Come for the unlimited beer, stay for the Japanese-style fried chicken (and probably the ramen).
Earlier this month, we visited a Tokyo restaurant with an incredibly cheap 10-minute all-you-can-drink plan. While we had fun trying to beat the clock, for our next unlimited alcohol outing, we wanted something just a little more leisurely paced, but still extremely easy on our wallets, which is how we wound up in front of Kobushi in Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood.
Kobushi is actually a ramen restaurant specializing in tsukemen, in which the noodles and broth are served separately. However, what brought us to Kobushi’s doorstep is its all-you-can-drink plan which costs just 300 yen (US$2.65) for 30 minutes of unlimited alcohol.
As with many ramen restaurants, you order by buying meal tickets out of a vending machine located near the entrance.
▼ The buttons for the two all-you-can-drink plans, circled in red
Kobushi offers two tiers of the all-you-can-drink deals. 300 yen gets you a limitless supply of Clear Asashi low-malt happoshu beer, whiskey high balls, shochu, sake, wine, chuhai shochu sour cocktails, or soft drinks. Dropping another 200 yen and stepping up to the 500-yen course adds Asahi Super Dry beer to your options.
▼ The complete all-you-can-drink menu
While the restaurant is open for lunch, the all-you-can-drink plan is only available from 5 to 10 p.m. (starting time). Still, knocking back a cold one at 5 in the evening, when most of adult Japan is still dutifully at its work desk, makes the brew all the tastier.
As a matter of fact, it was so refreshing we’d polished it off before we knew it, and promptly ordered another.
Kobushi’s all-you-can-drink plans are priced to that once you finish your second glass, you’re coming out ahead on the deal. We decided to celebrate this economic victory with some Japanese-style fried chicken, and so added an order of karaage for just 380 yen.
Some people saw you shouldn’t drink alone, but we’d argue that probably depends on your individual psychology and drinking habits. On the other hand, trying to eat an entire order of Kobushi’s karaage by yourself is a difficult endeavor, considering how big the portion is.
Not that you won’t want to eat the whole thing on your own, because of its crisp breading wrapped around the juicy, flavorful meat.
Once you get 25 minutes into your 30-minute all-you-can-drink campaign, you can ask the staff for a 30-minute n extension, which costs another 300 or 500 yen (depending on which tier you’re drinking at). We decided to be conservative, though, and instead put in an order for a third, and final, drink before our half-hour ran out.
▼ Umeshu (Japanese plum wine) on the rocks
We were so satisfied that it wasn’t until we’d left that we realized we forgot to try Kobushi’s ramen. On the bright side, that means we have an excuse to go back.
Kobushi (Shinjuku West Exit Otakibashi-dori branch) / 麺処 古武士 新宿西口小滝橋通り店
Address: Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Nishi Shinjuku 7-4-6
Open 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
[ Read in Japanese ]