Tokyo eatery stands out with matcha summer beer garden

Photos by Erica Earl
Photos by Erica Earl

Tokyo eatery stands out with matcha summer beer garden

by Erica Earl
Stars and Stripes

With all the diversity that makes the world beautiful, there is one common ground in most countries I have lived in during summertime: beer gardens. 

There is nothing like soaking in the sun with your friends with a cool drink in hand. 

Despite not being a big beer drinker (much to the chagrin of my three hops-loving sisters when we visit each other), I still enjoy checking them out. Japan is no exception, with several beer gardens cropping up now that the summer heat is here. In many districts, it is the first sighting of beer gardens since before the coronavirus pandemic. 

I went to Green Tea Restaurant 1899 near Ochanomizu Station in Tokyo because their distinctive all-matcha-themed menu stood out to me from the rest. The bitter green tea is a trademark flavor of Japan, and the district of Ochanomizu literally translates to "tea water."

I'm a lover of all things matcha, so I could not wait to try the menu despite the garden being less aesthetic than some of the other ones around the city. Green Tea Restaurant 1899 is not a beer garden in the traditional sense, a literal outdoor space, as the name suggests. It does have a patio area with some greenery, but not appealing enough for me to want to sit out in the heat. 

As you may be able to guess by the establishment’s name, Green Tea Restaurant 1899 serves matcha items year-round, but their matcha beer garden menu ends Sept. 30.

The beer garden is 3,500 yen, or about $25, for all-you-can-drink with a two-hour time limit, which is a decent deal considering drink prices in central Tokyo.  If you reserve online, the price gets knocked down to $20. The beer garden menu is only available from 5-10 p.m. and includes matcha-infused beer, wine, cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks.

Guests are not allowed to order more than one drink at a time each (of course, I had to try).

The matcha beer blended the bitterness of dark beer and the bitterness of green tea better than I anticipated. The Uji green tea taste is admittedly fainter than the smell, but I’m glad I tried it as it is unique and refreshing. I was surprised to like it better than the matcha wine, a blend of the powdered tea with a house white wine which I found sour. I’m not big on sweet wines so would have been content with something drier, but the first taste of it made my lips pucker. It grew on me, however.

The restaurant also serves a hojicha beer, distinctly different because roasting the tea leaves gives them a more earthy flavor that is a little sweeter than matcha.

My favorite of all the alcoholic options was the sencha gin spritz, perfect for summer.  Sencha is made from boiling the tea leaves whereas matcha is a powder.

The menu also includes non-alcoholic drinks such as a matcha salty dog with grapefruit and sea salt and matcha cola. The matcha cola is interesting because the green tea float part atop the cold cola is warm, making for a fun — and a little unusual— sensation when you sip it.


Food is also available for purchase a la carte, and the menu is by no means short on items to continue to satisfy your green tea fix.

Choices include matcha potato wedges, matcha Caesar salad and matcha carp, ranging from 580 yen to 1,800 yen, or $4-$13, for each dish.

I had the matcha soba (700 yen, $5), The cool noodles are a hallmark of Japanese summer fare, and the green tea flavor gave them a pleasant tanginess.  

There are also a variety of matcha sweets available, such as the matcha ice cream, another Japanese summer classic, and green and black tea pound cakes.

The restaurant also has a towering matcha parfait that looks visually impressive, but I'm not a massive fan of Japanese parfaits as they tend to be all show and little substance and usually stuffed with cereal and empty space.

The cost of the pound cake, which comes with two small pieces, and ice cream combined is cheaper than the parfait ($6.50 vs. $10), so I recommend doing that if you want to finish with something sweet.  

Reservations can be made directly on Green Tea Restaurant 1899’s website.

Green Tea Restaurant 1899

Address: 3-chōme-4 Kanda Surugadai, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 101-0062

Hours: Daily 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Dress: Casual

Price: $20 for all-you-can drink advance reservation, $5-$13 for a la carte dishes

Contact: 03-3251-1150


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