Hub, Sanjo, Kyoto
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Gaijin bar classic in a great Kyoto location
Japan pub chain HUB is probably the default answer to questions relating to gaijin bars in Japan. This branch of Hub in Kyoto off of night spot Kiyamachi-Dori keeps the 'gaijin' theme going. Actually, this place is fairly new. There used to be a branch of Hub farther south down Kiyamachi which is no longer there. The new spot on the corner of the crossroads with Sanjo-Dori is prominent and can't be missed.
Entering the Hub as we did on a Thursday night (probably around 10:30) we weren't surprised to see about half the punters here not being Japanese. The fairly large space is divided into two sections, smoking and no smoking. The bar / counter is in the no smoking bit. I'd say drinkers were evenly divided between the two.
Maybe because it's new but this Kyoto Hub seemed very bright, a bit too bright for my tastes, giving off the vibe of a family restaurant rather than a watering hole (especially one with a reputation for being a multicultural meat market). Anyway, whatever the lighting, the vibe on a Thursday night at Hub seemed to be easy going and relaxed.
As for the menu - Hub is a chance for those who have been missing it to drink booze by the pint. Hub Ale is 880 yen and draft beer 710 yen. You can also get Guinness here, 930 yen for a pint. Imported beers include Budweiser, Heineken, London Pride, Hoegaarden, and Corona. Gin & tonics are from 390 yen with other cocktails going up to around 700 yen. Shots of the harder stuff are around 400 - 500 yen.
The food menu at the Hub includes British classic and Japan's default image of British food fish and chips - 630 yen. Brits craving a taste of Sundays back home can fill up on roast beef for 680 yen, although this is Japan so expect it to be very pink! Pizzas at the Hub are around 1,000 yen.
Come to the Hub to catch sports games, matches and tournaments on the TVs.
It's easy to be disparaging about the Hub (gaijin bar and all that) where ever one may be in Japan but they remain a great resource for an easy few drinks and the chance to mingle with foreigners and locals alike (for whatever purpose). This Hub in Kyoto is in a great spot to play any role in a night out on Kyoto's Kiyamachi-Dori. Also, what's nice about the Hub is the bar service, as in you go to the bar to order your drinks and pay for them there and then rather than having to be at the mercy of having to attract the attention of potentially busy bar staff.
Hours: Mon - Thurs 17:00 - midnight / Fri 17:00 - 02:00 / Sat 16:00 - 02:00 / Sun 16:00 - midnight
Nearest Station: Sanjo Station (east across the Kamo River but only about 100 m to the Hub)