Meguro is a section of Tokyo with a little less glitz than Shibuya and a little less grit than Shinjuku. It sits happily below those two wards geographically and between them characteristically. Meguro is home to a number of towns, each with a style of their own, and also to a lot of great coffee.
Ikejiri-Ohashi is a town beneath a highway overpass. Recently they’ve begun to promote themselves as a coffee town due to their high concentration of stylish cafes within walkable distance of each other. Some of the shops on that list include the cramped and cool Bubbles Chill Coffee; The friendly and art-centric Good People & Good Coffee; and the unbelievably hip record-store/clothing boutique/espresso bar Paradise Tokyo. Each of these shops have a lot to offer, especially in atmosphere.
Here you’ll also find The Workers Coffee/Bar, a dimly lit espresso bar just off the busy main street that shares its space with a sit down restaurant. The combination of tables and chairs made of dark, smooth woods and neon signs hanging on the wall give this shop the feeling of an old European cafe mixed with modern street style. I could equally imagine both a business man in neatly pressed suit or a fixie-rider in cut-offs enjoying an espresso here—It’s a beautiful marriage of styles. The espresso itself is a custom medium roast provided by Little Nap Coffee Stand. It tastes round, sweet and chocolatey and has ever-so-subtle hints of orange zest. In other words: It’s a darker roast done right.
Further down this side street is a refreshingly bright and simple cafe serving some of Denmark’s best coffee. PNB Coffee offers beautifully prepared filter coffees from La Cabra and Coffee Collective. It’s relaxed and calm in PNB, and the coffee is bright, juicy, and invigorating. If you’re a design buff then you’ll appreciate the minimalist approach to the interior which grabbed a mention in an article by Architectural Digest. If you’re a coffee fan than the interesting, clean, and complex flavors of these Scandinavian brews will not let you down.
Naka-Meguro is a cluster of train tracks, cramped eateries, and flashing lights. Near Naka-Meguro Station, by the train tracks and a children’s park, is Onibus Coffee Nakameguro. Onibus Coffee is one of the quickest growing specialty coffee roasters in Tokyo. They are quality driven and careful with their coffee preparations and offer high quality espresso and pour-overs. The design of the cafe, too, is impressive; The building itself was an old Japanese home, the first floor serves as a roastery and cafe workspace while the second floor has communal seating overlooking the park. The parklet on the side of the cafe is a great spot for sipping down a quick espresso or for chatting outside with friends.
Closer to the area’s main transportation hub, Meguro Station, nestled deep in the back-streets, sits Switch Coffee Tokyo. Switch is well known on the Tokyo coffee scene, and attracts a lot of coffee tourism despite the small cafe space and hard to find location. The quality of the coffee may be an indication of why so many people seek them out. Though theres barely any seating to speak of, they offer a full menu of espresso based drinks as well as top-knotch pour-overs. If you’re a beans buff then the selection of excellently roasted coffee from a variety of countries and farms will impress.
PNB Coffee: Meguro, Aobadai, 3-13-14, Tokyo
The Workers Coffee/Bar: Meguro, Aobadai, 3-18-3, Tokyo
Onibus Coffee Naka-Meguro: Meguro-Ku, Kamimeguro 2-14-1, Tokyo
Switch Coffee Tokyo: 1-17-23 Meguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo