Bakusyu Club Popeye

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Bakusyu Club PopeyeBakusyu Club Popeye
34 Ratings
Bakusyu Club PopeyeBakusyu Club Popeye

Type: Bar, Eatery

2-18-7 Ryogoku, Sumida-ku
Tokyo-to Tokyo-shi, 130-0026

03 3633 2120 | map

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Added by UncleJimbo

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Ratings: 34 |  Reviews: 26
Photo of TurdFurgison
3.95/5  rDev -13.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

This bar has the best draft selection I've seen in my limited experience in Tokyo. There were 40 taps, 3 hand pumps, and a selection of American and Belgian beers in bottles.

Like most places in Tokyo the place was small and crowded. There was table seating for maybe 40 people tightly packed and seats at a small bar for maybe 6-7.

The Japanese microbrews (ji-biiru) were pretty good, much better than the Kirin and Asahi I'd had with dinner most of the week.

If you're in Tokyo I recommend you try this place. It's relatively easy to find near the Ryogoku station on the Sobu line.

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Photo of Sixpoint
4.54/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Photo of UncleJimbo
4.58/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Popeye "beer club" is a pub serving a large number of Japanese micros on tap, as well as quite a few imports on tap (e.g., Rogue Ales and Hair of the Dog). This place is almost one of a kind in Japan in that regard.

If you don't speak much Japanese, ask for the English menu. The owner, usually behind the bar, speaks some English, and the staff usually understands English to some extent.

They run "happy hour" type specials in the evenings from 5-8 pm: get a free appetizer with each beer on that day's list. Prices are typical for Tokyo. You can become a member of the club, entitling you to a 2% discount on your tab (free membership).

It is located near the Ryogoku JR Train station on the street that runs parallel to the train station and to the south(?) (it is also an easy walk there from the Ryogoku subway station). If you exit the JR station at the West exit, turn left, walk a very short block, then turn left again, Popeye is on the right 40-60 meters.

If you visit Tokyo, you really should try to visit Popeye!

Some of the brews that were avail. in Oct. 2002:

Eichigo (Pilsner, Stout, Pale, Kolsch)
Asahi (Super Dry, Stout)
Shinano (Dragon Ale)
Nasu Kogen (Scotch Ale, 9-Tailed Fox)
Wao (Old Scotch Ale)
Minami Shinshu (Dunkel Weizen, Crystal)
Ohotsk (Mild Stout)
Hakusekikan (Marriage Ale, Brown, Barleywine, Crystal)
Fujisakura (Weizen)
Yona Yona Ale
Hinotani Kogen (Weizen, Barleywine)
Iwate Kura (IPA)
Ise Kodoya (Pale)
Hida Takayama Karumina
Baird Brewing Co (Teikoku IPA, Kurofune Porter)

In addition they had:
Hair of the Dog (Ruth, Fred)
Redhook IPA
Rogue (Barleywine, Brutal Bitter)
Wolaver's Organic (Pale, Brown)
as well as various Belgians and other European standards.

June 2003. Still great. 45 taps + 3 cask beer engines. Prices are up, though.

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Photo of shivtim
4.6/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

When I visited Tokyo in 2007, I didn't have a chance to visit Club Popeye, so I made sure to stop by on this trip.

We had just a slight bit of trouble finding the place, because we took the subway, and the Ryogoku subway stop is not in exactly the same place as the JR Ryogoku stop. Luckily it was still pretty easy to find, and only about a ten minute walk. It's clearly marked from the outside; you can't miss it.

We went on a Friday evening, so it was crowded. Luckily a table opened up almost right away, and we were swiftly seated. It's actually a lot larger than I was expecting. Much larger than most Tokyo izakiya and bars (which are like closets). It's a nice space, with lots of wood and random beer things on the wall. We were in a little area to the right that's slightly separated from the main space. It was pretty cozy; there were two other people at our table. There is also a very small outdoor area, which was partially enclosed with a tarp and some heaters since it was chilly.

The whole place seemed to be non-smoking, which was a pleasant surprise for Japan.

The selection was very good. They variously claim to have either 40 or 70 on tap. I'm not sure of the actual number, but there was a wide selection ranging from IPAs to barleywines to stouts. Most were Japanese micro brews, but there were several European beers and a few from the US west coast. All that I tried were fresh and served up in proper glassware.

