Tag Archives: Irish

Hitachino Nest Beer Festival

A word from our sponsor!

These beers are on tap at Tadg’s Bar for the first time in Kyoto. Hitachino Nest Brewery has won numerous awards at Beer festivals around the world. This Sunday from 2:00 pm we offer you the unique experience of tasting all these extraordinary beers, only at Tadg’s Bar. Chill out with great Beer, great Food and live Music!

Also (!) coming soon to Tadg’s: Green Tea IPA – a wonderful collaboration between Baird Beer (Japan) Stone Brewery (US) and Ishii Beer (Guam). A limited edition of of one keg only – all profits will go towards Tohoku disaster relief via All Hands Volunteers. Details will follow later!

Thanks Tadg! To find Tadg’s walk straight up Kiyamachi from Sanjo, before you get to Oike you should see the Empire building on your right. Tadg’s is on the 8th floor. Here is a map.

Deep Kyoto & Tadg’s

Right then! I’m off to Bali for a week and will be resolutely offline during the interval so there’ll be no more posts for a wee while, but before I go a short word of explanation. The astute among you may have noticed the appearance of a black box on the upper right of this page which proudly bears the name “Tadg’s”.

It looks like this (only smaller):

I’m pleased to announce that Tadg Mc Loughlin has agreed to become Deep Kyoto’s first official sponsor! Fond as I am of good food and tasty beverages, I don’t think I could have found a better partner. Tadg’s Irish bar and restaurant has a phenomenal selection of craft beers on tap (just check out the list on his site! go on click it!), and a fantastic menu. As I don’t eat meat myself, I’m particularly keen on the vegan selection. Take a look at Tadg’s legendary vegan pizza :

Mediterranean veggies, cheeseless pizza with organic Ise Miso

I ate that you know – and it was gorgeous! I ate this Tuscan bean and vegetable stew too (not at the same time though – that would be silly).

Tadg & Mika

Look at those colours! That’s not just food you know, it’s a beautiful piece of art. It’s poetry – in a bowl.

So there you have it; Tadg’s has great food, great beers, beautiful views over the Kamo river and super friendly staff and (I might be courting controversy here but), it’s also the only real Irish bar in town (in the sense of you know, actually having someone Irish in the place). That’s why I’m more than happy to have Tadg as my sponsor – I’m delighted!
To find Tadg’s walk straight up Kiyamachi from Sanjo, before you get to Oike you should see the Empire building on your right. Tadg’s is on the 8th floor. Click here for a most convenient map.

Tadg’s Irish Bar and Restaurant

The Home of Craft Beer in Kyoto

Meet the family: Jimmy, Tadg, Mika, and Ben.

Four years since it first opened, the Irish pub formerly known as Mc Loughlin’s has been renamed as Tadg’s. Not a big change really, as I think everyone was calling it that anyway. I’ve written previously about this pub; its friendly hospitality and the fantastic views over the river and city. And Tadg’s cooking is also justifiably renowned; he uses locally grown organic vegetables in his many fine creations and the menu features an impressive vegan section. All that aside though, this bar’s most impressive feature is the selection of craft beers: Rogue, Ise Kadoya, Minoh, Yeti Imperial Oak and Victory at Sea… I had a snifter of the latter last night; a fine coffee flavored porter with hints of bitter chocolate like nothing I’ve ever tasted before. Absolutely gorgeous. Continue reading

In Search of… the Craic

img_9202-medium In December 2008 my friend David Ewen and I (that’s us on the left) decided to go on an Irish pub crawl and see exactly what each place had to offer in terms of food, drink, music and the elusive craic. What follows is a list of the five pubs we visited,  a summary of what we found there and a map to each location.  For a fuller article, more pictures and directions click on the name of each pub. However, before I continue, I must say if you are only in Kyoto for a short time you shouldn’t be wasting precious time in Irish pubs at all, so stop reading now and go somewhere Japanese instead. This article is for long term residents only!

The Gael

img_9168-mediumVery popular with expats but has more character than your average chain pub. A good menu with plenty of vegetarian options. Irish music every week and jazz monthly. Six screens show major sporting events. The staff are very courteous and professional. Map.

Tadg’s (formerly Mc Loughlin’s)


A gastro-pub specialising in micro-brew beers, they even have a chocolate flavored beer! Stunning views over the river Kamo and the city. Very personable staff and a very likeable and chatty owner the house chef, Tadg. Map.

