New in town or just passing through Osaka and want to rock yer balls off (or yer gazombas, as the case may be) at an after-hours joint? How about throwing in some solid bottles of American craft, fading into the liquid intensity of Zeppelin, while belting out the lyrics with even the bar-hands joining in? Then buy yer next round at Rock Bar Cherry Bomb. You won’t regret it, though you might not remember it. This cozy, 5th floor establishment overlooks the city like a beer vortex into the nether regions of the night where you’ll find it in the heart of Namba, Osaka (that’s downtown Osaka, Japan, for those of you who have yet to visit this little island in Asia).
Now celebrating its second year, Cherry Bomb is the hop-child of Americans, Chris Awls and Jessie Theriot. Says Chris, “Rock Bar Cherry Bomb is our second bar together, so before we started it, we thought about everything that was good about the old place and everything that we wanted to change. We gutted the place down to just a shell and made everything by hand, exactly the way we wanted it. We want a place that’s fun and lively where, as soon as you come in, you’re greeted by a friendly bartender who makes you feel like you’ve been there a hundred times before, even on your first visit. We basically wanted to create a place that we wanted to hang out at.” Hell yeah!
Because Cherry Bomb is a modest space, it ensures that bartenders can interact with everyone at the bar (even if yer ugly), many of whom are friends, as most of the clientele are repeat customers. The friendly atmosphere of the bar (again, even if yer ugly) and the quality selection of imported artisanal brews not only invites customers to stay later, but also to come again. And even again with friends (some of whom are typically not ugly–at least at 2 in the morning). This appeal also includes the simple joie de vivre that comes from playing games that are always on hand at the bar like Jenga (while drunk), Connect Four (while drunker) and Cards Against Humanity (while trying not to be so drunk). Have yet to play Cards Against Humanity? You need to. And you need to play in Asia. At Rock Bar Cherry Bomb. Book a plane ticket and come play it at this bar with these bartenders. They’re pros. Prooooos!
Customers who rock this hood come from a wide range of backgrounds that includes local Japanese and ex-pats to backpackers and airline pilots. Travelers passing through often find Cherry Bomb through Trip Advisor, Wikitravel, or just stumble in off the street. At first glance, through its smoky haze and loud music, Cherry Bomb might not seem like a craft beer bar, but the owners are both beer aficionados from back in the day when craft beer was still microbrew. Chris has history with homebrewing and Jessie put in his time as an assistant brewer back in the US. Like many bars in Japan, craft beer seemed out of reach financially when they first opened. Former Evergreen Imports sales rep, Ajen Birmingham, introduced the Cherry Bomb duo to Phred Kaufman of Ezo Beer. He was the first to import craft beer into Japan (aka “the Santa Claus of beer”) who was instrumental in making sure Cherry Bomb was always well stocked with better beer, including bottles of Rogue, Lost Coast and Mad River. “Our customers have really responded well to having an alternative to Asahi. Some of our favorites are Victory, Dogfish Head, Left Hand, Epic and Sierra Nevada, although we’re always excited to try new beers as well (like the Washington Beers!),” says Chris.
Rock Bar Cherry Bomb. Because some nights, you need to miss that last train, or book a ticket to Asia, to play a round of Jenga at 2 in the morning with complete strangers… even if yer ugly!