Beer 24/7/365

May 25, 2008

This woman’s T-shirt says “Beer24/7/365”. Apparently she drinks beer every hour of every day of every year! (Well, with a single day off every leap year.)
Sounds fun but I’m not sure I’d advocate a mix of uncontrolled alcoholism and sleep-deprivation – it might be quite bad for you.

Deadly Serious Bar Names

April 10, 2008

When bar-owners scratch their chins and try to think up appealing names for their establishments, they usually want words which seem inviting and up-beat. Bright and breezy words like Cheers, that bring forth images of parties and good times, names that would draw in customers like moths to the flame. Not so in Japan!
Take, for instance, Refrain. When you want to let off steam and go a little nuts at night, the last word you want to hear is “refrain”. It’s a word you’d normally see on a list of petty rules on the wall of a swimming pool.

“When you are in this bar, please refrain from eating, talking, drinking, smoking and chewing gum. Strictly no fun allowed!”

Speak Low is a bar with a name that would be more suitable for a library. I can imagine a waspish woman sitting behind the bar, hissing “shhh!” every time you open your mouth to speak.

There is another bar in Tokyo called Prison.

What less pleasing environment could you imagine for a Saturday night party, than a cold, sterile jail cell? A sign on the website says “welcome to prison.”

That’s as terrifying a phrase as I’ve ever heard. I wonder if, for the sake of authenticity, there is a tattooed psychopath waiting to attack you in the toilet. Don’t drop the soap when you’re washing your hands!

Despite the ominous names, I’m sure all these bars are perfectly fun places to hit. Names can be deceptive. I mean, look at Goofy’s Bar. With a name like that, you’d expect the walls to be covered with Disney pictures, whoopee-cushions on the seats and a buck-toothed guffawing moron behind the bar, whistling “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”.
Wrong! Take a look:

More Yokohama Bars

March 21, 2008

And now, for the benefit of anyone who might be planning a visit, is another list of various western-style bars in Yokohama city.


This quirky bar is decorated from floor to ceiling with retro record sleeves, has glass cases full old toys and vintage Americana, and shows 80s music videos on a big screen. As a tasteless nostalgia-addict, it’s just my scene!
The food is terrible and the drinks are overpriced but, mysteriously, there are always many more women than men in this place, which is a very attractive selling point.
Players Bar


A friendly British pub, which was recently relocated from an obscure suburb in the outskirts of Yokohama to the much more central Kannai district, The Full Monty has lots of imported ales and stouts on tap, as well as commendably large and authentic fish n’ chips and meat pies. The landlord is similarly authentic- a large, rosy-faced, bald, football-fanatic.
Despite the name of the place, there are (mercifully) no male strippers in attendance.
Full Monty British Pub, Tonnan Bldg 2Fl, 1-4-2Tokiwachou, Naka-ku,Yokohama-Shi
Tel: 045-212-2974


The Green Sheep is an Irish pub, conveniently close to West exit of Yokohama station (and directly next to the cheesy 80s soul club, Bar Luther, where you can go dancing afterwards.)
As the surreal and cute name of the place suggests, The Green Sheep is run by Japanese folks rather than actual Irish people so, while the menu and atmosphere aren’t very authentic, it has a pleasantly off-kilter, Japanized vibe. They serve the delicious “Yona Yona Ale,” and have live music events.
The Green Sheep
The Green Sheep, 1F, 2-10-13 Minami-saiwai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama 220-0005
Tel: 045-321-0950


A poky little bar located down an obscure side street near Yokohama station, The Last Waltz is themed around Country Rock Bands like The Band and The Eagles. This kind of music is fine accompaniment to a few slightly pricey drinks (and some tasty fish and chips). It’s worth popping in here for a change of scenery once in a while, but you might get economy-class-syndrome from being cramped against the bar if you stay too long.
Last Waltz


For a thrash-metal-themed watering-hole, this joint is far more sophisticated than you might expect. I mean, check out the tasteful picture above! Even though they blast out heavy-metal tunes by the likes of Slayer, Pantera and Sepultura, the decor in Thrash Zone is subtle and the barman is very up-beat and welcoming. A weirdly incongruous blend of two worlds, (which is something I always enjoy). More importantly, Thrash Zone has several rare and scrumptious local micro-brewery beers on tap! It’s probably the best destination in Yokohama for beer-fans, even if you don’t like thrash-metal.
Thrash Zone
Paseri Bldg 2F, Tsuruyacho 2-19-8, Yokohama
Tel: 045-514-9947.


