Friday, October 9, 2015

Bar: Bamboo House, Koenji

Update April 24, 2017

After the original owner passed away, Bamboo House is under new management. Mr. Death is no longer bartending on Thursday. The bar is also changing to become more Tiki-oriented.

But fear not! Mr. Death is bartending Thursdays at Green Apple! This is a great retro-bar and live house, also in Koenji and well worth a visit!

A well-hidden gem

Tucked away in an alley in Koenji, within spitting distance from the JR train station, is the tiny but welcoming Bamboo House. It was hand built by the owners over 20 years ago and has some of Tokyo's most personal decor – as well as one of the tiniest restrooms! There is no cover charge, so you can pop in for just a single drink if you are curious. Most drinks start at ¥400, and draft beer is ¥500.

The best time to visit Bamboo House is Thursdays, when the barman is Mr. Death, legendary garage-rock DJ and all-round nice guy. He presides over a steady stream of regulars and curious newcomers, and there is always someone interesting to talk to. Come in, take a seat at the bar, and have a good time at Bamboo House!

For music, there is a selection of CDs to choose from, and the bartender usually brings his or her own favorites to play. And if you want to bring something good of your own, maybe from a shopping spree at one of the nearby record shops, chances are you can play it too.

What do drink

Bamboo House has the regular light draft beer ("nama biru") that you can find in all Japanese bars, as well as a selection of drinks based on gin, rum and whiskey. But the most exotic item is the kohi-shu (coffee alcohol) which is made by mixing super-strong coffee with Japanese rice liquor, cho-shu. The intense taste and instant injection of caffeine is guaranteed to pick you up on a late night!

How to find it

Bamboo House is near the Koenji JR train station. From Shinjuku, take the Chuo-Sobu (yellow) line from Shinjuku towards Mitaka. Leave the station through the South exit and turn left. Walk over a crossing and you will enter an alley along the train tracks. Almost immediately, there will be a wedge-shaped 2-storey house to your right. The entry to Bamboo House will be at the back of the house.

More pictures...

Here are a few more views to give you a feel for what to expect at Bamboo House!

The hand-painted toiled door is an attraction in itself!
Behind this signboard is the old wooden structure with Bamboo House on the second floow
The noticeboard is a good way to keep up with local shows in the area
There is a TV, stereo and various CDs and DVDs for your entertainment
The house is overlooking the JR train tracks just West of Koenji station
The drinks are reasonably priced
Barman and DJ Mr. Death in his domain
The owner – who built the bar herself 23 years ago – sometimes pops in to chat with the regulars and bartenders

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