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Craftheads

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

12 Ratings
Ratings: 12
Reviews: 9
rAvg: 4.44
pDev: 9.91%
Taps: 10
Bottles: 0
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

1-13-10 B1 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku
Tokyo-to Tokyo-shi, 150-0041
Japan
phone: +81 03-6416-9474

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
 http://twitter.com/craftheads 

(Place added by: UncleJimbo on 09-22-2009)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 12 | Reviews: 9 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Hachiman:
Photo of Hachiman
4.38/5  rDev -1.4%

Craftheads is a little off the beaten path in Shibuya, but there's a map on their website, and it's not too hard to find.

The room is long and not narrow so there's plenty of space. There are a few seats at the bar, some at hi bar tables across from the bar, and some regular tables and chairs near the door. It's dark and has a relaxing vibe.

The manager is friendly and may or may not want to talk depending on how busy and tired he is (he also owns another bar in Kawasaki). The other staff are friendly but not necessarily hired for their knowledge of beer. But if you talk to them about their interests (I had a good conversation about shoe gaze bands with one staff member who's in a band), they're happy to talk.

The beer selection changes monthly and usually features a few beers that would be hard to find elsewhere in Japan. A couple of months have featured a single brewery's beers on tap, so check the website before you go. Besides the 15-20 beers on tap, there are many more in the bottle. I had my last Silva Stout there last winter *sniff*, as well as some good dark IPAs and saisons.

Other reviewers have called this place very expensive, but remember this is in Tokyo! It's not unusually high, and there are Belgian beer bars here that charge twice as much for a bottle as Craftheads charges for draft. Also, you can order a small size beer if you want to save, or, better yet, try more kinds of beer.

Hachiman, May 17, 2011
More User Reviews:
Photo of briang01
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

briang01, Jun 17, 2014
Photo of shigg85
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

shigg85, May 16, 2014
Photo of Amanda5073
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Amanda5073, Apr 13, 2014
Photo of apbaj
4.6/5  rDev +3.6%

Definitely tricky to find but well well worth the hike uphill and through Shibuya. This basement level bar has great service and even better whales. Every time I visit Japan, I always make it a point to visit Koji (owner) and his staff and see what surprises he has in stored.
Hair of the Dog (bourbon fred from the wood), Darklord (2012), KBS, and other 3 floyds were among the craft brews that I had for the first time in this place.
Cool Locals were also very generous when we got to speaking in "broken English" about their favorites.

apbaj, Mar 28, 2014
Photo of cehollo
4.27/5  rDev -3.8%

Stopped into Craftheads in July 2013 and had a great time. Of course I purchased the $60 bottle of Dark Lord and shared it with a few locals in the Pub which started a frenzy of Japanese beer geeks to start sharing all sorts of other beers with me and my wife. Great selection for Japan, plenty of FFF, lost abbey, Coronado, southern tier and some good locals like Coedo.

As others have stated it is a bit hard to find, use mapquest or ask a local which is what we did.

Overall best beer bar in all of Japan and is not to be missed.

cehollo, Aug 28, 2013
Photo of purdueflyguy
5/5  rDev +12.6%

It's Japan I didn't think I was ever going to get a bottle of dark lord in the states but I got a bottle of 2009 dark lord here. Awesome beer selection. Many whales available. It's pricy but well worth it.

Atmosphere is top quality. This place would put many San Diego beer bars to shame.

purdueflyguy, Jun 16, 2013
Photo of dauss
4.36/5  rDev -1.8%

Closest station is Shibuya, but it isn't very easy to find. I recommend you look on Google Maps and just navigate your way there. The location was accurate and it led me straight to it. It is the basement bar and they do not open until 5pm. We were the door busters, getting there right at 5 and it was empty. By the time we left an hour and a half later, it was starting to fill up with locals.

I happen to stop by IPA week, which had an immense selection of craft beers from the US, all IPA's. I unfortunately did not fly all this way to drink American beer. They have about 20 taps, and they were more weighted to American taps, although the owner, Koji, says he tries to keep it half and half when there isn't an event. They also have an extensive bottle selection and special release bourbons I haven't seen even in the US.

Like most things in Japan, unless you are at the bar, it is self service. You can order at the counter and then bring it to your table. They have an extensive food menu, which seems to be a mix of different cuisine, some Japanese and some American.

Price are on par for Tokyo. For most of the Japanese drafts, it was 600 yen for 250ml or 1,000 yen for 500ml. When I was there, that turns out to be over $11 a pint and nearly $7 for a half pint.

