A Big Steak and Some ‘Honky Tonk’

Chiba bar is a taste of the American Wild, Wild West

By Victoria Vlisides    - 4 min read

I stumbled upon a self-proclaimed honky-tonk bar in Chiba. And, folks, it’s about as honky tonk as you can get in Japan. Steak and Bar Red River (ステーキ&バー レッド リバー) is located near Chiba City, about an hour from Tokyo by train.

It offers expensive steak cuts, a bit of Tex Mex food, a full bar, seating area and bartenders in cowboy hats and plaid shirts. Next to an American flag, the sign outside reads: “Honky Tonk Bar." 

Stepping into the dimly lit spot is a bit of time travel back to the Wild, Wild West. If you’re like me an American plagued with brief pages of indulgence in the freedom-loving spirit represented by the American West — pop in to enjoy that heritage. Or, go just to see what it’s like. Because the atmosphere seems pretty authentic, and a few of the staff seem to speak English, along with having an English menu. 

Stop by to kick up your feet at the bar and order a beer with a shot of whiskey — because that’s a good feeling no matter what country you're in.

What’s more — they serve up bloody mary’s here. It's a cocktail made of tomato juice, vodka, Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces I once thought difficult to find in Japan, but I ended up having two, costing me around ¥1400. They were a little too bland (I like it spicy), but were certainly strong. Red River also has a good enough whiskey collection, notably with Maker’s Mark, Four Roses and Wild Turkey.

And that brings me to the steaks. All things considered, the variety and cut of steaks is decent: tenderloin, rib roast and sirloin. I tried the rib roast steak. It comes with ‘taters and veggies and a delicious garlic sauce. Altogether, it is tasty, however, the steak itself was a little overcooked. Prices for steaks range from about ¥2700 to ¥5000. 

To be honest, I wouldn’t come here exclusively for the food. What was most fun was just to sit back at the corner of the bar and listen to the twang of country music. If you’ve never been to the USA, come here for the atmosphere. If you’re an American, especially one from ‘round the honky-tonk parts, stop by to kick up your feet at the bar and order a beer with a shot of whiskey — because that’s a good feeling no matter what country you're in. Giddy up.

Steak and Bar Red River Access

  • Station: Hon-Chiba

  • About a 10-minute walk from Hon-Chiba Station. Look for the American Flag outside the bar.

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Victoria Vlisides

Victoria Vlisides @victoria.vlisides

Trained journalist who's not yet jaded. Can't get enough of meeting new people, the view, cheap travel, cherry-blossom-flavored food, dinner&drinks. Painfully addicted to Japan's gochya-gochya machines. If you're the type of person to try something new vs. something you know you like, we'll get along. I'm originally from the USA. Now in Chiba Prefecture, and August 2016 marks two years in Japan. I've worked in journalism/newspapers for more than 5 years. My:  Blog  --  Instagram   Travels in Japan (in brief): Kagoshima (Yakushima), Shizuoka (Gunma (Oze National Park, Mt. Shibutsu, Minakamix2), Tochigi (Kinugawa-Onsen, Nikko), Hyogo (Kobex2, Arima Hot Springs), Kyoto x3, Osaka, Nagano (Hakuba), Yamanashi (Katsunuma, Kawaguchiko area, Mt. Daibosatsu x3), Okinawa, Aichi (Nagoya), Kanagawa (Yokohama, Enoshima, Hakone, Kamakura), Tokyo (of course), Chiba (Choshi, Onjuku Beach, Otaki Forest, Otaki Castle, Nokogiriyama, Chiba City, Isumi, Kamogawa), Gifu, Ibaraki (Hitachi Seaside Park), Saitama (Kawaguchi), Shizuoka (Izu), Tokushima Travels outside of Japan: South Korea, Italy, Greece, France, Jamaica, Canada, Mexico x2, 22 states within the USA Future travel goals: Fukuoka, (SK) Seoul (again!), Hokkaido, Mt. Zao, Hiroshima, Mt. Fuji, Daito Islands (Okinawa), Taiwan, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Iceland, Norway, Kyrgastan

Join the discussion

Andrew C. 2 years ago
Victoria Vlisides Author 2 years ago
Dang right!
Elena Lisina 3 years ago
In Texas we used to drink beer! ;)
Victoria Vlisides Author 2 years ago
Haha...
Bonson Lam 4 years ago
Great place Victoria! I love bloody marys too, so you have to keep searching around Japan for the perfect one!
Bonson Lam 4 years ago
No I haven't , maybe you should show these guys how to make the perfect one!
Jerome Lee 4 years ago
What a find! I immediately thought of 'Down in Mexico' by The Coasters when I saw the title. Great one Victoria!
Victoria Vlisides Author 4 years ago
Haha! Yeah, it was quite a random find, too! Some of the best things come along just from walking around. Ah, it was such a cool place.