Drinks on the Cheap at Izakaya Kouchan
By Eric Burton
Seeing that Tokyo is one of the most expensive cities to live in compared to the rest of the world, I’m always looking to get the most for my yen whenever I’m out and about. Recently, a coworker told me about a really cheap izakaya, tucked away from all the crazy crowds near the Hachiko statue in Shibuya.
Now I’ve been to my share of inexpensive izakayas. More times than not, there’s a catch. Maybe a crazy table charge, a limited food/drink menu, or a requirement to purchase a certain amount of food items on the menu. The amount of hoops to jump through just to get a few drinks and some food! If you’re feeling like I’m feeling, Izakaya Kouchan has got you covered.
Just a few minutes from Shibuya station, Izakaya Kouchan is quite a hip spot, considering it’s on the not-so-lively side of the station. Following the inclined street you’ll see a sign lined with yellow-bulbed lights. At first glance it seems like a retro movie theater. A closer look and in big red letter the sign reads 生ビール180円.
That’s right. A tall glass of draft beer will only set you back by two coins; barely. Kouchan prides itself on this price so much that the actual name of the izakaya is barely visible on the entrance sign.
Inside are multiple floors, with a capacity to seat up to 300 guests. There’s no private seating; just tables surrounded by stools that can be easily moved together to fit larger parties. It might seem kinda tacky at first, but the lack of sectioned-off, booth-type seating makes for an unexpected, free atmosphere.
You might come with some friends. Yet a few drinks later, you could very well be toasting and chatting with the other nearby parties. (And maybe going to karaoke with them later that night). Not to mention the staff is quite genki; sometimes going along with the fun too.
Additionally the food selection is quite nice. It’s not gourmet 5-star awesomeness of course, but they put a nice twist on the usual dishes you might find at an izakaya. All of the dishes aren’t that expensive either. Most things on the menu are served in mid-sized portions, so they can be shared with friends or eaten alone if you’re quite hungry. My personal favorite is the yakisoba.
Casual atmosphere, cheap food and even cheaper drinks. What more could you ask for on an evening out with friends? If you said yes to all three of those things, then I’d suggest checking out Izakaya Kouchan soon.
Hours: Everyday 4:00pm-5:00am
Table Charge: 300yen
From the East Exit head towards the major intersection to the left. Go towards and pass Bic Camera, but stay on the opposite side of the street. Make a right at the first street and head up the hill. The restaurant will be on the left.