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Friday, July 6, 2012
TOKYO FOOD FILE
Having a few drinks beneath the Skytree
If the view from the top of Tokyo Skytree leaves you hungry for more down-to-earth pleasures, there's no shortage of eating options in the Tokyo Solamachi mall at the foot of the tower. The ground floor arcade offers snacks and souvenirs, including a branch of one of Tokyo's most enterprising sake specialists, Hasegawa Saketen.
Upstairs there are four floors of restaurants. Many are outposts of long-established Tokyo stalwarts, such as Tamahide (Solamachi 7F;  5809-7228), whose recipe for oyako donburi (chicken and omelet rice bowl) has been pulling in the crowds for two and a half centuries. Others have a casual, contemporary feel, such as Shokkan (Solamachi 30F;  5809-7251), whose affordable modern Japanese cuisine has won it plaudits in its stylish Shibuya basement headquarters.
At meal times expect to find lines outside just about every entrance. But one place where tables free up fast is at the World Beer Museum. Despite its serious name, this is in fact a fun, spacious, boisterous beer hall themed around the brews (albeit rather pricey) and bar foods of five major beer cultures: German, British, Belgian, Czech and American. As an added bonus, it has a spacious outside terrace that offers sunset cityscape views and, if you crane your neck sharply upward, the vertiginous tower itself. This is likely to be extremely popular on balmy summer nights — especially when the annual fireworks display is held on the nearby Sumida River.
World Beer Museum, Tokyo Solamachi 7F, 1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida-ku, Tokyo; (03) 5610-2648. Open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Nearest station: Oshiage Skytree (Hanzomon, Asakusa and Keisei-Oshiage lines); Tokyo Skytree (Tobu Skytree Line). www.world-liquor-importers.co.jp.