We found a great way to experience Fukuoka culture in an easygoing way.

One defining characteristic of Fukuoka, on the southern island of Kyushu, is its yatai, or outdoor food & drink stall, culture. Open stalls are lined up on streets, waiting for regulars and the adventurous to sit down and have a chat with both friends and strangers.

But not everyone is that socially bold; when searching for an alternative more approachable than a bustling izakaya, we came across megane coffee & spirits. Don’t let its exterior fool you – it is, indeed, considered a yatai, and it’s a darn stylish one at that.

▼ It’s the kind of style that may be hard to casually walk into, but it’s a lot less crowded than your typical yatai (in a good way).

Probably with this thought in mind, megane coffee & spirits has a signboard outside the storefront that tells you everything on the menu (including prices!) so you can browse before you enter.

▼ Some of their offerings are coffee (500 yen, or US$4.61), yuzu tea (600 yen), and coffee shochu (600 yen).

Our writer Masanuki Sunakoma decided to brave it and opened the plastic curtain surrounding the cozy yatai. He was pleasantly surprised by how warm it was inside. There are only 8 foldable stools lining the bar counter.

▼ The owner apparently sets up and packs up everything in his van day in and day out – a process that takes three hours each.

This particular street allows yatai to be set up between the hours of 5 p.m. and 4 a.m., so megane coffee & spirits often opens shop around 8 p.m. (but if the owner is inside reading a book before then, it means they’re open, apparently).

▼ Masayuki learned more and more about the secrets of this stand as the owner made coffee.

megane coffee & spirits has only been around October 2019 and is one of the only (or perhaps the only?) coffee yatai in the city.

▼ It doesn’t exactly scream “Friday night!” but not every weekend has to be crazy.

One of the main reasons there aren’t more coffee yatai, apparently, is that there aren’t a ton of customers that will order refills of coffee. That means there isn’t a great turnover.

▼ Masayuki received his coffee while chatting. It even came with a mini donut!

It was a flavorful and refreshing hand drip. Masayuki also found out that the owner asked a local coffee place to soak the beans in shochu and whiskey to make their signature whiskies. After finishing his cup, our writer exited the cozy stand and made his way out into the night, relaxed and satisfied.

▼ The laid-back owner was a big part of the atmosphere.

So if you’re in Fukuoka and you want to ease your way into the yatai scene, we’d highly recommend stopping by megane coffee & spirits. It could become your new favorite place, or it could be a valuable jumpstart to your Fukuoka yatai experience.

Yatai information
megane coffee & spirits/メガネコーヒー & スピリッツ
Address: Fukuoka-shi, Chuo-ku, Tenjin 4-2-1, In front of Bank of Japan Fukuoka branch
福岡市中央区天神4-2-1 日本銀行福岡支店前
Open: 8 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Closed: Sundays and Wednesdays (also may close due to bad weather)

Photos ©SoraNews24
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