Craft beer bars in Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe


Craft beers - Japanese and imported

Osaka: Fukushima -- Kopta. 06-7493-1271
With just five taps and two tiny seating areas, Kopta might be better as a stop on a neighborhood beer-bar tour rather than an evening's destination. The kitchen offers a diverse menu, but exotic-sounding dishes like Moroccan green-bean fritters sound more exciting than they taste. [See FULL REVIEW.]
SunFukushima 1-7-15. Open 5-11pm. Closed Mondays.
Osaka: Fukushima -- Molto!! Fukushima. 06-6345-2940
Open since March 2016, this third branch of the casual Molto chain joins the ranks of craft-beer bars in the Fukushima neighborhood. They offer seven taps of Japanese beers along with an Italian-inspired food menu and various sausages. Craft beers are priced at Y1000 for a 400ml glass and Y1480 for a large-size 600ml pour.
SunFukuhsima 2-7-16. Open 5pm-midnight daily.
Osaka: Fukushima -- Pogo. 06-6131-9135
One of a growing number of craft-beer bars in the Fukushima neighborhood, this attractively appointed two-story bar offers eight taps dispensing both Japanese and imported brews. Service is friendly, music is above average, and there's some outdoor seating when weather permits. [See FULL REVIEW.]
decorFukushima 2-9-10. Open 6pm-1am. Closed Sundays.
Osaka: Higobashi -- Beer Belly. 06-6441-0717
Minoh Beer is a craft brewery a bit north of Osaka city, and this centrally located taproom serves a line-up of their regular beers (including their excellent W-IPA) plus a few limited-edition special seasonal brews. They also offer nicely chosen craft beers from their two guest taps - North Island and Outsider during our most recent visit - with prices generally running around Y1030 for a UK pint or Y630 for a half. [See FULL REVIEW.]
SunlateTosabori 1-1-31. (on the N (river) side of the little road that runs alongside the river, between Higobashi (bridge) and Chikuzenbashi (bridge), 5 doors E of the latter) Open 5pm-midnight (LO; Sat 3-10, Sun 3-8) daily.
Osaka: Honmachi -- Dig. 06-6445-6505
This attractively decorated craft-beer bar has sixteen taps roughly divided between Japanese and US craft beers. Beers come in several sizes; a 400ml glass is Y1000, and there are some tasting sets. The food menu is also better than average.
SunKyomachibori 1-12-31. Open 5:30pm-midnight (LO) daily.
Osaka: Honmachi -- Garage 39. 06-6202-1239
The fifteen taps at this relatively spacious beer bar serve up a mix of Japanese and US craft beers, with US pints selling for Y950. The food is also good.
Awajimachi 2-5-15, Kobayashi Awajimachi Bldg 1F. Open 5pm-1am (LO). Closed Sundays.
Osaka: Honmachi -- Qbrick. 06-6203-0690
One of Osaka's original craft-beer bars, Qbrick offers a well-chosen selection of sixteen beers on tap and an enormous selection of hundreds of bottles, from Japan and around the world. The rustic decor gives the place a cozy feel, and there's a comfortable bar area as well as tables for groups.
Hiranomachi 4-6-12, Kyo-on Bldg 1F. Open 11am-midnight (Sat 5pm-). Closed Sundays.
Osaka: Kita-Horie -- Kamikaze. 06-6539-7550
The 23 taps at Craft Beer Works Kamikaze serve mostly Japanese craft beers, with a few US imports as well. Food and service are good, but it can get crowded during busy times and seating can be cramped.
Kitahorie 1-22-12. Open 5pm-1am. Closed Sundays.
Osaka: Kitahama -- Yellow Ape Craft. 06-4963-3838
Thirty beers, mostly Japanese craft beers, are served on tap here along with bar snacks like pizza. The Y320 table charge includes a small appetizer.
Imabashi 2-4-9. Open 5pm-2am. Closed Sundays.
Osaka: Tanimachi 4-chome -- Harenohi. 06-6947-3530
Six US craft beers on tap plus nice Utsunomiya-style gyoza are served at this convivial beer bar. From the folks who brought us Q-Brick.
