Hoppin’ bars, eateries & a beer museum
Ebisu doesn’t have much to offer in the way of shopping or exciting cultural finds, but it’s a treasure trove of great bars and restaurants.
One of the most fun, authentic and cheap places to get a taste of Tokyo is Ebisu Yokocho, a warren of tiny eateries that winds through a building near the train station. Inside, it feels like time has stood still for over half a century, and you can order up everything from workingman’s hotpot to two-tone “Darktop” draft beer at the little open-fronted restaurants that line the narrow “street.” It’s bright, it’s loud, and most nights it draws a happy eating and drinking crowd.
Or, if you’re in the mood for something quieter, how about Medusa, where jellyfish and sharks swim lazily in wall-sized tanks? Quiet and dark, it’s a killer date spot.
I also highly recommend Ebisubashi, a bar that’s off the beaten track, but boasts a cozy secret room behind the bookcases that line the walls. When nights are warm, the who front wall opens up to the night, and they project flickery old movies on the wall opposite, for a distinctly vintage vibe.
My favorite burger joint in Tokyo is also in Ebisu, so if you want to taste the best burger in the world, get yourself over to Blacows. It’s not Japanese, except in the way they’ve studied the humble burger with laser-like intensity and come up with the perfect homemade bun, the tastiest black Angus beef, a wicked house sauce and a cornucopia of condiments that’ll knock your socks off.
And if you’d like a little history and beer engineering lore before your meal, you could do worse than stop in at the Yebisu Beer Museum in Ebisu Garden Place.
Nearby destinations: Ginza, Harajuku, Japan Traditional Craft Center, Kamiya-cho, Roppongi, Sengaku-ji, Shibuya, Yoyogi Park, Zojo-ji Temple
Jonelle Patrick writes mysteries set in Tokyo. The fourth one is just out in paperback…