August Beer Club

August Beer Club

Craft brews and a fun crowd make this Roppongi bar a winner


Originally published on on February 2010

Photos by James Hadfield

August Beer Club has the drinks menu of a pub, the food menu of a restaurant, and the interior of a coffee shop. Somehow, it all works. This appealing nightspot at the ass end of Roppongi offers a friendly vibe and a fun crowd to go with its excellent libations.

The biggest attraction here is the draft beer, which is limited to just a few styles—but what styles they are. The menu informs us that the IPA (¥1,000/pint) was crafted by master Japanese brewer Toshiyuki Kochi. We could spend the entire night with this amber beauty—and, on a couple of recent visits, we nearly have.

The guest beer during an early-February trip was Snow Blanche (¥1,100), a spicy Hoegaardenesque white brew that had so much character, Nicolas Cage would be jealous. The other two drafts are August Beer Club’s namesake pilsner (¥980), which struck us as a bit thin but still miles ahead of its mass-produced Japanese counterparts, and the August Beer Maduro (¥980), a dark lager that we never got around to trying. All the beers are also available in smaller 300ml pours.

Like any good pub, August devotes nearly as much attention to its food. A wood-fired oven takes pride of place in the interior, lorded over by a pizza chef who also does calzones. The meat calzone (¥1,200), with sausage, mushrooms and mortadella cheese, was a bit on the runny side, but the dough was so good that we ordered a pizza margherita (¥750) just to taste more of it. The grilled Italian sausages (¥1,400), knobby and spicy, were also excellent.

The food menu changes regularly to feature a different regional cuisine. In early February, the spotlight was on Germany, with the likes of pizza Bismarck (mozzarella, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, cream and eggs, ¥1,200), smoked eel (¥850), and white asparagus with blue cheese (¥1,400).

August Beer Club’s crowd is an interesting mix: foreign office workers from nearby Roppongi Hills, attractive 20-something OLs, groups of beer-loving friends, and even lone salarymen tucking into hearty pub grub. It’s that kind of place—welcoming, unfussy, and suitable for large groups and solitary drinkers alike. In other words, just like your local back home.

Which is a welcome quality, given its Roppongi address. While there is no shortage of nightspots in the area, August Beer Club’s excellent beers and slightly out-of-the-way location make this a place well worth seeking out.