Tanimachi 3-2-7. Open 5pm-midnight. Closed Sundays.
Osaka: Tanimachi 9-chome -- Lingua World Cafe. 06-6779-3255
The menu here promises sandwiches (grilled cheese, roast chicken), poutine (!) and craft beers, and while there are only a couple of taps, Lingua does offer an excellent selection of canned and bottled imports, and cans are just Y700. They also offer gourmet coffees and nice cider.
SunIkutamamaecho 1-1. (located right above Tanimachi Kyuchome station) Open 10am-10pm (Sun -6pm). Closed Tuesdays.
Osaka: Tenma -- Beer Belly Tenma. 06-6353-5005
Fourteen taps, including four hand pumps, all dispense beers from Osaka's Minoh Brewery at this spacious company-run taproom. The food menu is decent, with a wide range of tapas dishes. It's located around the corner from Stand Bar 1020 and many customers visit both spots.
SunIkedacho 7-4. Open 3pm-midnight daily.
Osaka: Tenma -- Standing Beer Bar 1020. unlisted
Located in a mini-shopping arcade just off a main shopping arcade in busy Tenma, this tiny standing bar has room for around six or seven customers at a time. The six taps represent Japanese craft beers in a variety of styles - hoppy beers, stouts, fruit beers, lagers, etc. - and prices are a bit lower than average. Open from 12:30pm on weekends and holidays.
SunTenjinbashi 5-6-23, Hitotsumatsu Food Center. Open 4-11:30pm (LO) daily.
Osaka: Tennoji -- Lezzet. 06-7850-1412
The fifteen craft beers on tap here are divided into "low-refrigerated beers" and "high-refrigerated beers," including a few US imports. The bar itself is nicely decorated and quite large, with knowledgable staff and a decent food menu.
SunMatsuzakicho 2-3-21. Open 5pm-midnight. Closed Wednesdays.
Osaka: Umeda -- Beer Stand Molto!. 06-6374-3067
A lively standing bar, conveniently located in the Hankyu Sanbangai station complex, Molto serves four craft beers on tap along with several dozen by the bottle. They also have around ten wines by the glass and tapas-style small dishes to go with your drinks.
SunShibata 1-1-3, Hankyu Sanbangai Jizo Yokocho 1F. Open noon-2, 5-11:30pm daily.
Osaka: Umeda -- Craft Beer Base. 06-6131-7015
This tiny standing beer bar attached to a retail liquor shop has only four taps, but they change fairly often. However the real reason to come here is their amazing selection of 200-300 bottled beers, including interesting US and European craft imports. The most popular ones can be found in the refrigerator in the bar area, but there are many more in the shop's big refrigerated storeroom. [See FULL REVIEW.]
SunOyodo-minami 1-2-11. Open 11am-10:30pm (LO) daily.
Osaka: Umeda -- Marciero. 06-6940-0710
The eight taps at this tiny bar here dispense a rotating selection of well-chosen craft beers, mostly from Japan, the US and Germany. Imperial pints are priced at Y1080. Open from 3pm weekends.
SunDoyamacho 8-10. Open 5pm-2am. Closed Tuesdays.
Osaka: Umeda -- Molto. 06-6809-2641
Craft Beer House Molto is definitely the highest craft-beer bar in Osaka, offering a fine view of the city from its 31st-floor location. There's a full menu of Italian food (budget around Y4000 at dinnertime), or you can just stop by for a beer, either at the 20-seat bar or in the standing (viewless) area up front. [See FULL REVIEW.]
SunKakudacho 8-47, Hankyu Grand Bldg 31F. Open 11:30am-2, 5-11pm daily.
Osaka: Umeda 1-chome -- Craft Beer Base Bud. 06-6225-7807
A lively, very down-to-earth craft-beer bar, Bud offers an inspired selection from their eight taps - generally four brews from the US and two each from Japan and Europe. All pints are priced at Y1000 while half-pints are Y700. The very casual food menu is also well thought-out and well executed.
SunUmeda 1-3-1, Osaka-ekimae First Bldg B2F #22. Open 11:30am-10:30pm daily.

