The World End Irish Pub, which opened in 2012, is a charming little bar that’s conveniently located right in front of Ueno Station—it’s just one minute away. You are greeted with a warm ambience and walls covered in stickers and coasters from a global array of beer brands. Red leather bar stools are dotted around the room, and the bar is positioned toward the back. A Jameson Irish Whiskey flag adorns the ceiling. The bar was opened by Shinya Kawai and his boss, after they spent time working in the popular British pub chain, HUB.
Sitting with pride on the bar is a framed certificate saying: “This is to certify that The World End Irish Pub has crafted 563 Pints of GUINNESS from 2016/9/1 to 2016/9/7.” The highlights of the beer menu are Guinness, Hoegaarden, Heartland and Kilkenny. However, these aren’t the only tipples on offer—typical spirits, wines and cocktails are also available, as well as guest beer taps that are rotated every three days. Kawai explained that many guests enjoy drinking traditional Japanese beers—both famous brands and microbreweries—in the setting of a traditional Irish pub. Irish, Scottish and American whiskies also feature on the menu, and coins, signed banknotes and handwritten notes line the walls as reminders of the international guests who have been before. Once Covid-19 situation improves, Kawai encourages more overseas travelers to come to Japan—and drop in at The World End.
The bar is meant to share the spirit of craic—the Irish term for liveliness and good fun, and Kawai has made sure that the interior, atmosphere and staff all contribute to this feeling. As he explained, “I visited an actual Irish pub and used it as a reference for the interior design, and non-Japanese customers often say that it feels like a real Irish pub. Our staff are very friendly and help contribute to the craic atmosphere.”
The food menu features many different British pub dishes such as fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, and Guinness stew—Kawai’s favorite.
The World End is small, meaning guests spend a lot of their evenings rubbing elbows with fellow customers. This gives all a chance to mix and converse, especially when sports are being streamed. The pub has a screen that streams live matches and repeats of sporting events across the globe. The 2019 Rugby World Cup was a prime example, and Kawai said that both foreign and Japanese punters gathered in excitement to enjoy the matches.
He added that many of the bar’s customers are from places such as Ireland, England, Australia, America and Norway, just to name a few. This is exactly in keeping with Kawai’s aim with The World End: “I want to make this bar a place where both locals and people visiting from overseas can easily stop by,” Kawai said. “I’m looking forward to welcoming even more foreign customers once the pandemic is over.”
For those looking for more information about The World End Irish Pub, and its extensive drink selection, visit their Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theworldend_irishpub/