Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations

Hub Jazz Bar Asakusa

Home > Tokyo > Bars | Jazz | Nightlife | Pubs
by Cressida Ryan (subscribe)
Classicist and traveller
Published August 21st 2016
The Japanese take on fusing America and the UK
British but American but Irish, this bar lies in the shadow of the impressive Sensoji temple in the Asakusa region of Tokyo, blending a range of western influences for a great night of live music with good food and drink.

hub, jazz, bar, asakusa, tokyo
Live jazz while you eat and drink

It styles itself as a British pub, offering live jazz, with different bands playing on different nights. Part of a chain across Tokyo (23 branches), it could feel too much like a theme park, or soul-less, but in fact it's a fun, energetic, warm venue well worth a visit.

Live jazz isn't necessarily what you would expect to find in a Tokyo backstreet, but the performances are nevertheless good. Committed musicians, who clearly love what they do, play a series of sets during the evening. The repertoire changes with each band, but is likely to include classic tunes. It's too loud to talk during play, but not unpleasant if music is what you went for, and there are always the breaks for chitchat.

hub, jazz, bar, asakusa, tokyo
Hub Jazz Bar, Asakusa

Japanese interest in all things neat and compact shines through. Guests are given a bag to put their things in. No concerns about the mess of bags and coats hanging off chairs and getting in people's way or security concerns, but in this bar you have only the kitschiness of a London bus.

hub, jazz, bar, asakusa, tokyo, bags
British bus bags for your stuff

The bar claims to be British, leading to a special St Patrick's Day menu. Cabbage and corned beef on your pizza seems strange and not particularly Irish or British offering, but it is at least different.

hub, bar, patrick, menu, tokyo
Special St Patrick menu

The unusual fusion of tastes continues. Take the classic crumble. Turn it into an ice cream combination. This sounds normal until you notice the base flavour is green tea. There's a unique twist to the menu suggesting a gastronomic sense of humour.

hub, bar, fish, chips, tokyo
Fish and chips... with chopsticks

The sense of humour was confirmed when fish and chips came served with chopsticks: quite a cultural clash. The crumble ice cream did taste quite good too.

green tea crumble tokyo hub jazz bar
Green tea ice cream crumble

The drinks menu is expensive and not particularly extensive, but you do expect that when it features mainly imported spirits. There are local drinks, and a few soft ones, but the range is limited. The overall vibe is what it's about, and the music makes this work. Staff circulate regularly to take orders and bring you more food or drink, so you can relax and enjoy yourself, saving queuing at the bar for settling the final tab.

hub, bar, drinks, menu, tokyo
Drinks menu

It isn't often that a drinks menu offers spirits by the bottle, but a quick glance around the floor suggests that people are buying them. A bottle of bourbon for a table of four on a weekday may seem excessive, but then you spot the rows of bottles at the bar, neatly labelled, and the penny drops. You can buy a bottle, and leave it there to continue drinking it on your next visit. This helps a customer get good value, and helps a bar keep regular customers. Indeed the Hub bars have a regular customer loyalty card which gets you money off things like drinks as you build up points. It's clearly more than just a tourist venue, functioning as its own kind of local.

bottles, whisky, asakusa, jazz, club
Bottles to keep

At the entrance is the bar itself, with stools to draw up. Down a few stairs are small tables with a few chairs around them. The venue is popular, so everything is packed close together, but it feels vibrant rather than claustrophobic. The spirit of New Orleans is alive and well in the wall decor, as legends of jazz and American skylines look down on guests. This is hardly British, but it does add to the atmosphere.

hub, jazz, bar, asakusa, tokyo
Inside the bar

There is an entrance fee, depending on when you arrive and what day it is, but if you arrive after about half way through an evening's set, the fee is waived.

hub, jazz, bar, asakusa, tokyo
Saxophones at the bar!
Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  22
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Why? Good food, drink, atmosphere
When: 6:00 pm - 11:30 pm (Mon - Sat), 6:00 pm - 10:30 pm (Sun & Holidays)
Cost: variable entry fees, see website. Reasonable food and drink prices.
Your Comment
Articles from other cities
Popular Articles