Kings Arms and the Cavern Club

Now this might sound like a night out in Liverpool but in fact it was Osaka! Near my work is an English looking bar, the Kings Arms, and just around the corner, The Cavern Club! So with a National Holiday the day after my lady and I went for a night out.

First off, the Kings Arms.

Traditional-ish looking English pub on the outside, tiny Japanese/German style bar on the inside. Run by 3 old Japanese fellas who were very attentive (read: watched us most of the time), but very pleasant. We ordered some food (pizza, pasta) and it was marvellous. I had a Carlsberg to start with, not that I would drink it in England, but it’s surprising the things you do in foreign countries sometimes, then switched back to the Japanese beers.

Bit pricey, mainly because of the annoying table charge system that exists in Japan. Not sure if other countries have this (so prevalently), I know England doesn’t, but nearly every bar you go to, charges you for the privilege of being there – between ¥300and¥700 – for which you get some edamame (soy beans in pods – delicious!) or some other tiny dish.
Admittedly the Kings Arms did give us an osyster on a cracker and something else I can’t remember, but charged us ¥500 for that, PLUS ¥500 table charge. So that’s ¥200 between us just for going in to a bar! And you have no choice over this.

The number of bars I’ve been to in Japan which have been great, but I won’t go in again as it’s to expensive because of this practice.
Not sure why they do it, think it might be a catch-22 situation. They don’t get many customers so they have to charge people to drink there to make up the profits, but because they’re charging people, they don’t get many customers. Or maybe I would just rather spend that money on beer whereas Japanese people don’t drink much so it’s how the bars can survive…hmm.

Anyway, off to the next venue, The Cavern Club.

This was a great Beatles cover band bar (did you guess that already?). Pretty authentic inside (not authentic like the Cavern Club, but looked like an English pub – even down to the bar stools with flowery, wallpaper looking covers). Beatles posters everywhere as well as memorabilia that you could (and we did) buy.

I’ll just quickly moan about the table charge here aswell, to re-inforce my point. This was a live band venue, so obviously we had to pay, no problems there. But then we were forced to buy one food dish, each! So we ended up with a bowl of chocolates and some edamame for £4 each! Grrr.

Still, I have to say it was a great night out, and we will definitely go again (although we discovered the cheap bottle of wine as the best drink on a budget a little too late).

The band (tonight it was the strangely named The Bambies) were excellent, and “John Lennon” even looked a bit like him (the others looked more like “The Spiders” – Japanese 1960’s Beatles rip-off band, they hadn’t made much of an effort apart from the clothes). They all sang, including Ringo, and they all sang the appropriate songs (songs the real Beatles individually sang on the albums), so we got Ringo doing Yellow Submarine, and my favourite, Octopuses Garden.

The great thing was, they did 3 sets while we were there, and would take requests!

We bought some coasters on the way out, deciding not to buy the genuine brick from the Real Cavern Club, maybe next time, and headed home.

I would highly recommend it as a great fun night out in Umeda, although if you are too precious about the Beatles (…thinking of you Andy…) then maybe you might find it a bit stressful 😉 Especially when you can’t work out what Paul McCartney’s singing even though you know the words to the song.

On a slightly related note, if you’re ever in Ashiya I highly recommend Petit Emilion. Our local wine bar, that is very good value, does great food, and DOES NOT charge you for being there! 😀

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