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Dec 2003
Issue 043

KS Classifieds out NOW!

Get Thee to a Covent

I am told that Kitahorie’s Covent Garden Social Club is still a “work in progress”, although there seems to be little evidence of this. Owners Richard Luke and Mark Anthony im-part a respectful modesty about their project, despite the fact that, after 8 months, the bar looks and feels as homely and as comfor-table as anything you might hope for – a kind of Canadian Cheers in the middle of Osaka.

Richard and Mark, both long-term residents of Kansai, have their credentials – “graduates of Tin’s Hall”, both of who have worked within the industry in a certain number of capacities, including restaurateur, magazine publisher and bartender, and most recently the running of OCAT’s Skybar.

Far from the genteel surroundings of its namesake, Covent Garden is your archetypal neighborhood bar. Richard and Mark wanted to create an relaxing atmosphere, somewhere that is like “hanging out in your living room”, only with better food and a much, much better selection of drink. Regulars are well treated here, as are newcomers. Up to 50% of their clientele are serial visitors, which adds to the relaxed, familiar atmosphere.
A very social club, by all accounts.

There are many reasons why people keep coming back. The food must be one of the top ones. So many places offer the ‘best burger in Kansai’ that the words are fairly hollow. The Covent Garden burger, however, does indeed stand in a class of it’s own. Made from scratch (including the bun), the CG take on the common burger is something to be beheld. Food hovers around the 600 –800 mark for an incredibly generous portion. There are veggie options available as well.

Drinks are reasonably priced, with lager and Guinness on tap. They also have a range of hard-to-find exports, that covers a range of expat tastes. The bar will also be making things festive at the appropriate times, with a Christmas dinner, and for those sufficiently recovered, a New Year’s party the next week. Ask for details. Sundays are movie nights. Mark and Richard’s Japanese associates, Risa and Yuka, also do a sideline in ikebana and Japanese language lessons in the adjacent Covent Garden Flower Studio.

Covent Garden is also fast-becoming a favorite sports venue. Their handling of the recent Rugby World Cup is testament to this – the well-thought out combination of a big projection screen, comfortable couches and ample drinks makes it an obvious choice. If my friends had a living room like this, I would never leave. Naturally, hockey makes a show-ing, as do most of the big ones – the Hanshin road to (almost) victory was well covered, as is soccer.

Mark also displayed a healthy interest in Pride, so if watching bloody gladi-atorial battles is your thing, this is your place. The beauty of the set-up, however, is that it is so much more than a sports bar. Most people just go there to hang out, and if there are sports on, so much the better.

For those less physically inclined in the sports arena, there are the old favorites. Pool and darts are housed in a cozy little annex (priced ¥200 & ¥100 per game, respectively), and if enough interest can be garnered, Mark has plans to launch pool competitions.

For a reminder of the good things about home, a place to relax in comfort and sink your teeth into a big, fat hamburger, there can be few options as attractive as this.

Covent Garden Social Club
Open: 17:00-Late, everyday
Kitahorie 2-5-10, Nishi-ku, Osaka
Nearest Stations: Nishi-Ohashi / Yotsubashi Stn.
Tel: 06-4391-3113

Text & Photos: Euan Mckirdy


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