Service was great, as to be expected with Japan. You won't have one specific waiter/waitress, you can order from anyone, which keeps things moving really swiftly. I don't speak Japanese, but didn't have any problems. All of the staff spoke enough English for OK ordering.

Food was good. I had an assorted sausage plate, which included hop-infused sausage. We also had some yakitori with noodles and a tofu/tomato salad. The salad was particularly good.

It's said that the Japanese really open up once they're drinking, and I certainly found that to be true. The 50-something guy next to us started talking to us in limited English, and even gave me his business card and complemented on how he liked a particular American beer - "Michelob premium." He described my barleywine as "triple strong." Meanwhile the younger guys on the other side of us were enjoying some high gravity Japanese craft brews and having a boisterous conversation.

The prices are high, but that's because it's Tokyo, and because the US exchange rate sucks. Beers ranged from around $6 for a 9oz pour of some varieties to around $16 for some of the higher gravity options. Most fell around the $8 price point for the small size. Food is expensive but not exorbitant. You can easily drop $100 on two people if you have several pints each and eat a full meal. I mark this place as "very expensive" only when compared to the US. For what you get, it's actually a good deal for Japan.

Overall it's a fantastic place. I put it almost on par with the best loved beer bars in the US.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.48/5  rDev -1.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Photo of eawolff99
4.61/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Photo of 31Sam13
4.75/5  rDev +4.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Photo of snaotheus
4.65/5  rDev +2.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 2.75

Not sure if I should rate this "for Japan" or "world wide". I think I'll go with "for Japan."

This is a beer place for beer people. It's awesome in that regard. I have the impression that no one accidentally wanders in -- people who love beer seek it out, and those are the only people there. In terms of Japan -- it's Japanese. Small, crowded, hot. Loudest place I've been in Japan, I think, but I don't typically go out to bars here. [In terms of beer camaraderie, this is truly a world class place]

The beer selection is unbeatable in Japan. No one can compare. I came here looking for jibiru (Japanese craft), and I found it. [Comparing with my experiences everywhere, they have a good selection -- lots of locals that can't be found elsewhere]

Service is good for Japan. You do have to be aware of Japanese service at bars -- typically you ask the server to come to you (or shout out your order to the server). In Japan, there are no penalties for doing this, because it's expected. I was amazed that they moved me more than once and were still able to get my tab perfectly correct. [Worldwide -- probably the hardest working, most dedicated staff I've seen, but I'm not a fan of this Japanese style of service. Demanding attention is not my cup of tea]

Food is not so good, expensive, and small portions. I'd recommend going on a full stomach.

I had a great time at this place.

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Photo of bobsy
4.9/5  rDev +7.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Absolutely amazing bar, and the best place in Japan (and maybe even the world) that I have been to! Extremely friendly welcome from the entire barstaff, who yell out 'irrashimase' as soon as you enter. The service from then on is first class - always available as soon as you need anything, and extremely informative. In fact I'd go so far as to say this is the best service I have ever seen in a bar. The selection of beer available is impressively large, and I did count 70 taps on the menu, none of which were out when we asked for them. Four casks were available - three on handpump and one on gravity. The variation and diversity of styles was very refreshing to see considering the mundane blandness of Japan's macro scene. Every beer was also in very good quality, including the casks. Food was very good, although we only opted for the half plates that came with ordering certain marked beers during the happy hours period of 5pm to 8pm (a good strategy considering that the beer is on the pricey side).

Awesome place and very highly recommended. I'll be back!

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Photo of amano_h
4.55/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I don't understand reviews of this place claiming that Beer Club Popeye isn't focused on Japanese beers when around 55-60 of their 70 taps are dedicated to Japanese beers.

That having been said, yes, you read that right. Popeye has 70 beers on tap, with four of them being cask engines. In case that thought hasn't quite sunk in yet, let me put it this way. The only place that I know of that has more beers on tap than Popeye is the legendary Falling Rock Taphouse in Denver, CO which has 75 beers on tap rotating on a regular basis, has hosted Cantillon's Zwanze Day on multiple occasions, and was one of the first bars outside of Northern California to ever receive Russian River Brewing Company's well sought-after Pliny the Elder on tap.

