Eating Where the Locals Eat
I wanted to go to a local place. Sure, there’s plenty of amazing food to eat here in Tokyo but when you start LIVING here, it’s not always about the food. It’s the atmosphere, the people, the history. Some of you visiting Japan might want to experience this type of local feel but you don’t want to go to a place that’s a bit intimidating (like where you have to sit in silence and eat your meal…). May I suggest visiting a Yakitori franchise known as Bariki (馬力) near Shinbashi (新橋）in Tokyo? I had a lot of fun hanging out with my friend here.
Bariki felt like it was a good “level 1” beginners course into the Japanese drinking culture. It was a place where you can rub elbows with locals and just have good conversations. Bariki means “Horsepower” in Japanese and a lot of the food here is meant to give you stamina and energy (like the red bull tasting Bariki Hai). They also serve horse meat here apparently…
Shinbashi, as my Japanese friend explained to me, is where a lot of salarymen and women go to drink. The atmosphere is pretty cool as a foreigner. There is the historic red brick train bridge that’s old, rusted, dirty, and super awesome to just go and see. On a Japanese program I watched, they said in the 1800s when this red brick train bridge was being constructed they drilled extremely long matsu trees into the ground by hand (no construction equipment). Like a enormous wooden nail to fortify the train track. They would cover it with concrete, and then place red bricks over it so that the bridge would be secure. The commentator on the TV joked that not even Godzilla could break it.
Anyways, underneath the Red Brick train tracks are small restaurants where people can go to eat and drink. It was a super cool atmosphere and I saw people clapping, singing, and Japanese people “taking off their outer masks”.
This restaurant is actually not under the bridge (its about 20 seconds away from the bridge), but you still get the atmosphere.
〒105-0004 Tokyo, Minato, Shinbashi, 3 Chome−17−5
Near the Karasumori Exit （烏森口）
^ Bariki Zuke (馬力漬）Special Pickled Chicken Gizzards (Recommended) ~ Around 150 Yen?
Pickled in Vinegar Soy Sauce, through words it might not seem appetizing but it’s surprisingly great appetizer to eat while drinking. The Gizzard is nice and tender and there is this sour sweetness to the dish
Drinks: 350 yen – 700 Yen
Bariki Hai (recommended)
Half Sparking Water and Half Shochu its really refreshing and tastes a bit like Red Bull
Mixture of Ramune (bead Soda) with Shochu
^ Hoppy White Hai
Hoppy is basically non-alcoholic beer and seems to be some retro drink. Its nothing special but when you mix this with some Shochu you get this interesting beer-ish tasting drink. They have Black and Red Hoppy Flavors as well.
Overall it was a great first drinking place that I went to as I begin my life here in Tokyo.