An ura menu treat for those in the know.

Tokyo’s Akihabara is all about indulgence. The single greatest center of anime and video game otaku culture on the planet, the neighborhood is block after block of by-fans, for-fans shops and event spaces.

However, the indulgences extend to a liquid form on the eight floor of the massive Yodobashi Camera electronics store. Like a lot of Japanese shopping centers, Yodobashi also houses a bunch of restaurants, and one of them, called Craft Beer Tap, is where our Japanese-language reporter Seiji Nakazawa found himself on a recent evening.

As you can probably guess from the name, Craft Beer Tap has plenty of brews on offer, with more than 100 varieties of beer from around the world.

There’s also plenty of hearty fare to pair with it, such as pizzas, steaks, and sausage platters.

But Seiji was actually here for something that’s not on the menu. In the Japanese dining world, there’s something called “ura menu” items. Ura is the Japanese word for “backside” or “reverse side,” and is also used to talk about a city’s backstreets. Ura menu items are things a restaurant offers and the staff recognizes by name, but which aren’t listed on the menu.

Now, technically, the drink that Seiji wanted to order, a German wheat beer called Hofbrau Weissbier, is on the menu. What’s not, though, is the size he wanted. While the menu lists the standard small, medium, and large sizes, when the waitress came by to take Seiji’s order, he asked for the ura menu size a friend of his had clued him in about, and told the server:

“The two-liter size, please.”

And sure enough…

…that’s what she brought him!

The massive two-liter (67.6-ounce) mug was set down on the table with a weighty thud, with drops of condensation running down its ceramic sides. After taking a moment to bask in its majesty, Seiji lifted it. The feat of strength required both hands, and even then his arms trembled from the weight…

…but his effort was rewarded when the chilled contents met his lips.

Ah, this must be what Mr. Sato feels like when he drinks from his gigantic Starbucks mug,” thought Seiji, relishing in the aftermath of his first sip, knowing that there were many more to come.

▼ He was also glad that he’d ordered some food too, since this obviously isn’t the amount of drinking you’ll want to be doing on an empty stomach.

At 4,800 yen (US$44), it’s hard to say if Seiji’s beer was expensive or not. On one hand, that’s a lot for a single beer, but on the other, it’s a reasonable tab for an entire night’s worth of Tokyo drinking. The financial wrinkle to consider is that with this being Akihabara, there’s plenty of cool anime and video game merch to buy nearby, so really this ura menu beer is an indulgence to save for the end of your day of shopping, and also because odds you’re going to be mighty sleepy afterwards.

Restaurant information
Craft Beer Tap / クラフトビールタップ
Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Kanda Hanaokacho 1-1, Yodobashi Akiba 8th floor
東京都千代田区神田花岡町1-1 ヨドバシAkiba 8F
Open 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]