Whereas Popeye isn't quite as legendary as Falling Rock just yet, they have all the makings of a world-class pub (they've also won RateBeer's coveted best pub in the world award twice, but that's beside the point) -- their 70 beers on tap are well thought-out covering a wide range of varieties including Pale Ales, IPAs, Fruit Beer, Weizens & White Beer, Strong Ales, Stouts, and a small section they've labelled "imports." Popeye also brews their own beer through their proprietary brewing company "Strange Brewing" whose offerings are immensely popular among the locals and the regulars.

For those that are overwhelmed by the choices available or simply can't be bothered to screen through all 70 of their currently available beers, Popeye also has the "Templer Set," a sampler set of 10 carefully curated beers based on style (70ml each) for only ¥1700. You can also upgrade to a bigger version of the Templer Set for ¥2900, but I don't recommend this unless you really like what they have designated that day as the Templer.

The appetizers are great but a little lacking in terms of portions to be honest -- certainly not enough to soak up all the beers one usually ends up drinking here :)

Come for the beer, stay for the beer.

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Photo of CBA
4.68/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

Worth every yen spent. I'd go every night if I could afford it. Perfect size, outstanding & knowledgeable service, good atmosphere, and local craft beer out the wazoo. If there's one place you go to in Japan for beer, make it Popeye's. Got to try some of the Oktoberfest brews, and a fantastic hand pump Swan Lake IPA. Although they've got quite a few US & Belgian beer on tap, it's the locals you obviously want to focus on. The best part is the list of Barleywines & Old Ales on tap - the 2004 Hakusekikan barleywine was outstanding as was the Nine Tail Fox. The izakaya style small plates served with your beer (between 5 & 8pm) is also greatly appreciated. Kudos all around.

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Photo of MrMcGibblets
4.36/5  rDev -4.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

this place was phenomenal overall and most welcome after a week in japan with no craft brews. located very close to a JR station and the national sumo stadium. stop by the zori (japanese sandal) shop a couple blocks away while you're in the area. walking in felt like walking into one of the best beer bars stateside-lots of cool beerphernalia adorns the place; things like an empty sixer of westvleteren (they didn't have any) and the full line of anchor winter ales in champagne-style bottles. beer related items are everywhere and constitute the entire decor of the place. i also saw signed photos of michael jackson and the founder of stone. also, smoking is allowed. service is very friendly and helpful, this being japan. one of our servers mentioned that he liked 3F's after we told him we were from chicago and also that he bought a gumballhead for $30 (yes, thirty dollars US) at an import shop. he was quite knowledgeable about beers and clearly had tried everything there. he was not only able to give good recommendations but also willing to advise which beers were mediocre. there is an updated beer menu but the chalkboard can be outdated and the tap handles misleading. approx 70 tap selection consists mostly of japanese ji-biru and craft beers from the US, belgium, germany, england, etc. of the many beers i tried (most are available in 9oz or 14 oz sizes), the best was a beer brewed by the owner-a dry-hopped ipa-one hopped only with summitt, the other saaz. great stuff. large bottle menu as well but i did not have a chance to get into that. food was good, i even got a couple of pieces of pizza free during happy hour. prices range from abour $6-10 US per beer, mostly dependent on size. it was great to see many japanese enjoying different craft brews. an absolute must-visit for any beer lover that is anywhere near tokyo.

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Photo of JayTheFinn
4.05/5  rDev -11%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Visited Popeyes during my recent visit to Japan. Had a dickens of a time finding the place. We went around and around it, but kept missed the place and had to ask directions. Their street address situation is hard to understand for foreigners. But when we got there and walked through the front door we got the usual warm Japanese welcome topped with an English pub style boisterousness. That softened our sore feet a bit!

Great selection of beers, most impressive was the Belgians. See Rogue on a beer list thousands of miles away for where its made was an eye opener! But I was more interested in trying Japanese beer, so a got a cask conditioned Echigo Stout. It was good stuff, if a little light in flavor compared to the stouts I know and love.

The food is "pub grub" of a sort. I mean, there's a Japanese flair of course, but also they do a few neat variations on the standard stuff. Most memorable was that their fries tasted like they'd been battered in beer-making grains! And they were quite tasty! I got one of the appetizers, the mini lamb steaks w/bacon which was great, and my wife got the fish and chips which she said was delicious.

If you're in Tokyo and hankerin' for good beer this is your place. Just make sure you have reliable directions before you go!