Dublin (formerly The Hill of Tara)

img_9116-medium Not the cosiest pub (perhaps because of it’s long, narrow interior) but with friendly staff and a good mix of Japanese and foreign punters. Excellent local musicians play Irish music here Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Map at the bottom of this link.


img_9192-mediumThe first Irish pub to open in Kyoto back in 2000, Field is all about the music. Irish music sessions are held twice a week and there is a recording and practice studio upstairs. Mostly Japanese punters here. It’s a nice place for a quiet pint. Map


img_9127-mediumMy personal favorite. Wonderful Irish style home-cooked food with lots of organic veggies and vegetarian options. A cosy atmosphere and a very friendly owner. The live music schedule is interestingly eclectic. Map.

Related article: Irish music at Cafe Woodnote


In Search of … the Craic Part 5

img_9100-mediumThis is the fifth and final part of a series of posts on Kyoto’s Irish pubs. Earlier this month my friend David Ewen and I went on a pub crawl of five Irish pubs in Kyoto to see what they had to offer in terms of food, beer, music and the craic. Tonight’s post is on…


Gnome opened in October 2007, which makes it the newest Irish pub in town. It’s also my favorite. I like the cosy, home-like atmosphere and I might be just imagining things but I think the Guinness tastes best here too. Yuko, the owner is a friendly, chatty, charming lady of many talents; musical, culinary and professional. She already had her own business before opening Gnome, and in addition to managing an accessory and craft shop upstairs from the pub, she also does all the cooking downstairs as well! The menu is wonderful. I love the colcannon – a simple dish of cabbage, potatoes, butter and pepper. Yuko gets the balance just right and served up with the best soda bread I’ve tasted in Kyoto it’s just lovely. “How is it you make such great soda bread?” I asked her. Turns out she gets the oatmeal from Ireland. Yuko loves cooking and pays a lot of attention to her ingredients; the water is from Kyushu and packed with healthy minerals and the vegetables are organic. There are a lot of vegetarian options on the menu too. Yuko and her husband are both musicians and played together in a rock band in the past covering artists like The Band and Neil Young. However, on a visit to Ireland five or six years ago they fell in love with Irish music and also with the warm and friendly atmosphere of Irish pubs. Now Gnome’s interestingly eclectic live music schedule reflects their varied musical tastes. You can see a short video of a recent performance by the band Baobab here. Here are some pictures:

Quiet during the week, Gnome gets livelier at weekends – and during musical events, you can’t move! The clientele is varied too: families, musicians, salarymen and sometimes foreign chaps like me. Why the name? Well, Gnome is in the basement and gnomes as you know live underground. Gnome is situated a short walk north of Oike on the west side of Kawaramachi in the basement of the SSS building. Look out for the yellow sign. Here is a handy map.

Opens Weekdays 17:00〜25:00
Saturday/Sunday/Holidays 16:00~25:00
Happy Hour: 17:00~20:00 (unless there are events)

TEL: 075-212-2101

Related articles: Field
The Hill of Tara
Mc Loughlin’s
The Gael
Irish music at Cafe Woodnote


In Search of … the Craic Part 4

img_9100-mediumThis is the fourth in a series of posts on Kyoto’s Irish pubs. Earlier this month my friend David Ewen and I went on a pub crawl of five Irish pubs in Kyoto to see what they had to offer in terms of food, beer, music and the craic. Tonight’s post is on…


img_9197-mediumField is the oldest Irish pub in Kyoto having opened in the year 2000. Previously the owner, Suzaki Kazuhiko, ran a cafe and gallery here and Irish music was just a hobby for him. “At that time, I had no idea there was such a thing as an Irish pub,” he told me. But on learning that such places existed he decided to open up his own. It was a bold step in the dark for him and one that was motivated purely out of love for the music. He wanted to create a place where that music could be shared and amazingly, within the space of a year he was rewarded with visits from top Irish musicians such as  Donal Lunny, Andy Irvine and Altan . You can still see their signed bodhrans and photographs lining the walls.

Music really is the main thing here. I don’t rate the food much. It will fill you but that’s all. Field isn’t aiming for the culinary heights of gastropub like Mc Loughlin’s. But Field is a nice place for a quiet pint of Guinness and on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 21:00 – 23:00 they have Irish music sessions for local musicians which create a wonderful atmosphere. When David and I went, they were really kicking it! Here are some pictures:

I asked Suzaki-san if he was worried by the increasing number of competing Irish pubs in town, and he said he was, but actually I don’t think he has anything to be worried about. For one thing Field has a different clientele, the regular customers being largely Japanese. And also the emphasis on encouraging local musicians and the presence of the music studio on the 3rd floor still gives Field its unique edge over its rivals. For a long time Field was my own personal favorite, and I still like it but recently my primary affections have been stolen by another pub – which I shall tell you about tomorrow!

