HUB – The British PUB in Japan
You may be wondering why I would be writing about a British PUB based in Japan…? Could it be because it’s my home away from home? Or it can be found pretty much anywhere throughout the country? Or better yet, because of HAPPY HOUR!!!
HUB is a British style PUB chain based in Japan. To me, there seems to be just as many HUBs as McDonald’s! There can even be as many as 3 HUBs in any one district of Tokyo (Shibuya, Ueno etc).
HUB PUB Features
All of HUBs interiors have a similar British PUB themed decor, but of course, all vary in size, depending on location! Most are conveniently placed near the station, so it’s perfect for after work beverages with co-workers or meeting up with friends.
Now, here is what I find interesting about HUB; as I mentioned there are so many, and despite the large population of Tokyo, the placement of some HUBs in different areas determines the type of crowd or atmosphere of the bar. For example, if you visit HUB Ueno Shinobazu Street (1 of 3) you will notice its location is on the main strip of Ueno, near the large park where it’s extremely crowded and busy! Generally, that HUB will get a lot of traffic and feature a big “roundtable” to accommodate to encourage socialising. This particular HUB is what I would call a social type, where it has a great, lively atmosphere, many people coming and going and people mingling with each other whether they know each other or not! Hence, why this roundtable concept is a great tool for meeting new people!
Comparatively, HUB Ueno Showa Street which is no more than 5 minutes away, but located on the quieter side of the station. The atmosphere there tends to be more relaxed, and people will often come in groups or couples and usually stick with each other, preferring a more solitary experience. So, it definitely depends on the area and location!
HUB PUB Benefits
Time to talk about the benefits of HUB! First of all, let me introduce… HAPPY HOUR! Between opening time and 7:00 pm many drinks on the menu are reduced up to 50%; with some starting at 190yen!!! (Yes, I also can’t believe that!). Of course, opening times depend on location, and generally, that is around 4:30-5:00pm… however, if you make your way to Akihabara HUB, the happy hour there starts at 11:00 am (as I wipe the dribble from face)!
Other benefits include no cover charge, free WiFi (at most locations) and they also have a wide range of imported beers and cocktails! And being a British style PUB they also serve England’s world-renowned fish & chips! Along with salads, nachos, pizza and more! They also have distinctly separated smoking and non-smoking areas in all HUBs, depending on your preference.
In addition to the food, they hold sporting events usually with Japan being the main defender, this will mostly be soccer related, either in terms of World Cup qualifying matches, EPL, etc. Anniversary parties are also held annually, and at these events, you can often take advantage of discounted drinks for the entire night. Finally, you also can organise your own party, with all you can drink and eat packages available!
It really doesn’t stop there! One great idea (that keeps me coming back) is the point card system! After paying a tiny 500 yen, you can take advantage of the HUB point card. The card grants you 5% off all purchases and you can also accumulate points with every order, this even applies during Happy Hour! Once you reach a certain point milestone (for example 3,000, 7,000, 10,000 etc), you can choose to spend those points on HUB vouchers! What blows my mind even more is HUB’s GOLD Card. Only given out to those truly loyal customers, and as rare as hens teeth! While the discount only increases to 7%, it’s about the status of having one that is the envy of everyone! When you flash this baby at the counter, everyone around you will stare at that bright gold reflection like a bunch of fascinated meerkats!
HUB Recommendations by area
Lastly, I’d like to finish with my own personal list of HUB recommendations:
Shibuya – Now HUB Shibuya City Center is one of the craziest going! It’s always packed! And mixed with both Japanese and tourists! It’s a place that must be experienced at least once in my opinion, as no other HUB compares in craziness!
Takadanobaba – Now for HUB Takadanobaba (behind BIGBOX Building) can also be interesting! There tends to be a younger crowd, probably because of the university nearby. But this place is quite spacious and has always had various crowds. Half of the bar can be wild and the other half everyone else is just talking between themselves.
Ebisu – And lastly my personal favourite is HUB Ebisu. This is quite small, but the locals here are great people and I even like the staff too! I always comfortable the most at this HUB, however on Friday and Saturdays you’re unlikely to walk to the bar or restroom without bumping into 10 other people!
Ueno – As I mentioned previously, there are several HUBs in the Ueno area. However, being a social kind of guy, I would recommend the larger of the 3 located on Shinobazu Street. This is a central location, on the main street and close to Ueno Park. This has the large round centre table, and always manages to attract a large crowd, especially from 7 pm onward.
Shinjuku – Similar to many or the larger areas, Shinjuku has many hubs surrounded the larger station, however, the number 1 I would recommend, especially for socialising is located on 2F of Kuyahusho Dori (区役所通り). It has a similar theme to the HUB located on the main strip of Ueno, including a large interior and centre table and many smaller tables. The atmosphere and crowd who come to this bar also mostly come across as very approachable and social, so another place to meet some locals.
Roppongi – Located almost directly opposite the largely famous and distinctive Donki Hotei, in the middle of Roppongi you will find a HUB on B1. This particular HUB is also quite spacious, and being the international centre of Tokyo, it attracts quite a varied and energetic crowd from time to time. Key elements of this bar also include a large centre table for promoting socialising, and more private tucked away areas for couples or those after a more private experience.
You will note there is also a similar themed from the same group called 82 Ale House, which focused more on their expansive range of ales. Please note though, although they are from the same group, the menu and Happy Hour for both HUB and 82 Ale House is quite different both in terms of prices and discounts. Follow the links to find more info about Hub or 82 Ale House.