A dream come true  

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

I love Japan. I love living here, I love the people, the culture,the food. Even the weather. There is very little I miss about the UK, and I have never really been afflicted by homesickness. Except on a Friday.

Back in Blighty, Friday night was – if not the highlight of my week – then something I really looked forward to; the final full stop at the end of my week and a precious hour or two away from home, little M’s homework and the stresses of trying to scratch a meagre living. At 6pm on a Friday evening, the office would be closed and off I’d amble to The Phoenix for an hour and a lovely pint of Stella or three and a packet of crisps. Ahh – such simple pleasures. 2007-11-04_14-32-14_04112007139

Now don’t get me wrong; Japan has a love affair with beer that would put the Germans to shame. Every train carriage is plastered with beer adverts and every TV show is punctuated with beer commercials featuring men and women in the throes of rapture as they gulp down one of the hundreds of different brews available 24 hours a day from any convenience store. And believe me, you never tasted beer so good as an ice-cold daijokki on a sweltering hot Summer’s day.  Everyone loves beer in Japan – from young, hip teenagers to old women. We’ve never heard of “binge-drinking”; we don’t have the nanny state waving a finger at us every time we crack a tube; there’s no stupid licensing laws and – best of all – people here can have a drink without wanting to stab each other in the face. In short, it’s a beer-drinkers paradise.

Given the domestic passion for lager  it will come as no surprise that Japan has some of the biggest brewing corporations in the world. In fact, if the planned merger of Kirin and Suntory goes ahead, the new company will in fact be the biggest beer brewer the world has ever seen. Incidentally, I found out recently that Kirin – that most Japanese of beer brands – was actually started by an American bloke.

Anyway – I digress.

For all the beery pleasures that Japan has to offer, it is missing a small but vital detail. You can’t get Stella here. Well, actually that’s not true. You can get the bottled variety, as long as you’re willing to shell out around 7 quid for a 330ml bottle. No, what I’m referring to is draft Stella – the kind quaffed in every pub in the UK in vast quantities every weekend. And I must admit – I really miss it. Just like I miss those kicked-back Friday evenings in The Phoenix, munching crisps and reading the paper.

So - as you can imagine, finding somewhere in Tokyo that has Stella on draught has become a bit of an obsession. There are plenty of “British Pubs” here – at least 3 in Kichijoji that I know of – but none of them offer Wife Beater on tap. I thought I’d found somewhere in Ogikubo recently, but my excitement at seeing the distinctive white pump topped with the familiar red and gold logo was cruelly dashed when the landlord sheepishly informed me that is was actually connected to a barrel of Yebisu. Buggery bollocks. But, gentle reader, my dogged detective work has finally paid off and after a year sans Stella I’ve finally hit pay dirt.


Ladies and gentlemen – may I present the finest British pub in Tokyo. The wonderful, authentic, Stella selling, mysteriously named, Three Thread in Yotsuya nichome.

As I mentioned, Tokyo has a lot of British-themed pubs, But most are – frankly – crap. The Black Lion in Meguro isn’t bad, suffering only because of its lack of Stella and insistence on doing things the Japanese way i.e. having to wait for the dopey waitress to come over before you can get a pint. But the Three Thread tops them all. It’s a small place, but nicely decked out inside. The bar looks authentic and you can whistle up a pint of Nelson Mandela from the comfort of your bar stool. They do the obligatory fish and chips (Japanese-style miniscule portion) but also great bar snacks like nachos that really bring back memories of the dear old Millers Arms in Canterbury. In short – it’s a really excellent place; cosy, friendly and comfortable.

And so to the beer…

03102009461 I nearly cried when I saw it. A proper pint of Stella (actually 400ml – but bloody close enough) in a proper glass, served with a perfect head and chilled to optimum drinking temperature. Not only that, but they pour a good pint of Guinness too, as Mrs BH’s pint in the background will testify.

And the taste? Bloody marvellous; full bodied with its characteristic hint of aromatic flowery fruitiness. Sigh. I was in heaven. At least, until the bill arrived.

At 1000 Yen a glass ( £7) it’s not exactly a cheap night out. But I’d say it was worth the £21 I spent on 3 pints! The good news is that if you go during happy hour, the price drops to about 4 quid -  a bit more affordable. I shall definitely be darkening their door again in the not too distant future. Particularly as the Iaido dojo is just around the corner! A pint of Wife Beater after training? Now that’s what I call luxury.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

0 comments: to “ A dream come true