Field is on the north side of Nishiki Dori mid-way between Higashinotoin and Karasuma. Here is a map.
Pub Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday 17:00 – 2:00 am
Friday & Saturday 17:00 – 5:00 am
Lunchtime Opening: 12:00 – 14:30
Closed: Sundays
Telephone: 075-231-1213
3F Rehearsal & Recording Studio: 090-3702-0369 (14:00 – 2:00 am)

Tomorrow: Gnome
Related: The Hill of Tara
Mc Loughlin’s
The Gael
Irish music at Cafe Woodnote
HDtracks, CD-quality Folk music downloads with complete liner notes

Dublin (formerly The Hill of Tara)

Update August 2010: The Hill of Tara is now under new management and named “Dublin”.

In Search of … the Craic Part 3

img_9100-mediumThis is the third in a series of posts on Kyoto’s Irish pubs. Earlier this month my friend David Ewen and I went on a pub crawl of five Irish pubs in Kyoto to see what they had to offer in terms of food, beer, music and the craic. Tonight’s post is on…

The Hill of Tara

Irish pub and restaurant The Hill of Tara works hard at it’s Irish credentials. The owner Hanai Yoko, out of a love of Irish culture had the entire pub designed and built by an Irish design company. Three days a week they have live Irish music and traditional Irish dance is taught here too. The pub works closely with Irish Network Japan to organise Kyoto’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. And the menu features authentic Irish meals such as Irish stew, whisky cured salmon, mussels, soda bread… Ah, soda bread! I have this idea that you can tell a lot about an Irish pub from it’s soda bread, so I ordered some with a nice red chutney. This is how it looks: img_9108-medium Looks good, eh? And as bread it tasted good. But as soda bread it was a little too light for me and not quite sweet enough. Something was missing. Some secret ingredient. And for me the pub feels the same way. It’s nice enough as a pub, but the awkward narrow shape of the building seems to take something from the vibe and it doesn’t quite feel as warm and as cosy as an Irish pub should…

That aside however, there are still many things to like about The Hill of Tara. One is the music. There is live Irish music here, played by excellent local musicians every Friday (from 8.30 pm), Saturday (from 9.00 pm) and Sunday (from 6.30 pm). Another is the mix of people you can meet here, both foreign and Japanese. Whereas other pubs are clearly dominated by one group or another, The Hill of  Tara somehow strikes a balance between the cosmopolitan and the local. Finally, David and I both enjoyed talking with Nina the friendly barmaid. It’s the staff that make a place tick really, isn’t it? Here are some pictures for your perusal:

And here is a video of musicians Leslie Denniston and Taro Kishimoto: Another musician who regularly performs here is Felicity Greenland, and you can get a free download of her and Leslie singing The Grey Funnel Line here: LINK The Hill of Tara is situated on the north side of Oike a short walk east of Kawaramachi. There is a map on their website at the bottom of the page: LINK
Open: 17:00 – 24:00 ( till 1:00 am on Friday & Saturday)
Open for lunch: 12:00 – 17:00 (Saturday, Sunday and holidays only) Tel: 075-213-3330
Next post: Field
Related articles: Mc Loughlin’s
The Gael
Irish music at Cafe Woodnote

Mc Loughlin’s

In Search of … the Craic Part 2

img_9100-mediumThis is the second of a series of posts on Kyoto’s Irish pubs. Earlier this month my friend David Ewen and I went on a pub crawl of five Irish pubs in Kyoto to see what they had to offer in terms of food, beer, music and the craic. Tonight’s post is on…

