Nakameguro Beer Kitchen is like a really awesome college hangout—cheap, casual, and filled with cool staff who don’t mind if you play drinking games (ask them about the “789 game”). The “cheap” part owes to the fact that NBK offers “outlet beer”: bottles that are less than three months shy of their expiration date. The result is a rotating selection of imports starting at just ¥420; on a recent trip, we began with the light, wheaty Paulaner from Germany (¥790) and a creamy Murphy’s Irish Stout (¥980).
While the food menu features dishes like beer-steamed mussels (¥720) and wine-marinated spareribs (¥1,200), the real specialty is the “coconut BBQ-style” yakitori. The name is slightly misleading: it actually refers to the fact that the meat is grilled inside coconut shells. We tried the negima (¥150), hotate (¥300), tebasaki (¥150) and yakitori (¥100), which had a deliciously rich, smoky flavor. For a bit of green, you might prefer one of the large “shake salads,” including tuna and ginger topped with garlic shoyu (¥630) and selvatico lettuce with apples and balsamic dressing (¥650).
Toward the end of the evening, finding ourselves with time for a last round, we couldn’t resist one of the whimsically named cocktails. We were tempted by the Karate Chop (¥450), but settled on a Violet Fizz (¥520), described as “the standard drink for making a pass at a lady during the Bubble era.” Not to be confused with the cocktail staple of gin fizz plus crème de violette, Nakameguro Beer Kitchen’s version was a bright purple concoction that tasted something like a liquid Jolly Rancher. Still, as a dessert, it wasn’t half bad. And considering that our bill was just over ¥3,000, we can see ourselves heading back for more.