Special branch in Tokyo is more like a convenience store bar.

When it comes to Japanese convenience stores, the top three convenience store chains — Lawson, Family Mart and 7-Eleven — tend to get worldwide attention, but locals know there are hidden secrets to be found in some of the nation’s smaller chains.

Take New Days, for example. This convenience store chain is run by East Japan Railway Company, commonly known as JR East, so branches are limited to the railway company’s stations and platforms. Recently, though, a new two-storey branch has appeared just outside the east exit at Tokyo’s Iidabashi Station, and there you’ll be able to drink as if you’re at a bar.

▼ The noren curtain below invites customers up to the second floor with the message, “エキでチョイ飲み” (“eki de choi nomi”), which means “A little drink at the station”.

This particular New Days only opened on 16 March, making it one of the newest branches in town. When our reporter P.K. Sanjun stumbled upon it by accident last week, he was immediately drawn to the bright lights of the store, stepping inside to find some interesting options on the first floor, like meals cooked in-store, freshly baked bread, and side dishes from famous local establishments.

▼ All these options are perfect for taking up to the bar level in the second floor.

Drinking at the station eases the stress of making your way to the station before the last train home, so the new New Days branch is the perfect place for a bar. Not only is the location great — the prices are great too, because you can get a freshly poured jug of draft beer for just 300 yen (US$2.22)!

Once you pay for the beer with staff on the first floor, where you can buy food items as well, you’ll be given a cup, which you then place on the server in the machine upstairs and it’ll automatically be poured for you.

Before you get into the area, though, you’ll need to scan your receipt at the gate — no drinks purchase, no entry!

Stepping through the gate like a V.I.P., P.K. poured himself a beer and found himself a seat by the window. From here, he was able to relax and watch the traffic go by as he nibbled on his light meal and sipped on his beer, which was delicious and refreshing.

Once you finish your beer, you don’t even have to go downstairs for another drink, as there’s a sake and wine server in the corner. Simply grab a cup from the side, place it under the drink spout of your choice, insert coins and pour.

▼ Smokers can make use of an enclosed heated smoking area on this level as well.

With such a full range of facilities right at the station, this New Days is sure to become very popular with commuters. The second-floor bar is a fantastic option for those who want to enjoy a drink after work without having to spend a lot on food, like they might at an izakaya tavern.

After enjoying a drink and a bite to eat at the New Days bar, P.K. is now hoping the chain will add similar facilities to its other locations throughout Tokyo.

That way P.K. will be able to enjoy a beer on his way home more often, and maybe next time he’ll pair it with one of the chain’s huge demon rice balls!

Store Location

New Days Iidabashi East Exit store / ニューデイズ飯田橋東口店
Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Iidabashi4-10-1

Photos © SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

[ Read in Japanese ]