Whilst traveling, it isn’t unusual to have those moments where you really miss home. When in Kyoto after meals of Japanese flavors, many travelers crave a touch of home. Fishbowl is a respite as it serves international foods and cocktails. Close to the Sanjo station, the pub is located in the Empire Building at Kiyamachi Dori in Kyoto, and has a staff that is fluent in English. The bar menu has the best of international drinks.
This is a well-established "live-house" — or, in plain English, a music venue. Juttoku is located in an old warehouse (kura) not far from Nijo Castle in the west of the city. Expect to see anything if you decide to just drop in on spec - anything in terms of both quality and genre. Rock, blues, thrash, Japanese pop, Irish fiddle, electronica, you name it and it has probably been played at Juttoku. Usually pretty friendly, though a little out of the way.
The Pig & Whistle is more of a Kyoto institution now than a faithful copy of a British pub in downtown, central Kyoto. It easily rates as the city's favorite expatriates' hangout, and it is a good place to come to start any evening or to find that elusive piece of Japan-related information. Apart from reasonable fish and chips, pizza and lasagna, there are domestic and imported beers and cocktails, as well as draught Guinness, Kilkenny and that bottle of Sam Smiths you were craving. There is a bulletin board, newspapers and even a fax machine available. Thursday is Ladies' night with drinks galore. Live entertainment twice a month. The place can really get heaving on weekends and on holidays.
Over the years since 1974, Taku Taku has played host to quite a few international stars, including Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Los Lobos, Taj Mahal and Dr. John, but most of the groups are local, offering Japanese rock and pop. Westerners well aware of the concept of "warehouse parties" will feel right at home here. And this particular warehouse is made of wood, which gives the whole place an aged and historic, if somewhat shabby, feel. Taku Taku has been rated among the best live houses in the Kansai, and it is most certainly a good place to get an idea what the yoof of today is all about.
L'Escamoteur is a well known-bar in the city of Kyoto in Japan. It is a very chic and modern bar with a lively and friendly décor. It is especially popular with international travelers that are visiting Japan and are glad to exchange experiences with people that speak in the same language as them. Though the prices are slightly high, the quality of drinks is extremely worth it. L'Escamoteur can be found at Shimogyo-ku and is open from 7p to 1a through the week, except on Thursdays.
Arash’s Kitchen is one of the more famous Persian dining places in Kyoto. Most tourists when visiting Japan will overdose on meal after meal of sushi and ramen. Arash’s offers a nice change as it serves a variety of cuisines including Indian, Turkish and Persian. Some of the fast favorites include kebabs and lamb stew. But fear not, vegetarians, the menu also has several options for you. The restaurant offers an extensive drinks menu to go with the often spicy dishes.
Located near Kyoto's old market area of Nishiki, this new pub is a convenient watering hole after a hard day's shopping. The decor is decidedly post-modern with sheer concrete walls, wooden floor and plain furniture. The draught Guinness (JPY650 a pint), large selection of Irish whiskeys and the Gaelic music will swiftly transport you to the "Emerald Isle." Bar snacks and finger food are available, too.
One of the prime music venues in the city, Kyoto Muse features some of the biggest names from the local and international music scene. While it might not be the biggest venue in town, it is one of the liveliest and most loved venues. The cozy setting, coupled with a rather low stage allows more interaction between the band and the crowd, which heightens the overall experience. Featuring gigs by some of the most renowned bands, as well as a number of promising young musicians, Kyoto Muse never fails to make your evening an absolutely memorable one.
Located in a recently refurbished traditional wooden Kyoto townhouse (machiya), Tosai offers a wide range of a la carte healthy vegetable and tofu cuisine, along with a good selection of beers, wines and sake. The atmosphere is informal and lively and popular with all age groups. Look out for the large white lantern on the street outside the restaurant. The decor is genuinely traditional. This place is old. There is a long stone path off from the street at the end of which you remove your footwear before entering the dimly-lit cozy wooden interior. A large izakaya-style menu of all things veggie and healthy--tofu, natto, salads, rice-balls and fried things. A lot of bottled beers and sake also get consumed here.
Here is taste of Southern Californian and South American cuisine in west Kyoto, a little to the north of Nijo Castle. Look out for the red Budweiser sign outside. Though the menu mostly favors meat dishes, vegetarians are catered for too. There is a full bar service with wines, beers and cocktails at reasonable prices to wash down those savory spices. The friendly manager speaks some English to help you decide on orders. The typical Southern Californian ambiance is complete with surfboards, palm trees and a picture of Lenny Kravitz and the owner. Southern Californian/Mexican cuisine prevails. Menu items include delicious squid salad, good tacos and nachos with guacamole. La Jolla one of the few Cherry Coke outlets in Kyoto and it does some fine pina coladas, margaritas and import beer.
Kurakura is a gastro-pub that can be found at Ameyacho, Simogyo-ku in the Japanese city of Kyoto. It is in pubs like this that a tourist feels like they’re finally getting the true Japanese experience of mouth watering sashimi and tasty sake. The décor is styled after the ancient tradition of local taverns, replete with wooden walls and ceilings and tatami mats. The bar is open through the week, except on Sundays, from 5p to 11p.