The name's misleading. If you're looking for a pub in the classical tradition, head to The Black Sheep just around the corner – though be aware that it comes complete with sullen middle-aged alcoholics propping up the bar, weird odours emanating from the toilets, and other such markers of authenticity.
Beer Pub Camden offers none of that: the interior is more casual city slicker bar, with brick-lined walls, exposed ceiling and stainless steel tables that look like something out of an industrial-size kitchen. A large flat-screen TV on one wall plays nothing but screensavers for the duration of our visit, though the bar staff are so eager to chat that we barely even notice it.
Guinness and Heartland are always available on tap, but the guest beers are the real draw here. Especially the Brewdog: Camden is one of the few places in Tokyo that serves draft beers from Scotland's self-styled rebel brewers. The exact selection changes regularly: on our visit, they had the Hardcore IPA – which, at 9.2 per cent alcohol content, is a bit too intimidating for a work night – and the excellent Citra IPA (7.5 per cent). The bartender spent at least a minute pouring and scooping with a spoon to perfect the head on the latter.
The food is prepared with similar attention to detail, which comes as a pleasant surprise. The fried potatoes come doused in sweet chilli sauce with a blob of sour cream on top, while the age dofu is fried fresh and served in a pool of tomato sauce and drizzles of olive oil. Based on this evidence, the udon carbonara advertised on the menu might not be as ghastly as it sounds, though we can't vouch for that.
One caveat: unusual beers don't come cheap, and if it's budget booze you're after, you should take your business elsewhere. Alternatively, try to arrive early. Beer Pub Camden's happy hour runs until 7pm, with ¥200 off select draft beers.
|Venue name:||Beer Pub Camden|
2F, 1-7-2 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku
|Opening hours:||Mon-Thu 5pm-2am, Fri 5pm-4am, Sat 12noon-4am, Sun 12noon-2am|
|Transport:||Ikebukuro Station (Yamanote, Saikyo, Marunouchi, Yurakucho, Fukutoshin lines)|