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Photo of soulgrowl
4.47/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

The main draw to Popeye is their forty taps, two or three of which deliver gravity-pumped real ale. Most bars and restaurants in Japan serve only one draft beer, so the sheer quantity of taps is reason enough to pay Popeye a visit. But it gets better: all forty taps pour craft beer, mostly Japanese with a handful of American offerings thrown in for good measure. Not only that, but their range of styles is remarkably wide: mighty barleywines, lively IPAs, mellow wheat beers, balanced pale ales, crisp pilseners and rich stouts have all found a home at Popeye, not to mention the deliciously bold "IBA" ("India Black Ale"), a sort of porter-IPA blend brewed by the bar's proprietors.

I must say that Popeye's real ales were disappointing; the Yona Yona, so creamy when I had it on cask in Osaka, was weirdly watery and stridently carbonated, and the Swan Lake didn't deliver the cask-conditioned nuance I was hoping for, either. But the real ale letdowns were easy to forgive and forget after a glass of Hakusekikan's brandy-esque Hurricane Barleywine and a pint of Baird's hop-charged, nitro-tapped, smooth-as-velour Shimaguni Stout. Mmm!

Upon leaving Popeye, I had successfully fulfilled my beer goals for the week, and it was only Tuesday. This is absolutely your one-stop shop for draft beer in Tokyo - no, in all of Japan. Easily, and highly, recommended.

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Photo of dougnboston
4.28/5  rDev -5.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2

I like this place. Not "easy" to find, but with a little study, you can get there. "uncle jimbo" posting below has good directions - it is NOT near Tokyo Station as the other poster says. From Tokyo Station you'll change trains once to get there, but that is easy.

I had several beers, but the one I really liked was their own - IBA - India Black Ale. It is a highly hopped beer, like an IPA, but it is as black as a stout!

Don't miss this unique bar. It shows the Japanese Beer Culture quite well - a far cry from the bland pils you think of from Japan.

Happy hour is a very good deal and you'll get a 50% off on a return visit.


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Photo of Naerhu
4.85/5  rDev +6.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

This by far the most amazing beer pub in Japan.

Extremely convenient from tokyo station. Just two stops from Akihabara.

Very relaxed izakaya (pub) style establishment. Everyone very friendly, the waitress even gave me a hug goodbye. Service is excellent.

Food is good, but it uninspired.

40 beers on tap, half a dozen cask, half a dozen real ale. Amazing stuff. Most of the beers are japanese craft brews, but maybe a third are not.

Just as an example of their selection, this is what I had:

Sam Adams Utopias
Old Crustacean
Taiko Ale
Special Echigo Ale
Swan Nitro Porter
Rogue Brutal Bitter
Hiroyuki Special Espresso Porter

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Photo of sharkboy
5/5  rDev +9.9%

Photo of jeranbrews
4.45/5  rDev -2.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

For Tokyo, a city of 30million, this is probably the best Beer-nerd friendly place you will find.

This is a little place by a station called Ryogoku in Tokyo. If you're a tourist visiting Akihabara or Asakusa this is worth the $1.5 for the train ride.

They have a menu of about 30-40 beers on tap that rotate monthly. About 80% of those are domestic.

If you are looking to try some Japanese micro-brew and or craft-brews this is a good place to visit.

The owner Aoki-san is a man well traveled in Beer on multiple continents. He gives his staff rigorous training in beer styles and what foods they compliment.

There is a happy hour value-set until 8pm each night. The menu is a little expensive by Tokyo standards and very expensive by N. American standards. But tasty. All original recipes made in their kitchen. The owner also includes a few interesting items cooked using various beers. Like beer ice cream and stout stew.

The staff is very friendly, but they are also very busy, don't expect to have them listen to your life story. They don't really speak English, so knowing more Japanese will help, but they don't turn away people. And they aren't afraid of new people or new ideas. Make sure you get a seat at the counter so you can talk beer.

I go hear once a month and if I were making more money I'd probably go every-other-day. You can always try at least one new beer there, and come away with a light wallet and heavy sense of beer nerd accomplishment.