The best-known British pub in the area, this underground boozer shows live sport, and has a happy hour every weekday- all-you-can-drink Australian beer and selected cocktails from 6 to 8PM for 1900 yen. They also do an excellent traditional carvery on Sunday lunchtimes- all-you-can-eat roast beef and lamb for 1500 yen. Yum yum! A fine destination for gluttons. The Tavern also has carpets, barstools and wallpaper straight out of Coronation Street, and a middle-aged purveyor of appalling puns behind the bar.
The Tavern B1 Nishiguchi Meiwa Bldg, 2-14 Minami Saiwai Cho, Nishi Ku, Yokohama.
Tel. 045-322-9727


A perennial favourite for ex-pats and tourists, Stoves, not far from the West exit of Yokohama station, serves up burgers and tex-mex food, and has a lively, party-time atmosphere. I generally only go there if I’m in the mood for some daytime drinking, because they have half-price drinks from 12 until 5PM every day. Nice!


Located directly above the unique Characters Bar (a delightfully weird flea-market/bar I frequent), Party Animals is worth popping into if you’re in the area. Contrary to the bar’s name, the atmosphere inside is relatively subdued- you wont be forced to wear a toga and pour beer over your head while screeching “party on, duderino!” shortly before perpetrating a panty-raid, smoking super-skunk, and super-glueing a naked nerd to a comatose donkey… Unfortunately.
They have got a dart board though. And alcoholic beverages.
Party Animals
Kikuya Bldg, 2F, 1-19 Ishikawachyo, Naka-Ku, Yokohama-Shi 〒231-0868
Tel: 045-664-3434

You can read about some fun and bizarre novelty bars in Yokohama here.

Little Cat

February 18, 2008

The Italian restaurant below took my interest not because they spelled “Italian” with an “R”, but because its name is not Italian but English, and it has nothing at all to do with cuisine (unless they serve kitten pizzas.) Apparently the Japanese obsession with all things cute even infects the restaurant industry!

Painless Dentist

January 30, 2008

Thanks to Frank for this picture of a weirdly-named dentist’s in Yokohama. The sign looks like something you might see hanging outside an old British country pub. “Ye Olde Dentist.” Perhaps it’s painless because they’re tranquilizing the patients with pints of brown ale.

Toilet Trouble

January 18, 2008

Visitors to Japan find much amusement in the high-tech toilets. You know, the sort of futuristic robo-crappers that C3PO might drop his techno-turds into. Tourists point and guffaw at the heated seat and the panel of buttons so complex you need a pilot’s license to operate.
I wasn’t laughing, however, when I was puking into one of them the other day.

In a state of drunken delirium I had blithely missed my last train home from Tokyo after a frenzied drinking session, and had to stay on my friend’s sofa. His classy new apartment was equipped with a space-age lavatory and, early the next morning, I was kneeling in front of it, miserably spewing up the acidic contents of my guts. I felt bloody awful and deeply regretted the three pints of gin and tonic I had knocked back towards the end of the night.

After some considerable time I finally stopped heaving and I reached blindly for the control panel to flush the toilet. However, as I fumbled feebly with with the buttons, I somehow made the mistake of operating the bidet function instead. As the sudden jet of scalding hot water hit me in the face, startling me and drenching my shirt, I sorely missed the traditional, cold porcelain toilets of home.

Wanko Menu

December 17, 2007

There are two reasons not to eat from the “wanko menu” at this cafe in Tama Plaza, Yokohama. A: It sounds like the chef’s been jacking off into the soup, and B: it’s dog food. “Wanko” means “puppy.” It seems that serving pricey gourmet grub to chihuahuas and dachsunds is the latest development in Japan’s obsession with cute, fluffy creatures. This is my second wanko food sighting in a week (check out the wanko ice cream, a few posts below.)
I wonder how “cute” these pooches will be when they look like bloated, sweaty, hairy grubs, waddling and wheezing down the street, laying turds the size of boa constrictors! If that happens, poor old Fido will quickly be replaced with whichever animal is featured in the latest hit TV commercial.
Remember, kids, a wanko is for life, not just for Christmas.