All-you-can-drink beer costs just 600 yen (US$5.80), which will barely get you a single glass in many other Tokyo restaurants.
Tokyo has a number of observation towers that sell tickets so you can ride the elevator up and take in the dizzyingly breathtaking view of the city. Savvy sightseers and acrophiles, though, will tell you to head to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, in the Shinjuku neighborhood. Not only are its two observation floors, each 202 meters (663 fee) above the street, less crowded than others around the city, they’re completely free to access as well.
And as it turns out, there’s another awesome bargain to be found near the Tokyo Metropolitan Building. After you come back down from the observation floors, across the street on the ground floor, you’ll find the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Hall Restaurant, which is right next to the conference hall used by the members of Tokyo’s Metropolitan Assembly.
▼ The restaurant’s entrance
Despite the name, you don’t have to be an elected government official to dine here, as anyone can stop in for a bite to eat or something to drink. The regular clientele is primarily composed of politicians and other people who work in the Metropolitan Government Building, though, so the restaurant has tons of tables in order to accommodate the hunger of Tokyo’s sizeable bureaucracy. On the other hand, if you show up after the lunch rush, like we did, you’re likely to find the place almost empty, making it a great place for a quiet meal or snack in the heart of one of the busiest cities in the world.
As with a lot of Japanese restaurants, there’s a small cover charge (in this case 300 yen [US$2.90]), which does at least get you a mini salad. On the upside, the restaurant’s food and drinks are all reasonably priced. There’s plenty of Japanese food on the menu, including fresh seafood from the restaurant’s fish tank, so we started with some seared katsuo (bonito) sashimi for 480 yen.
We also couldn’t resist asking for the 1,010-yen Tokyo Metropolitan Building Fried Tower, which is a spire of onion rings plus another of fried calamari rings (as a nod to the building’s twin tower-design), plus some salad and sausages.
▼ Eating the Metropolitan Government Building made us feel a little like Godzilla.
But we promised you a bargain, didn’t we? Well, how does all-you-can-drink beer, and other alcoholic beverages, for just 600 yen (US$5.80) an hour sound?
Seriously, there are plenty of restaurants in downtown Tokyo that will charge you 600 yen for a single glass of beer, but this eatery will let you down as many as you can in 60 minutes for that price. And unlike other all-you-can-drink deals that make you put in your final order 15 or even 30 minutes before your table time is up, the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Hall Restaurant is happy to keep refilling your glass for the full 60 minutes.
▼ Also available on the 600-yen-an-hour plan: wine, whisky highballs, umeshu (plum wine), shochu, and shochu sour cocktails.
If one hour isn’t enough, there’s also a two-hour plan for 1,200 yen, and if you’re really a high roller, an extra 300 yen an hour will upgrade you to premium whisky and shochu varieties, and also add sake to your tippling options.
Now, we’re not sure why such an amazing all-you-can-drink deal exists right next to one of Tokyo’s most important seats of power. Nonetheless, we’re glad it exists, and that it’s open even to plebs like us.
Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Hall Restaurant / TOKYO都庁議事堂 レストラン
Address: Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Nishi Shinjuku 2-8-1. Togikai Gijido, 1st floor
Open: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Closed weekends and holidays
[ Read in Japanese ]
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[ Read in Japanese ]