Craft beer bars are increasing in Japan's major cities and have become something of a fashionable trend as more and more young people turn away from the standard fare served up by Japan's big four brewers.
Two such craft beer bars in Kyoto are Bungalow on Shijo Horikawa and Beer House Craftman just south of Shijo Karasuma close to the Starbucks and the Karasuma Kyoto Hotel - both are rather different in style.
Bungalow is a fairly informal, reasonably friendly, low key joint with plastic sheeting for walls whereas Beer House Craftman is a rather snooty, upmarket affair complete with stiff wait staff and that familiar unwelcoming Kyoto welcome. Both serve excellent craft beer, however, which is should be your main purpose for visiting.
The two establishments serve decent food as well. Bungalow is heavy on the meat - the carved beef looked delicious - and it was the first time I had seen tripe on a Kyoto menu. Vegetarians would be limited to the French fries. The potato salad comes with ham and egg.
Beer House Craftman offers a set of three beers - all good - for 1500 yen or larger glasses on tap. The food is Italianesque and small in portion delivered by waiters in white coats with all the charm and refinement of trainee lab technicians.
Both places have two floors with the more informal drinking taking place on the first (ground) floor and the serious eating on the second floor. Bungalow has a few standing tables as well for that Kansai tachinomiya feel.
Tel: 075 256 8205
Hours: 3pm-2am (weekdays and Saturday); 12pm-11pm (Sunday)
Beer House Craftman
643-1 Nijo Hanjikicho
Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8412
Tel: 075 371 7676
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