Craft beer as a phenomenon is becoming increasingly popular in Japan, and bars serving brews both domestic and imported are popping up all over the place. Osaka has fully embraced this trend. Here are some great places to pick up your next specialty bottle or pint on a night out in the city.
Craft Beer Base is a cozy shop that boasts an incredibly large and diverse selection of canned and bottled craft beers from around the world. They also have four rotating taps of draft craft beers available. Some of the staff speak English; all of them are very knowledgeable about the beers’ tastes and origins. They serve food as well. The company actually has four shops in total; you can find the other locations on their website.
Located on the 31st floor of the Hankyu Grand Building, molto!! offers fantastic views of Umeda. The staff are friendly and know all there is to know about beer. They have a selection of Japanese craft beers as well as a variety of lagers, weizens, ales, IPAs and black beers. You can buy beer by the glass in three different sizes, or purchase a flight in order to taste a few at once. They also serve small portions of Italian-inspired food if you’re hungry.
KAMIKAZE is renowned for its craft beer. Most of it comes from Japan, including the highly regarded Minoh Beer, with international imports from America and Europe as well. Whether you prefer a light and fruity saison, or a rich, strong stout, there is sure to be a brew to satisfy. They also sell a wide variety of other alcoholic beverages and tasty food. The joint has a rich ambiance that is relaxed and lively, making it a fantastic place to spend an evening.
TNT is a dynamite bar in many ways. The passion for craft beer is evident. There are five rotating taps of interesting flavors covering the spectrum from IPA to stout. Many bottled and can varieties are always on sale, too. There is also a food menu featuring five different types of grilled cheese sandwiches and kimchi gyoza from Utsunomiya, a region known for the dumplings. There are also many board games, Jenga, scattered Rubix cubes, and other things to play with for free. The bar regularly hosts live music and trivia nights.
A tiny little bar among many in Shinsaibashi, rock bar Cherry Bomb stands out with its laid-back atmosphere and rock music scene. The American owners wanted to fill the gap of rock music bars in the local scene; it has since evolved into a gathering place for locals, expats, and travelers, where you can be sure to find English-speaking company. While they don’t have anything fancy in terms of cocktails, there is always a respectable selection of ice-cold craft beers. Cherry Bomb offers what is at the core of the best bars – a fun atmosphere, good music, and great company.
Sauce Boss is a new venue quickly making a name for itself in Horie. Though its main mission is providing chicken wings in over 15 different flavors (from classic Buffalo to creamy curry), the Boss is also passionate about stocking craft beers from around the world. There are always four rotating crafts on tap, as well as a fridge stocked full of local and international selections. Sauce Boss also serves delicious fresh fruit cocktails, and regularly creates special drinks that purchasing will donate money to local charities.
Beer Belly is a craft beer pub owned by the international award-winning Minoh Beer, based just outside of Osaka. So, while this bar only sells craft beer from one brewery, it still provides a delicious and diverse selection – there are always fifteen types of Minoh Beer on tap, from their pilsner to pale ale. Beer Belly also serves tapas, including some of the best mashed potatoes in Japan. There is a wide bar on the first floor and additional seating on the second, so this is a great place to go alone or with a group of friends.
Restaurant, Cafe, Bar, American, Canadian, Japanese, $$$
Lingua is a full-fledged café, restaurant, and bar. It is also family-friendly, with a play area for children and kid-appropriate live music and art events. It’s a very multilingual and artsy place; one of the owners is a native English speaker, and the space is regularly turned into an art gallery. As for the beer, Lingua has three rotating taps of Baird Beer, brewed in Shuzenji, Japan, as well as a selection of bottled craft brews.