On our recent visit to Kyoto, we discovered a small craft beer bar near our hotel called ‘The Bungalow‘. This small bar is positioned on a street corner in the Shijo area of Kyoto about 5minute walk from Kyoto Shijo subway station west along Shijo Dori. The really interesting setup of this is the building has no walls facing the corner and is open for people to just walk in and out as they like, (Except in cold weather, when plastic sheeting gives cover). This provides a really cool street vibe with people coming and going.
The small bar area is standing only with a few small tables and chairs dotted around in the bar area for seating for those that want it. There is also an upstairs seating area available, however I didn’t get chance to check this out as we stayed on the ground floor.
The Bungalow is a really cool hip place to visit, without it being pretentious. They have a varied selection of Japanese craft beers available to try (10 taps). The prices were maybe a little on the high side but what you’d expect for craft beer and it was comparable to other bars in the area. It seemed on our visit that a lot of locals popped in for a drink, a chat and most had some food. The bar staff were also really friendly. As with many places in Japan, their English wasn’t great (But much better than my Japanese) and we managed to communicate fairly well. They even provided a good beer suggestion when my first choice was unavailable.
They also do some fabulous bar food here that is prepared fresh by the staff in a kitchen which is part of the bar area. We tried the food on our visit and it was superb (I forgot to get a picture of the menu). I tried the tandoori chicken which was really good and Collette tried the Steak which was cooked perfectly. We also tried some fries which were nice. Watching the guys in the kitchen area prepare the food was great. They were putting in so much effort to make good freshly cooked meals. The whole operation just worked really well.
While there, I managed to try the following beers…
Shonan IPA Palisade by Kumazawa Brewing Co. – 3/5 – Nice IPA, very balanced. Did everything right, but didn’t blow me away.
Minoh (Koi-Koi) Stout by A.J.I. Beer Inc – 4.5/5 – Fabulous beer. One of my favourites of the whole trip. Lovely roasted malt taste, lots of cocoa. Spot on stout.
Ise Kadoya Hime White by Nikenjayamochi Kadoya Honten Co. – 3/5
Ise Kadoya Pale Ale by Nikenjayamochi Kadoya Honten Co. – 3/5
As well as beer, they also did a large selection of wines as well as some spirits in the shape of Mikkeller Gin and Mikkeller Citra Vodka (Which I meant to try).
If you happen to find yourself in Kyoto, I highly recommend seeking this place out. You never know what beers you’ll find on and the food is certainly worth a try.