If you are in the area, they got an awesome selection. The owner Koji was nice and gave me some suggestions on other beer-centric establishments I should frequent.

dauss, Jan 29, 2013
Photo of DoomBlasterBerry
5/5  rDev +12.6%

The lay out of this place is awesome, and for being a basement level bar, it gives you a very open feeling. There is free Wi-Fi, and smoking is outside only, a huge plus for me in Japan. The beer is in great condition, and although I didn't have any food on my stop in there, it smelled amazing. The service is incredibly friendly, and I spent some time chatting with the owner. He was really nice, and all about good beer. He has close relationships with some huge names in the industry which is how he gets in Zombie Dust and Hair of the Dog on tap... It turns out he does do some cellaring, but he usually saves those kegs for big events. His tap list was very impressive, not stuff you can find anywhere else in Tokyo, and his bottle list blows most US places out of the water. He has Dark Lord available.... Everything is a bit pricey, but he has to pay to have it all shipped from the US, then the Japanese tax etc... They DO accept tips here, something I haven't seen anywhere else in Japan, which goes toward the staff trying more beer.
The only down side I had to this place was the price. It's a bit steep, but when you realize what you have available in Tokyo, it's worth it.

I will be going back here.

DoomBlasterBerry, Nov 09, 2012
Photo of basica
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Craftheads is off the main streets of Jinan-Shibuya in a sort of back alley so it may be slightly hard to find

First off the ambience of this place is good.. brownish and rustic western style. Great for beer appreciation.

The service is ok and the prices were way high though. On my first trip I got myself a Hair of the Dog Adam and a Dark Lord Imperial Russian Stout 2009. I gasped when I saw that they actually held the Dark Lord, so without a second thought, I grabbed it on a to-go basis.

On my second trip, I had a Green Flash Silva Imperial Stout on the tap and a Lost Abbey Judgement Day.

They had The Bruery's 2 Turtle Doves on the menu too but was massively disappointed that it was long out of stock.

basica, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of snogglethorpe
3.23/5  rDev -27.3%

This is a new place in Shibuya apparently aimed straight at the recent craft brewing boom.

The main reason you'd want to go here is the beer. Craftheads doesn't have the most taps, but they have a decent number (I think 16), and they seem very aggressive at getting interesting beers and putting them on tap. They also have an excellent selection of bottled beers.

The main reason you might _not_ want to go here is the prices -- even for Tokyo, where beer is almost always pretty expensive, Craftheads is really pricey. They try to disguise this a little by charging "average" prices but using much smaller glasses (you basically cannot get a pint here), but on average I'd guess they can be up to 50% more expensive, for a similar volume of on-tap beer, than The Aldgate (also in Shibuya).

It's a new place, and well constructed, with a cool exposed-concrete-and-blonde-wood vibe, but I found the atmosphere a bit on the sterile side; it's very brightly lit and feels almost more like a trendy boutique than a bar. It's on the medium-to-small size, with a nice long and deep bar, and maybe 10 or so smallish tables. The ceilings are very high and with the bright lighting, there's a bit of an exposed feeling; you might not want to come here for a private tête-à-tête.

The food is pretty good, more on the modern healthy side than traditional bar food, but somewhat expensive, with a smallish selection (not unexpected for a beer bar). What I've had there was pretty tasty too.

The staff was only so-so -- the manager was outgoing but had something of an aggressive and slightly grating personality; although he was happy to talk about beer, his eagerness to sound authoritative seemed to outstrip his actual knowledge (I heard him say a number of really silly things about beer, so you might want to go elsewhere for your beer-nerd conversation...). The other servers were friendly, but sometimes seemed a bit lost.

In summary, it's a bit of a mixed bag: they do have an interesting beer selection, but for atmosphere and price, there are better places nearby. I go there sometimes when I see something particularly interesting on-tap on their website, but I don't find myself dropping in casually.

snogglethorpe, Jun 17, 2010
Photo of TylerTallen
4.72/5  rDev +6.3%

Went there during opening weekend, which is perhaps the only reason for the slight dock on service.

The single best bar I have been to in Japan. Koji (or Maikeru-san) really knows what he's doing, and he's brought Japan some of the best craft beers available. Craftheads is the only place (save for perhaps Koji's other bar, Bar Sal's) in Japan offering Three Floyds beer both on tap and in the bottle, so that alone makes the place an A+ in my book. Throw in the other offerings he has on tap, including Stone, Great Divide, Bear Republic, and Coronado, as well as great examples of Japanese ji-biiru like Shiga Kogen, Fujizakura Kogen, and North Island Brewery, and you've got one fantastic selection of beer.

Atmosphere is wonderful. Hand-crafted tables and bar gives the place an incredibly comfortable feel, but very clean and very modern. The staff is fantastic and really make Craftheads a place you are excited to go to.

I can't comment specifically on the food, other than one snack item, and that was the deep fried pasta wheels. Whoever came up with the idea was a genius, because as crazy as they sound, they've become my new favorite bar snack.

A bit pricey, perhaps, but given what it is you're drinking and where you are in the middle of Shibuya, you could do a hell of a lot worse. Offerings of half pint so as to encourage trying other things, as well as not totally destroying your wallet, make the price a slightly moot point, anyway.

All in all, if you're ever in Tokyo, passing through or staying for a while, Craftheads should be on your list of places to go. Hell, skip the sights and just hang out there for the afternoon. You won't regret it.

TylerTallen, Nov 05, 2009
Craftheads in Tokyo-to Tokyo-shi, Japan
95 out of 100 based on 12 ratings.