’t help visiting there both day and night. Heso targets not only aged man but also young generations. One night, I saw a young lady coming in, seemingly waiting for her boyfriend, I expected. No sooner had her Sake and dish been ready in front of her, she started eating. She was the lone drinker, unnecessary to wait for someone else. She eats and drinks well, quite satisfyingly. Heso, a clean, warm, timbered stand-drinking and eating bar, is open to everyone.
High accessibility draws in a lot of foreigners, who may find it hard to imagine how Japanese dish looks and tastes, even with its English version menu. Probably, they will just point to your dish and ask for the same. It was fried sardine in my case.
There are abundant lists of Japanese dishes, such as Kushikatsu, Sashimi, Takoyaki, Mentaiko, sea urchin, Kani miso, Wagyu, and the like. Why don’t you take this opportunity to make an acquaintance with good looking foreigners wandering near Kyoto station?
Drink list is also sufficient. Dassai must be most appealing. As Asahi sake maker, the maker of this Sake, insists that Dassai is not for hinge drinking but for delightful tasting, you can try its tasting set. Dassai, a souvenir presented to former president Obama on his visit. It might be the task for local Kyoto people to taste Sake of Japanese top brand together with foreign tourists. Cheers to the acquaintance with Heso.
Address (Japanese): 京都府京都市下京区真苧屋町２０３
Address (English): 203 Maoyacho, Shimogyouku, Kyoto
Trading hours : 11:30 ~ 23:00
Close : Always open
Website : http://www.cleargate.co.jp/heso/
Standing bar, Inaseya (near Kyoto station)
If you are a commuter using Kyoto station, why don’t you drop in at “Inaseya”, located in Shichijo Higashinotouin, within walking distance from Kyoto station. No matter how exhausted you are, you will never hesitate to drink cold beer. Inaseya, a popular and famous since its launch, always has a queue at the weekend. Through the glass door, are bustling atmosphere and passion of the chef. Such prosperous bar will surely be offering something to satisfy you.
Inside the bar, in addition to business men and tourists, are the group of ladies in gown, probably on their way back from wedding. The standing bars nowadays, know how to attract chic ladies, and particularly, Inaseya is refined enough to welcome all ladies dressed in either casual or formal.
Though crowded, a pleasant looking waitress quickly led me to the counter on the wall. Looking back at the kitchen, are the chefs of elan, each of them working briskly in their own position, at the bar counter, at the fryer, and at the Sashimi slicing table. What makes the store this busy must be its cheap drinks and reasonable, delicious dishes. Reasonable enough for every customer to order more than enough. On the rectangle black board above the kitchen counter, are the long list of Japanese, western, Chinese dishes. Too many to make choice. Now, let’s forget it that I’m on diet. Never leave that in mind once you are in the bar. Have a glass of cold beer for \280 (the cheapest cost in Kyoto) and then try some ajillo, marinade, fried prawn with mayo and nuts.
Here is Bakudan, (meaning bomb in Japanese, originally Korean alcoholic drink called Poktan-ju), red and sparkling. In post-war times, a young man, now an old man, might have approached to pretty ladies with this Bakudan at the stall. He must have been an Inase (refined), handsome gentleman. Looking at the ladies in gown, I thought of how refined gentlemen and ladies had begun their romance in their time. Slowly, it is growing late in Higashinotouin.
Address (Japanese): 京都府京都市下京区 東洞院通七条下ル真苧屋町２２０−８
Address (English): 220-8 Maoyacho, Higashinotouindori Shichijo Sagaru,
Trading hours : 15:00 ~ 23:30
Website : http://www.inaseya.net/index.html