When searching for an establishment in Japan, copy and paste the words “スナック” into the search box, then enter the name of the place where you are located after putting a space.
Hello, This is Ke!i
How are you guys doing?
Today, I am going to explain「SNACK」in Japan.
In Japan, a「SNACK」is a place where “Mom”, hostesses and male staff called masters serve customers over a counter.
There are two types of「SNACK」s: one with only counter seats, and one with counter seats and table (box) seats. Even when the bar is full, there are only about 15 to 20 people, so it can be managed by a small group of employees.
◆What is he attraction of「SNACK」？
I think there are many attractions of「SNACK」. First and foremost is the “Mom”
For example, let’s talk about my favorite「SNACK」, the Mom’s network, personality, care, kindness, and sense of humor. Everything about her is perfect!
And she’s really good at getting the karaoke flowing! It may be obvious, but I feel that the personality of the “Mom” is directly reflected in the personality of the「SNACK」.
Of course, only customers who “Love this bar!!” have become regular customers, so the customer base is good. “Mom” has a positive attitude, so it seems like there is a crowd of positive customers. As a result, the regulars get to know each other very easily.
My boss, who used to take me to「SNACK」s, told me something like this.
“The good thing about「SNACK」s is that you can build relationships that have nothing to do with your job. As you get to know the “Mom”, you naturally develop relationships with other customers, and you can talk about common topics and make new friends.”
There are roughly eight types of fees charged at「SNACK」s.
Let’s start with the set price. The set price for 「SNACK」s is around 2,000 yen at the cheaper bar, and around 6,000 yen at the more expensive bar, and the length of the set varies from bar to bar, sometimes it’s one hour or two, and sometimes there’s no time limit, so make sure to check with the bar.
In most cases, the following four items are included in the set price, but in rare cases, mineral water and ice cream may be extra.
Alcohol (shochu, whiskey, brandy) provided by the bar
Water used to make watered-down drinks
Ice for alcohol
A small amount of food served at the beginning of a meal.
It may be dry food or a small bowl (dish).
A bottle fee is a fee charged when you order a whole bottle of liquor.
The price varies depending on the type of liquor, but you can order a bottle of shochu for as little as 3,000 yen.
If you don’t finish the entire bottle, don’t worry, there is a system called “bottle keeping”.
The bar will keep it for you, so you can drink it again the next time you come back.
There is one thing you should be aware of, though.
There is an expiration date for the bottle keeping.
There are different rules depending on「SNACK」s, such as six months from the day you come to the bar, or six months from the day you start the bottle keeping. So it’s best to check. It would be a shock if you go to「SNACK」after a long time and found no bottle of your own! haha
Also, if you can’t go to the「SNACK」for more than six months, you can tell a friend like, “My bottle is in the「SNACK」called OOO, you can have it if you want.”They would be happy to have Your drink.
But don’t you think the system of sharing bottles is well thought out? I mean, it’s a great way to get new customers without having to spend a lot of money on advertising!haha By the way, I heard that Japan is the only country that has a bottle keeping system. It’s an interesting and well thought out system.
★Person who should keep a bottle
- It is a favorite「SNACK」that you visit at least once a month.
- You want to show off to your colleagues and friends that you am a regular customer.
- It is the only drink I want.
- You are hitting on the “Mom “or hostess.
- If you keep a bottle, you can get a discount on the “set price” or get more benefits
★Person who should NOT keep a bottle
- You don’t like the “Mom” and hostesses at the「SNACK」.
- You don’t like the customers that comes to the「SNACK」.
- The purpose of going to the snack bar is karaoke, so you think the house bottle is enough.
- You only drink beer, champagne, and other drinks that you cannot do bottle keeping.
- You don’t plan to come back to this bar again because You were brought to the「SNACK」 by chance.
- You don’t like to drink alcohol, so you only drink soft drinks.
【３】Service Charge（Table Charge）
A charge that is always incurred when you enter「SNACK」. Generally, it’s about 1,000 to 2,000 yen.
※Some bars include a charge in the set price.
※Some bars only generate it once, no matter how many hours you stay, while others generate it every time you take a set.
※In many cases, the charge for table seats is higher than for counter seats.
【４】Charge for Karaoke
There is a charge for karaoke. There are「SNACK」s that charge hundreds of yen per song every time you sing, Bars that charge thousands of yen for unlimited singing, and Bars that karaoke is free of charge because it’s included in the set price. There are many different types, so check before you sing.
