In Japan, a bar which serves alcoholic drinks and food is called an Izakaya. The appearance and atmosphere are often of a Japanese-style, and zashikis (Japanese-style rooms) are also often available. Some hang red lanterns and/or a noren (shop curtain) at their entrance.
Drinks Served in an Izakaya
In Izakaya, you can enjoy alcoholic drinks popular in Japan, such as beer, Japanese sake, and chu-hai (shochu diluted with another beverage like juice or soda). Another name for "chu-hai" is "sawa". If you are not in the mood for alcohol, there are always non-alcoholic drinks like oolong tea and cola available, so no worries.
Food Served in an Izakaya
There are a huge variety of dishes sold in izakayas, as compared to bars and pubs in other countries, and you can eat to your heart's content. Typical dishes compose of items like sashimi, fried dishes like tenpura, barbecued dishes like yakitori chicken, salad, and rice.
"Otooshi", the Dish Served Before you Order
"Otooshi", also known as "tsukidashi", is a small appetiser served with the first drink before the shop serves the dishes you ordered. What it consists of depends on the shop. Otooshi sometimes surprises first-comers because it is served even before you order anything. It is charged onto your total bill and whether you can refuse it or not depends on the shop.
Happy Hour and All-you-can-drink
Some izakayas offer happy hours where the prices are discounted, usually 50%, during a certain time period, and drink/eat-all-you-want plans where you can enjoy all the food and drinks within a certain time limit for a fixed price. However, be mindful about ordering more than you can eat/drink to prevent wasting food.
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