Baird Beer, from one of Japan’s best craft brewers, can be found on tap at most places serving Japanese beer (see Popeye in Tokyo). However, they also have their own dedicated tap rooms. While enjoyed a pint of their beer at Good Faucets in Shibuya, the guy at my elbow at the bar tipped me off about Harajuku Taproom. As I’d be taking the Yamanote Line back to my hotel in Shinjuku, it would be an easy hop-off for a beer just one stop away from Shibuya.
Finding the pub, however, was a bit trickier than I expected. Follow the map below and continue all the way around the curve at the end there. Harajuku Taproom seems like it is in a residential area, maybe 75 meters from where you left the walking street.
You will find a building with an outdoor staircase up the corner and a sign on the road and one higher up on the building. If you’ve walked this far and haven’t given up thinking “Oh, this can’t be right” (as I did) then it should be rather obvious. There is a coffee shop on street level to the left of it in the same structure when I went.
Inside is a cozy space with bar seating, some tables in an expanded room, and some bar seats along the wall. The serve some good appetizers, mostly Japanese in nature. And they have a huge assortment of Baird beers on tap. This includes their regular line up, plus a number of seasonals, and two real ales.
They serve food, of the izakaya variety (ie. drinking establishment with great little plates to go with the brews). I had some fried spring rolls with chicken/gorgonzola, a bowl of edamame, and a few gyoza.
And I was more than a little surprised to see “smelt” on one of the pinned up signs of daily specials. (Smelt is a popular little fish, netted and deep-fried in my home state of Wisconsin, and I had never heard of it elsewhere).
You might find some sports on TV there, but it is a really good place to relax, have a brew, and chat with friends. There is no smoking inside. They accept credit cards. The menus are in both Japanese and English, and they have free WiFi. At least some of the staff speak English (and rather well, I might add).
Harajuku Taproom (the location comes up slightly off on Google maps, so I have marked it better here)
150-0001 No-surrender Bldg. 2F, 1-20-13
Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
(Harajuku Station on the JR Yamanote Line (green), just a stop from Shibuya Station)
Mon-Fri: 17:00-24:00, Sat-Sun-Holiday 12:00-24:00