Grab a friend for one of Japan’s greatest unlimited booze offers ever.
In our never-ending quest to maximize both the amount of alcohol we’ve consumed and the amount of money left in our wallets, we’ve discovered some great all-you-can-drink deals in Tokyo. 600 yen (US$5.40) us about the cheapest we’ve found for a full 60 minutes, while the absolute rock-bottom plan we’ve seen was just 100 yen for 10 minutes.
But in terms of cost-per-minute, the new champion is restaurant chain Sakura Suisan. An izakaya (a type of casual restaurant that serves a variety of small dishes and alcoholic beverages), Sakura Suisan is already known for its extremely reasonable prices for sashimi and other seafood, but even with its reputation preceding it, we were shocked to see how affordable its new all-you-can-drink plan is.
How awesome is it? The offer gets you an unlimited amount of whisky highballs for 60 minutes for just 100 yen (US$0.90).
When we first found out about the deal, we immediately felt like the world has just become a better place. However, all-you-can-drink plans in Japan often come with requirements such as a certain amount of food items that have to be ordered or a minimum amount that must be spent per person. And sure enough, there are two conditions that you have to meet to be eligible for Sakura Suisan’s all-you-can drink offer, but they’re both pretty insignificant.
First, you’ll also have to pay for the 250-yen otoshi. The otoshi is a tiny appetizer that’s customarily served to all diners in an izakaya, as a sort of minimal service charge. However, everyone going to an izakaya gets charged for an otoshi, and 250 yen is about half of what many other chains charge.
▼ Sakura Suisan’s shredded pork and vegetable otoshi
Second, the all-you-can-drink plan is only available for groups of two or more. While that means you can’t take advantage of the offer by yourself, we don’t think it’ll be too hard to find a buddy to go drinking with when the total cost can be as cheap as 350 yen, or 378 (US$3.40) after tax. Even better, you have the full 60 minutes to continue reordering drinks, unlike at some other restaurants where they’ll cut you off 15 minutes before the official end of your all-you-can-drink plan.
The highballs themselves are served in nice, large mugs, and are as tasty as you’d expect for mixed drinks made with quality Suntory-brand whisky. Still, the whole thing seemed a little too good to be true, so we decided to double-check with our waiter.
RocketNews24: “Are there any conditions, like we have to order a set number of items?”
RN24: “I see…Well, we won’t but not order anything, just drink highballs and go home, is that allowed? We’re not planning to do that, but…”
Waiter: “Yes, that would be allowed.”
Waiter: “Yes. Well, there’s the otoshi charge of 250 yen, but that’s all.”
Still, since we were sitting in a restaurant that had a kitchen stocked with tempting seafood, we decided to order a few munchies.
▼ Tuna sashimi (390 yen)
▼ Fish sausage (50 yen)
Even with those snacks, though, the total bill for our two-person research team came to just 1, 231 yen.
However, Sakura Suisan realizes this astounding display of generosity isn’t something that it can keep up indefinitely, and so this all-you-can-drink plan is only available until the end of the month. Reservations are also required, but they can be made easily online through Yahoo! Japan here.
Now you just need to find a drinking buddy to go with you, and should all your friends happy to be busy, let us know, because we wouldn’t mind going again.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he thinks the chpice between unlimited booze and a single item at the 100 yen shop is an easy one.
[ Read in Japanese ]