Belgian beers

Osaka: Chayamachi -- Dolphins Umeda. 06-6373-9041
This conveniently located cafe is part of the popular chain of Osaka Belgian beer bars, and stocks around 100 beers, mostly from Belgium. Unfortunately the food menu is rather lackluster, and even Belgian specialties like mussels and frites are only average. The main dining area is lively but it can get smoky.
SunShibata 1-5-2. (on a small alleyway 2 blocks north of New Hankyu Hotel) Open noon-12:30am (LO) daily.
Osaka: Chayamachi -- Nakai. 06-6155-5547
There are plenty of places in town to get some yakitori and beer, but the beers here are Belgian craft beers and the yakitori is made from free-range Tamba birds, an heirloom breed prized for its flavor. Run by the Dolphins group of Belgian beer bars (and located next to their Umeda branch), Nakai offers thirty Belgian brews by the bottle and a couple on draft. Yakitori starts at Y150 per skewer, with dinnertime set meals from Y1800.
SunShibata 1-5-6, Umeda Asahi Bldg 1F. Open 5pm-midnight daily.
Osaka: Higobashi -- Dolphins (Higobashi). 06-6443-6869
A good selection of Belgian beers and budget-friendly food items can be found in this branch of the popular Osaka beer-bar chain.
Edobori 1-18-27. Open 11:30am-2, 5-10:30pm (LO). Closed Sundays.
Osaka: Honmachi -- Dolphins. 06-4705-0012
The Sekaisuji-Honmachi outpost of Dolphins is the "beer bistrot" branch, with a basic food menu and a large selection of Belgian beers.
SunHonmachi 1-7-1, B1F. (in front of exit 13, Sekaisuji-honmachi subway station) Open 11:30am-2:30, 5-11pm daily.
Osaka: Tenma -- Doll Dress. 06-4802-0155
Perhaps worth a stop if you're in the neighborhood, this oddly decorated, under-the-tracks bar stocks around 200 Belgian beers. As with any small bar with a large stock, it doesn't hurt to check expiration dates.
SunYamazakicho 4-24, JR Koka-shimo 52-53. Open noon-11:30pm (LO). Closed Thursdays.
Osaka: Tenmabashi -- Nakai. 06-6942-8890
Good yakitori and Belgian beers, from the Dolphins chain of Belgian beer bar-restaurants. Budget around Y3000-3500 for dinner and drinks.
SunUchi-Hiranomachi 1-2-6. (from Tenmabashi sta. exit 4 walk S, turn W at the Freshness Burger) Open 11:30am-2, 5pm-midnight (LO; Sun -11pm) daily.
Osaka: Umeda 2-chome -- Flanders Tale. 06-6344-5258
Nine Belgian beers on draft and many more by the bottle are served at this sprawling pub-restaurant. The food menu includes Belgian standards like mussels and frites, plus teppan-grilled meats and seafood, sausage and charcuterie platters and of course Belgian waffles. Festive group revelers can take advantage of several different all-you-can-drink party plans.
SunUmeda 2-5-25, Herbis Plaza B2F. Open 11am-2, 5-10:30pm (LO) daily.
Osaka: Yodoyabashi -- Barrel. 06-6233-0455
Good, authentic Belgian cuisine and a nice assortment of Belgian beers, including several on tap.
Kitahama 4-7-28, Sumitomo Bldg #2, 1F. Open 11:30am-midnight. Closed Sundays.