【５】Price of Drinks and Food
The price of drinks and food that you order inside「SNACK」. “Mom or hostesses of my favorite Bar never asks, “May I have a drink? It doesn’t matter how exciting the conversation is or how much fun the karaoke is. That’s one of the things I like about them. I’m not saying it’s wrong to ask customers for drinks because it’s business. But I think it’s great that they leave the decision-making to the customers!
That’s why I always ask her.
“Mom, do you want something to drink?
And she’d say.
“What? You don’t mind? I’m so happy!
And then, as usual, “Cheers!
I love this “communication”haha
I’m sorry to compare it to a high class club or a high class cabaret club, but buying a drink at a 「SNACK」 is not so expensive. At most, it’s about 800 yen or 1,000 yen, which is a reasonable price. Most of the food is also around 1,000 yen.「SNACK」s are really reasonable!
The charge for bringing in food and drinks. This also varies from bar to bar. Or perhaps it would be easier to say that it depends on the “Mom’s way of thinking”. However, even if you are charged, it’s usually around 500 to 1,000 yen. If you really want to know, please check with the bar.
The sales tax is a tax imposed on the provision of services, etc. There are bars with internal and external taxes. If you go to「SNACK」s that offers a “First time only course, drink the house bottle and sing karaoke for 60 minutes”, and the “Mom” and hostesses don’t make you order anything, you will only pay 3,000 yen and finish your bill. In this case, the sales tax is included in the price because it is an internal tax. In the case of bars that charge an external tax, it will be added to the subtotal and charged separately.
Customer service charge for being served. Some charge 10% to 20%, others charge 20% including sales tax and service charge. Or some do not charge at all.
That’s the end of my explanation of「SNACK」prices.
◆Opening hours of「SNACK」s
Each bar has different opening hours. Some are open from 12:00 noon, while others are open until 5:00 am. My favorite「SNACK」, by the way, is open from 6pm to 11:30pm. I once asked “Mom”, “Why don’t you open until midnight?And, what she told me was very interesting. So I would like to share it with you.
Reason for not opening late at night
Part １，【Legal Issue】
I heard that “Mom” wanted to properly “entertain” her important customers, so she obtained the “Public Entertainment Business No. 1 Permit”. The permit only allows you to be open until midnight. For your information, if you want to stay open after midnight, you need to submit a “Notification of the Start of a Restaurant Serving Alcoholic Beverages at Late Night” instead of a “Public Entertainment Business No. 1 Permit.
However, the “Notification of Establishment of a Restaurant Serving Alcoholic Beverages at Late Night” does not allow for “entertainment. I asked if it was possible to use the ” Public Entertainment Business No. 1 Permit” until midnight and then use the “Notification of the Start of a Restaurant Serving Alcoholic Beverages at Late Night” after midnight. But I was told that under Japanese law, it is not possible to obtain both business permits at the same time.
So any「SNACK」that “entertains” after midnight is illegal. Very informative. If you’re reading this! Don’t go to any「SNACK」that is open for entertainment after midnight! Because you can get arrested with them as well. If you’re going to a「SNACK」, go to one that’s open only until midnight! Oh, by the way, I did a little research on what kind of things are considered “entertainment”. If a「SNACK」is open after midnight and engages in any of the following entertainment activities, it’s illegal.
“Mom” or hostesses are:
- Sitting at a table where a customer is sitting.
- Sitting next to a customer at a counter.
- Chatting with a customer.
- Serving a drink to a customer.
- Making a cup of water for a customer.
- Lighting a cigarette for a customer.
- Handing a “hand towel” for a customer.
- Offering karaoke to a customer.
- Singing karaoke duets with customers.
- Clapping your hands to the karaoke song.
- Applauding between and at the end of karaoke songs.
- Playing games with customers.
- Putting on a show for customers.
- Forcing customers to dance.
- Holding a customer’s hand or holding a customer’s body close.
- Offering food to the customer’s mouth and making the customer eat it.
Reason for not opening late at night
Part ２，【Problem of the last train】
The target customers are Japanese Salary Men, so “Mom” wanted them to be able to catch the last train. I see, that’s why they are closed on weekends and holidays. And the location of the bar is also a sacred place for Japanese Salary Men.
Reason for not opening late at night
Part ３，【See-Off Problem】
Because “Mom” doesn’t have a driver’s license, so she can’t drive her home, she wanted to make sure her beloved hostesses get home on the last train.