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Photo of hoegaardenhero
4.8/5  rDev +5.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

i can`t stress how much of a must visit this is for beer lovers in tokyo. the bar has a very classic hometown pub feel with a few japanese touches and has 40 beers on tap, mostly japanese, with cask and nitro offerings. i got a 5 half pint sampler of 5 japanese cask beers that was great. i found the service to be knowledgeable about beer and friendly and they give you labels that show what beers you have drunk so you don`t get confused by all of the japanese names. prices are reasonable for tokyo. the only problem is that it can be a little difficult to find without a good map. overall excellent.

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Photo of shigg85
4.83/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Absolutely the best bar i've ever been to! Friendly, boisterous staff with a bar crew that KNOWS their beers! The Hop Heart injection system is really an amazing feature that you should definitely inquire into! Food is great with decent portions (especially the Happy Hour combos with drinks). Prices are pretty low for Tokyo standards. The best selection of barleywines i've ever encountered. Lots of mix between Japanese, American, and some others thrown in. Love, love, LOVE POPEYE!

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Photo of crwills
3.93/5  rDev -13.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Best beer location I visited in Tokyo, by far. A wide variety of interesting Japanese micros on tap, from which I sampled eight:

Isekadoya TripelHop Pale Ale
Yona Yona Pale Ale
Fujizakura Rauchbier
Divine Vamp 3 "India Black Ale"
Shimaguni Stout
Baird Wheat King
Baird Workingman's Dark
Hakusekikan Hurricane

Happy hour specials are great, and include a choice from about eight different dishes when you order certain beers. Essentially, I tried a bunch of smaller pours (all of the above were half pints, except for the BW which was 100mL) and got more than enough food for free to make a dinner out of it.

Nice looking bar, too, with lots of parapernalia. Service was OK, although this is understandable since I speak about 10 words of Japanese and there were obvious communication issues.

Definitely, DEFINITELY visit this place if you are in Tokyo. It's worth going out of your way.

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Photo of tjumfrid
4.4/5  rDev -3.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

Great selection of Japanese beers, plus some american crafts as well.

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Photo of Plughfish
4.54/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

I had the opportunity to visit this pub on a recent trip to Japan for my brother in law’s wedding. We spent a few days in Tokyo before the wedding and I was able to persuade the family to go to this fantastic beer bar.

Popeye’s was easy to find even with our limited knowledge of the Tokyo subway system. It is only a couple of stops from Tokyo Station.

The pub was small with a relaxed atmosphere. To our surprise we happened to show up during “Happy Hour” where you can get a free appetizer with each beer on that day's menu. The food menu was pretty decent offering various pub food favorites. This was nice for some of the less adventurous eaters in our group.

I don’t think I need to say this but the service was excellent.

They have a nice selection of Japanese micros as well as some world beers. Here are some of the beers that we had during our visit. The prices were a little steep for some of the beers but as I understand it typical for Tokyo.

Baird Brewing Co (Divine Vamp III Black IPA, Rising Sun)
Yona Yona Ale
Hakusekikan Hurricane (Barleywine, Brown, Crystal)
Echigo Stout
Swan Lake (Amber Ale, IPA)
Fujisakura (Weizen)

If you are in Tokyo you must make this on your list of things to do.

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Photo of SargeC
4.78/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Not just one of the best beer spots in Japan, but one of the best in the world. The atmosphere is very welcoming, although getting a table can be challenging. It has been packed every time I have gone. The beer is served promptly and properly. The service is great. On one beer I ordered, the keg ran dry, the bartender gave me that last half a glass when he came and asked if I wanted something else.

I like the variety of delivery methods employed; they have regular tap, nitro tap, hand pump, cask and the "Hops Heart" that infuses the brew with extra hop goodness. They serve a good cross section of Japanese craft brewed beer. Impressive selection of out of the way bottled brews as well. The food is unique; I enjoyed the hop sausage and the chicken. Portions are small, but they do offer a half plate with every beer during happy hour.

Easily accessible from either the JR line or Toei line Ryogoku station. The map on their website is good. Plenty of good ramen shops around the station to stop in afterwards. Worth a pilgrimage any time you are in Tokyo.

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Photo of kofukasho
5/5  rDev +9.9%

Tokyo's finest beer bar. It's not cheap by any means, but compared to similar bars in the capital it comes out on top because of its selection, atmosphere and service.

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Bakusyu Club Popeye in Tokyo-to Tokyo-shi, Japan
Place rating: 4.55 out of 5 with 34 ratings