Other beers

Osaka: Chayamachi -- Drunk Bears. 06-6372-7275
Bears serves more than 100 different beers from around the world, along with bar food like nachos, sausages, calamari, and fried chicken fajitas. The stand-up bar is open till 2am weekends; there's also a sit-down dining room across the hall.
SunChayamachi 10-12, NU Chayamachi B1F. Open 11am-10pm (LO; 2am Fri/Sat) daily.
Osaka: Umeda -- Loreley. 06-6341-0043
Run by a long-term German resident of Osaka, this pub has been going strong since 1974. The menu offers meaty German cuisine and a good variety of German beers from all over the country.
Dojima 2-2-2, Kintetsu Dojima Bldg B1F. Open 6-10:30pm (Sat -9:30pm). Closed Sundays.


Osaka: Umeda -- Craft Beer Base. 06-6131-7015
This tiny standing beer bar attached to a retail liquor shop has only four taps, but they change fairly often. However the real reason to come here is their amazing selection of 200-300 bottled beers, including interesting US and European craft imports. The most popular ones can be found in the refrigerator in the bar area, but there are many more in the shop's big refrigerated storeroom. [See FULL REVIEW.]
SunOyodo-minami 1-2-11. Open 11am-10:30pm (LO) daily.
Osaka: Umeda 1-chome -- Craft Beer Base Seed @Hanshin. 06-6345-1201
Located in the liquor section of Hanshin department store's food hall, this outlet of the Western-Umeda beer shop offers around 100 craft beers and Belgian beers for sale. Prices are slightly higher than at the main shop, about ten minutes away.
SunUmeda 1-13-13, Hanshin Department Store B1F. Open 10am-8pm daily.


Craft beers - Japanese and imported

Kobe: Sannomiya -- Hop Stand. 078-321-6656
Craft beers from Rokko brewery are served with yakitori at this small bar. There are generally five craft beers on draft (along with three macros), served in several different sizes and priced at Y920 for around a UK pint. They also have tasting sets of four Rokko beers for Y1400.
SunKita-Nagasa-dori 2-9-5. Open 5pm-midnight (Sun 2-10) daily.
Kobe: Sannomiya -- Starboard. 078-392-3265
Formerly the Rokko Beer Diner, this brewery taproom serves beers from Rokko Brewery, Starboard, and a decent selection of guest beers - we noted Boundary Bay and Coronado among the breweries during our last visit. Glasses are around Y480 while US pints are priced Y700-900; a six-part tasting set is Y1200. The kitchen turns out a wide range of pub food. Open from noon on weekends, until 9pm on Sundays.
SunKita-Nagasadori 2-7-12, PMPT Bldg 2F. Open 5-11pm. Closed Wednesdays.
Kobe: Sannomiya south -- New Munchen Kobe Taishikan. 078-391-3656
This charming Kobe landmark serves a full range of Sapporo beers, and a huge, 150-item food menu. The small brewery in the basement produced two craft beers - a somewhat fruity wheat beer and a Vienna-style beer that uses Saaz hops. English menus available. Lunch served to 2pm.
SunSannomiya 2-5-18. Open 11am-11pm daily.
Kobe: Sannomiya south -- Portside. 078-391-9567
Kobe Beer Hall Portside offers a good selection of beers from Rokko, Starboard and other breweries on tap, and several Belgians by the bottle. The food is also decent, with dishes like steamed mussels, spicy Moroccan kebabs (the chef is from Morocco) and grilled lamb chops along with simple pastas and pizzas. Budget around Y3000 for food and drink.
SunSannomiyacho 1-1-1, Shin-Kobe Bldg B1F. Open 5-10:30pm (LO). Closed Wednesdays.

