By Ian Platford
Hitachi City is an industrial area. After a hard day at work, you would like somewhere to unwind and relax. Somewhere that feels like home. Welcome to Bardega, located in the middle of Hitachi City. Bardega is a cross between a European-style bar and an izakaya. The bar is decorated with memorabilia from New Zealand collected by the bar owner, who used to reside there.
The owner, Taka, can speak English and is helpful for new visitors to Japan. Also, if you would like to make friends with members of the local community, then this is a good place to start. Taka regularly arranges many different types of events, from BBQs and camping trips in the summer to skiing and snowboarding trips in the winter. He'll also happily host any birthday parties, wedding celebrations, etc. if you give him advanced notice.
Bardega is a frequent hangout for many of the foreigners in the Hitachi City area. However, there is a good mix of Japanese customers as well. This is not solely a foreigner bar.
There is plenty to do in Bardega, as Taka can provide board games, card games, Jenga and a free foosball table. If you feel brave enough, try asking Taka to join in. In addition to all the games, Taka also offers a personalised liquor reservation service. Simply order any bottle of liquor, and he will put your name on the bottle and store it in a cabinet for you. You can request it at anytime during your future visits to Bardega. You are sure to feel very welcome by Taka and his friendly staff members.
If you're looking for some decent food, Bardega offers more than just standard izakaya fare. The bar has a fairly wide selection of foods to choose from, whether you're in the mood for Japanese dishes, American dishes, or even British dishes like fish and chips. If you anticipate having a large appetite, you might consider ordering the 2-kilogram hamburg steak (available by reservation only). I personally recommend the habañero pizza and tacos.
So why not mix with the locals and get involved in various trips, activities and parties? If you're new to Japan and are looking to ease into the Japanese bar scene, or even if you're looking for a change of pace from the usual izakaya, then Bardega is definitely worth a visit.
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I was born in Argentina hence the Spanish sounding name. My father is British and my mother is Japanese. I have had a fairly international upbringing. I spent my childhood growing up in Saudi Arabia, Spain and the U.K. In addition, I studied in Hungary, Spain, England. and the USA. I enjoy traveling and my last adventure was in Central America (Guatemala, El Salvador, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama). I had worked in the U.K. for many years and then I decided to move to Japan last year. I have enjoyed experiencing what Japan has to offer and I hope I can share my experiences with you all.