Mc Loughlin’s

img_9139Unfortunately when David and I arrived here, the kitchen was closed, so we were too late to sample any of owner and resident chef Tadg Mc Loughlin’s famed cooking. I shall have to go back for that another time. However, this did mean Tadg was free for a bit of a chat. And chat we did as he regaled us with stories, lessons in Gaelic and some very sweet tasting tequila (He’s a bit of an expert when it comes to tequila you see). Now, Tadg first came to Japan a good 8 years ago after seeing an ad in his local Spar in Limerick that read (and this is no lie): “Wanted barman in Japan”. Tadg was at a time in his life when he was ready to try something new, so months later he was working as a chef in The Hill of Tara (see tomorrow’s post) and then The Gael (see yesterday’s post) and two and a half years ago he opened up his own place. I pointed out to him that there are a lot of Irish pubs in Kyoto these days. What did he think was Mc Loughlin’s unique characteristic? “It’s the only Irish pub in Kyoto.” he said. And he was at pains to point out that this wasn’t just because it’s the only bar owned and run by an Irishman. It’s more than that, he said, it’s about attitude; the personal touch and attention to detail. And indeed I can vouch that any customer coming into Tadg’s bar is given a real Irish welcome, and henceforth treated like family not just by Tadg, but by the staff he picks too. The staff here, he said have to be “more than themselves”;  straightforward but friendly and have a genuine interest in the customer. Well, Tadg and his staff are certainly very likeable but how is his pub? The first thing that strikes you is the bank of windows with fantastic views over the river and city. Then there is the spaciousness of the pub which makes it an excellent venue for weddings and parties. However, this spaciousness does take away a little from the snug, cosy feeling you might find in other pubs, so Tadg plans to have the place renovated in 2009. He has big dreams for the place, planning to transform it into a gastropub specializing in local micro-brew beers of which he already has two Minoh beers on tap. It’s a good space with a lot of potential and he’s a good chap – I wish him luck. You can check out the events page on the Mc Loughlin’s website for upcoming music events here, and the mouth watering menu here. Here are some pictures:

To find Mc Loughlin’s walk straight up Kiyamachi from Sanjo, before you get to Oike you should see the Empire building on your right. Mc Loughlin’s is on the 8th floor. Here is a most convenient map.

Open: Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday–6pm to12am
Friday & Saturday–6pm to Late
CLOSED on Tuesday
Telephone / Fax 075-212-6339

Next Post: The Hill of Tara
Related articles: The Gael
Irish music at Cafe Woodnote

The Gael

In Search of … the Craic Part 1

img_9100-mediumEarlier this month my friend David Ewen and I went on a pub crawl of Kyoto’s Irish pubs to see what they had to offer. Though neither of us are particularly keen on the “gaijin pub” scene, we both occasionally feel a hankering for Irish beer and I especially for traditional Irish music. Over the next few days I am going to post about each of the pubs we visited and tell you what we found there. Tonight’s post is on…

The Gael

Formerly named Tadg’s and renamed the The Gael in 2007, this is probably the most popular Irish pub with the expat community. In fact, once you walk into this Irish style pub and find yourself surrounded by foreign faces, you could be forgiven for feeling like you aren’t in Japan at all. The staff are professional and courteous and they have an excellent menu with lots of veggie options for our vegan friends. David and I both enjoyed our meals which you can see pictured below. However, I do have one gripe: there’s no soda bread on the menu! And when I asked for it I was offered a baguette! A baguette! What kind of self-respecting Irish pub doesn’t sell soda bread, I wonder! Well my one gripe aside, they do have a good live music schedule in their favour; Irish music every Friday from 8:00 pm, Jazz every 3rd Sunday and an Open Mic Night on the first Wednesday of the month. You can check out the events schedule by clicking here, and see some music videos on this page here. The Gael also doubles as a sports bar and has six screens to keep the punters happy. Overall, thanks to the music, the food and excellent service I’d say The Gael is a cut above your average “gaijin bar” and does a fair job of bringing a little bit of Irish culture to Japan. But they ought to make some soda bread. Here are some pictures:
To find The Gael, from Shijo bridge cross to the east side of Kawabata and keep walking up Shijo. You’ll see an opening on your first right through the Otoh building. Go through there and look up to your right for the Irish flag in the second floor window. Here is a very handy map. Open: 5:00 pm-1:00am Sunday to Thursday, 5pm till later on weekends. Tel: 075-525-0680

Tomorrow: Mc Loughlin’s
Related: Irish music at Cafe Woodnote

In Search of… Vinyl

I have previously written about the record shop Prototype, managed by my good friend Yoshida-kun but I’ve been thinking it’s time I added a few more Kyoto record shops to the list. I asked friend and collector Nana H. (that’s her on the left spinning discs at Joao) to give me some pointers and she recommended the following stores.


A pure, minimalist store without much decoration, this place is very neat and tidy compared to some of the other record stores in town. Genres include: Blues, Gospel, Alternative, New Wave, Progressive Rock, Reggae, Ska, World music and Jazz. Says Nana: “Most of the stuff here isn’t new, maybe up to the 80’s, or if Hip-Hop then the 90’s. This is where you come if you want to know where the new stuff comes from.” Bootsy’s is on the 3rd floor of the Takase building on the south side of Sanjo, west of the bridge, about two doors down from the Lawson’s convenience store. Here is a map.
Open 12:00 – 20:00 seven days a week. Tel: 075-231-5078

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