Alternative beer gardens

When the department store rooftop doesn't cut it any more...

Alternative beer gardens

Shokuyasu Shoten

Location, location | The gourmet option | A break from the norm

A break from the norm

Tokyo Bay Noryosen
Trust us: you haven't lived until you've got drunk in a yukata on a pleasure boat wending its way around Tokyo Bay. The ¥2,500 fee includes all the booze you can drink, and there's a ¥1,000 discount Monday-Thursday if you come wearing a yukata. It's both one of the tackiest and most dumbly enjoyable things you could do all summer. Daily, 7.15pm departure. July 1-Sept 25. Venue details

Hilltop Hotel
Ochanomizu's 'hotel with personality' houses its summer beer garden in the same space it uses for wedding ceremonies at the weekend. With pews flanking the long tables, it's like getting drunk in your school chapel, if your school was actually a Butlins holiday camp. The prices are above average (¥840 beers, party courses from ¥5,800), but there's nothing about the setting to warrant paying that much. Weekdays only, 5-9pm. Until Sept 2. Venue details

Marunouchi House
The Shin-Marunouchi Building felt startlingly modern when it first opened a few years ago, and it's retained its appeal thanks to cosmopolitan touches like this. The bars and restaurants in the 7th floor Marunouchi House zone have dedicated areas for customers, but many prefer to grab a drink and head outside to the expansive terrace, where you can have a gander at the area's latest construction projects. Free wi-fi, too, which is always a bonus. Daily, 11am-11pm. Year-round. Venue details

Shokuyasu Shoten
The lack of such niceties as tables, chairs and toilets hasn't stopped this from becoming a popular spot for Yurakucho's office workers. After all, it's home to that most endangered of urban species: the beer vending machine. A 500ml can of Asahi Super Dry will cost you ¥320, but why not flash your cash and get a bottle of wine (¥1,200) instead? Good views of Bic Camera and the JR line, and you may even spot a journalist or two – the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan is just across the street. Daily, 24 hours. Year-round. Venue details

Shinjuku Asia Yokocho
This Kabukicho Mecca for fans of street food from the Asian backpacker circuit only just qualifies as a beer garden, by virtue of a few sections that are exposed to the elements. It's a culinary free-for-all (you can order from any of the assembled restaurants, regardless of where you sit), and the beers are affordably priced, starting at around ¥500. Tue-Thu, 5pm-12 midnight; Fri-Sat, 5pm-5am; Sun, 4pm-12 midnight. Year-round. Venue details

347 Cafe
What do you look for in a good beer garden? If you answered 'a swimming pool', this might not have been the article for you. 347 Cafe is a honeytrap for amorous couples, and perhaps the thrill of true love helps them overlook the indifferent drinks and worn decor. Still, the 5-7pm happy hour is undeniably good value, when most drinks are knocked down to ¥500 and glasses of Moet go for ¥1,000. Daily, 11.30am-11pm. Year-round. Venue details

Location, location | The gourmet option | A break from the norm

By James Hadfield
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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