Izakaya is the term for a Japanese pub. It was first used in Japanese in the 1750s and means “the house with alcohol” and is a popular and affordable venue for enjoying a casual drink with friends or an after-work drink with colleagues. Typically you pay for two hours or three hours of all in-eating or drinking or both and you can drink as much as you like during this time. Obviously this all-inclusive drinking was a good solution. Late night in Tokyo, rowdy university students make the most of a cheap night out and Japanese white collar workers can be found sitting around the floor level tables enjoying beer and snacks with their colleagues. This is a place for them to forget the stress of their long day and loosen the constraints of corporate life – at least for a few hours before they are back on the train heading out to the office.
The word izakaya only appeared in English in the Los Angeles Times which claimed that izakaya had already “taken a foot hold in Los Angeles and will be on the rise nationwide in time “. However, that was back in 1987, and this prediction has not yet come true.
Even though the British Airways magazine High Life introduced the word in 1993, the izakaya has not yet taken off. Perhaps now is the time. Just recently izakaya restaurants have opened in London. Who knows whether they are there to stay, but at least restaurants such as Kurobuta, Bimco and Flesh & Buns have arrived.
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