Hanbey: retros and cheap izakayas in Japan

Hanbey is an izakaya chain offering a retro feel and Japanese dishes at very affordable prices.

Izakayas are the Japanese equivalent of our Western restaurant bars. This is the kind of place where we like to get together with friends or colleagues after a hard working day.

In Japan, there are many institutions of this type that belon to large chains. These izakaya often offer the same: same food, same scenery… Personally, I love this typical Japanese ambience, but I also like to change time to time. And that is what Hanbey restaurants offer.

Welcome to the Showa era

First, let’s talk about the decoration that makes the charm of this brand. When one enters a Hanbey izakaya, he is inevitably transported in time. We feel like in post-war Japan thanks to various pop goodies of this period used as festoon.

Hanbey ambience
Here is the general atmosphere of a Hanbey restaurant.

Indeed, the walls are covered with movie and commercial posters of the 50’s and 60’s, when Japan was living an economic miracle. Toys of this era are disposed all around these retro restaurants. Dining here is like eating in a Mandarake in Nakano Broadway.

A huge menu with affordable prices

The menu is huge! You can choose from dozens of skewers ranging from classic chicken dumpling to pieces of pig uterus. You can also enjoy traditional dishes like oden or okonomiyakis with respectable sizes. The food is not exceptional, but it is more than correct.

Hanbey Izakaya Posters
Hanbey walls are covered with old school posters.

The best is the bill. Eating in these izakayas is frankly affordable! Most skewers are at less than 100 yen, and Okonomiyakis are at only 200 yens. It is quite extraordinay when you consider that one okonomiyaki was enough for my dinner.

Where to find a Hanbey izakaya?

There are more than fifty Hanbey izakayas throughout Japan, including fifteen in just Tokyo prefecture. These retros restaurants open their doors usually from 17PM to midnight, but some Hanbey are open later, until 3AM.

The feedback and photos of this article were taken from the restaurant located in Shibuya.

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