Reason for not opening late at night
Part ４，【Physical Problems】
“Mom” is a divorcee with two small children, so she has to make lunch in the morning and take them to the nursery, which limits her sleep time. She said that the current five-and-a-half-hour business hours are just right for her physically.
These were the reasons for not opening late at night.
◆Dress Code for「SNACK」s
I’ve never heard of「SNACK」s having a dress code, so it’s okay to dress casually. It just depends on the customer base of the bar, but be careful not to wear anything too ” weird ” or you’ll look out of place.
◆Characteristics of customers who are unwanted at「SNACK」s
Many「SNACK」s have a sense of unity with their regular customers, as well as a deep connection with the local community and a cozy atmosphere. The personality of the Bar is the personality of the “Mom”, and「SNACK」s are like her “home”. So, even if you’re a customer, make sure you pay respect to “Mom” and treat the masters and hostesses kindly. In order to make sure that all of you are taken care of by the store, I’m going to introduce six characteristics of an unwanted customer now, so you can refer to them.
- Even though it was the first visit to the Bar, sitting down without permission.
Gently open the entrance door. Don’t open the door all the way, but open it about a third of the way. If the Bar is open, they will let you in and show you to your seat.
② Interrupting other customer’s karaoke.
It is bad manners to interrupt the screen where karaoke lyrics are being played while other customers are comfortably singing karaoke, or to have loud conversations near where singing! They are singing comfortably, so don’t interrupt them. It would be nice if you could be kind enough to clap your hands for them.
③ Put karaoke songs in a row.
There are a lot of customers who come to the「SNACK」to enjoy karaoke, so instead of singing one song in a row by yourself, try to sing in order! Make sure that everyone can have fun and sing equally.
④ It’s your first time here, and you’re suddenly hitting on the “Mom” and hostess.
There are a lot of fans of “Mom” and hostesses. How would you feel if someone else was hitting on the woman you admire and like right in front of you? It would make you feel bad!
By the way, I think it’s pretty hard to try to take home “Mom” or hostess at「SNACK」. In my experience, there was a time when I was at「SNACK」and I thought I was finally going to be able to take home a hostess, so I asked the hostess out, and even “Mom” and the master came along with me. haha
⑤ Although it’ s the first meeting, asking for private information.
Don’t ask “Mom”, master, hostess, or even the regular customer sitting next to you for private information when you first meet them. Human relationships work well when you gradually get closer to them, and you’d be surprised if somebody suddenly got closer to you, right?
⑥ Get Twisted
Getting twisted, abusive, or sleeping in the bar is a really annoying and disgusting way to drink. Drinking alcohol is supposed to be fun, and it’s a “lubricant for the soul”. If it’s too much, you might get kicked out of the bar.
I hope the above was helpful.
◆People who are suited for「SNACK」s.
- Want to take colleagues with me and communicate with them.
- Want to have a good time with colleagues and friends at a reasonable price.
- Want to have friends and associates outside of work.
- Want to make friends with regular customers and have fun with common topics.
- Want to drink at a lower price than a high-class club or cabaret club.
- Looking for a place where you can enjoy karaoke.
- Want to have someone listen to your song.
- Want to talk to “Mom” or master about your problems.
- Want to know information about the local area.
- Want to be praised by mothers and hostesses.
◆People who are NOT suited for「SNACK」s.
- Don’t want to listen to other people’s conversations.
- Don’t want to hear other people’s karaoke songs.
- Don’t want to drink in a quiet and relaxed atmosphere.
- Don’t want to talk only with young chicks in the early twenties.
- Want to keep the karaoke microphone to yourself
- Don’t want to clap for other people’s songs.
- Don’t want others to talk to you.
- Lose memory when drinking alcohol.
Hey guys, how was it? Was it interesting? haha
I said that there are more than 60,000「SNACK」s, but that means there are more than 60,000 “Mom” with unique personalities. haha
In my case, I happened to meet my favorite bar while going out for a few bars, but if you think about it,「SNACK」s are hard to enter at first because you can’t see the inside of the bar from the outside, seeing just the shiny sign.
However, unlike in the past, the Internet is filled with information nowadays, so if you find 「SNACK」 you can trust by looking at the bar’s website or checking word-of-mouth sites, you can call and make a reservation before you go.
I think that’s definitely better than just jumping in and making an entrance. haha
Good luck finding a favorite「SNACK」that fits personality!
Goodbye, see you guys again!