Belgian beers

Kobe: Nishinomiya -- Beer Cafe Barley. 0798-65-6135
This cozy and pleasant beer specialist has seven seats at the bar and a few tables. In addition to four hand-pumped ales they offer more than 100 bottled beers, including a wide selection of Belgian styles and the full line of brews from Baird, one of Japan's best microbreweries. The substantial food menu features pizza, pasta, Shepherd's pie, and several dishes made with beer (try the chicken cooked in Asahi stout).
SunNishinomiya, Nagatacho 1-15, Liberty 2 Bldg 2F. (3 minutes from the North exit of Hankyu Nishiguchi Station, above a barber shop) Open 1pm-midnight. Closed Tuesdays.
Kobe: Sannomiya -- Cafe Brugge. 078-333-0887
One of the few places in town where you can find a multiplicity of Belgian beers, in a convenient location right at the foot of Ikuta Road.
SunKita-Nagasa-dori 1-1-3. (at the base of the road leading up to Tokyu Hands, at the railroad tracks) Open 11:30am-11pm daily.


Craft beers - Japanese and imported

Kyoto: Heian Shrine -- Komachi. 075-746-6152
Seven craft beers on tap and good food at this neighborhood craft-beer bar.
SunHigashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Hachikencho 444. Open 5-10:30pm (LO). Closed Tuesdays.
Kyoto: Karasuma -- Bungalow. 075-256-8205
One of the better places for craft beer in Kyoto (there isn't much competition), Bunglaow has ten taps devoted to Japanese craft breweries as well as a good menu of French and European bistro fare. There's no sit-down bar, just a standing bar area on ground floor (which is open-air in summer), a couple of tables on the ground floor and several tables upstairs.
SunShijo Horikawa Higashi-iri Kashiyacho 15. Open 3pm-midnight. Closed Tuesdays.
Kyoto: Karasuma-Oike -- Bakujun. 075-202-4180
This quiet bar has good food and craft beers, although the atmosphere is rather subdued. There are eight taps along with a selection of bottled beer (both Japanese and Belgian), with beers ranging from Y700-1100 per pint and a Y300 table charge. The kitchen turns out a decent food menu.
SunlateRokkaku Tominokoji Nishi-iru, Daikokucho 77, Kawamura Bldg. 2F. Open 5:30pm-2am. Closed Mondays.
Kyoto: Karasuma-Oike -- Takumiya. 075-744-1675
Appetizing aromas wafting from the direction of the deep fryer are one of the charms of this lively craft-beer bar, although they occasionally clash with customers' cigarette smoke. Eight taps dispense Japanese craft beers, which are priced at Y680, Y880 and Y1080 for various sizes.
SunFunayacho 400. Open 4-11:30pm (LO) daily.
Kyoto: Kyoto City Hall -- Japonica Cafe. 075-211-8580
This casual cafe features a few interesting craft beers from brewery Shiga-Kogen on tap and in bottles. (They're somehow connected with craft beer bar Bungalow across town.) The food menu is eclectic (Thai green curry, shrimp ajillo) and well executed - we enjoyed a very satisfying lamb-based chili dish with nan-style tortillas, or maybe tortilla-style nan. [See FULL REVIEW.]
SunTeramachi-dori Oike-agaru, Shimohonnojimaecho 476 Assist Bldg B1F. Open 11:30am-11pm (LO) daily.
Kyoto: Kyoto City Hall -- Tadg's Gastro Pub. 075-213-0214
One of Kyoto's hangouts for craft-beer aficionados, Tadg's offers eight Japanese craft beers on tap along with a good selection of US imports by the bottle. Bar snacks include fish and chips, mini-pizzas and some nice lamb chops.
SunKamikorikicho 498. Open 11:30am-2, 6-10pm (LO) daily.

Belgian beers

Kyoto: Kyoto City -- Le Monument Bleu. 075-315-7000
Located just one minute from Hankyu Saiin station, this attractively decorated specialty bar is worth seeking out if you're a fan of Belgian beers. The list of brews is impressive, and it's matched up with traditional Belgian dishes like steamed mussels, carbonard (beef stewed in beer), quiches and galettes.
SunlateSaiin Nishi-sanzocho 13-1, Mark Bldg B1F. Open 6pm-2am. Closed Mondays.