Beer Kotan, Sapporo

Just about all the restaurants in Sapporo serve beer, but certain places make beer the focus, and Beer Kotan is one of the best craft beer bars in Sapporo, and a very cool place to have a “pint” (or three).

Beer Kotan is on the three floor of a building, on an alley, behind the PARCO department store. Very close to Odori station. Pop up from the station, find PARCO, slide down the alley, and look for the building with the stone facade. If you know the area, this is the same build as the world famous club Precious Hall.

As you make your way to the 3rd floor, you’ll find a spacious, modern beer bar, with a excellent variety of craft beers. There a whole wall of taps, with a range of beers from pilsners to fruity ales to IPA and more.

There is also food. And while I like the izakaya tradition in Japan, as a beer drinker, a more typical pub food menu is something I can appreciate. We have a picture in this review of a light menu, but typically the menu is more expansive. You can order something heavier like fish and chips (more in the Japanese than English in style), somecuts of their in house roast beer, or I like to get a couple of sausages. They also have smaller salads, plates of fried potatoes, etc. The presentation is several levels above “dive bar” and very nicely done. You could easily bring a date here.

I am a big fan of their IPA. I can stop in for a couple of pints, and good atmosphere.

The other thing to say about Beer Kotan is that is priced perfectly. It’s not “cheap,” but you can get very nice, Western style beers at good prices, and no table charge. I can have what they call a “large” IPA for ¥800. There are other places I like to drink in Sapporo where a similar beer would cost me ¥1100 + a charge to sit down. Beer Kotan is priced well, and there is no compromise in terms of the vibe or the aesthetic.

One final comment: For some reason, many bars and restaurants in Japan make socializing with other people difficult. There is the tendency to put people in little isolated groups, which can make it hard to meet people. I would compare that to a standard beer bar in an American city, where the can be more of a crowd near the bar, more people standing and moving around, which makes it easier to meet people and be social. Beer Kotan doesn’t exactly encourage social vibe, but it’s open floor plan, and the standing only table in the center of the bar gives it a much more friendly vibe than most places in Sapporo.

At ICHIBAN NO MACHI, we are big fans of Beer Kotan. Highly recommended.

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