¥30 beers in Tokyo? Yup, they exist. 114 beers later and we’re alive to tell the tale…
Whether you’re new to Japan, or are simply blind drunk in the convenience store at 3am and can’t see what you’re buying, you’ve probably had happoshu (発泡酒). Basically classed as a “low-malt beer-like beverage”, the quality of happoshu can vary from ‘just about drinkable’ to ‘piss in a can’.
Japanese tax laws state that beers that contain over 67% malt are taxed in a different category than drinks that contain less. It means booze manufacturers over here are always on the look out for new ways to lower the malt content or substitute it altogether. Basically happoshu is cheap muck that gets you pissed but with a price to pay. You have not had a hangover until you’ve had a happoshu hangover. Believe me.
Anyway… the reason I’m banging on and on about happoshu is because I recently went to an izakaya in Shinjuku that claimed to sell ¥30 beers. That’s 20p. Or $0.30. Whatever way you look at it, it’s ridiculously cheap. Too good to be true I thought… SURELY this place must be selling the dregs, the lowest of the low, the worst happoshu imaginable. I was wrong. This is real beer and it is indeed ¥30… or it was anyway. They’ve a quaint little pricing structure: in March the price is ¥30, in April it’s ¥40, in May it’s ¥50. You get the drift.
In short, this is the cheapest beer you will find in the world’s most expensive city. So check it out.
OK then, hands up: who wants another round…
There’s no catch to this place. You just have to order a side dish but that’s pretty standard for all izakayas in Japan. The address is 1-3-6 Kabukicho, Shinjuku. Use google maps and maybe even street view. It’s pretty unassuming from the outside. Kampai!