It is a well known fact that, for two-hundred glorious years, the sun never set on the imperious British Empire. It ruled the globe with little more than a quick wit, a stiff upper lip and the not-so insignificant matter of a massively tooled-up navy run by a bunch of inbred, adventure-seeking bastards. But, with the collapse of the Empire, Britain’s dominions decided, quite reasonably, that they wanted a bit of a say over what went on in their countries; thus one-by-one they all successfully lobbied for independence.
However, once this liberation was achieved many of these countries decided that it was just too much of a pain in the arse to remove King George’s head from the coinage, and formed a new gang to be thus known as: The Commonwealth of Nations. The Commonwealth now spans the globe, from New Zealand in the east to Canada in the west, encompassing 54 independent nations and, while it may be a surprise to find Mozambique amongst them – what with never having been part of the British Empire – perhaps the most curious appearance of the Commonwealth spirit is nestled right here, between Nishiki and Fushimi, in our fair city of Nagoya.
“You’ve got your Irish Bars and you’ve got your British pubs,” says Jim, co-owner and, for all intents and purposes, the face of Coat Of Arms Pub and Restaurant, the newest and most exciting bar on the Nagoya scene. “But we’re from Canada, New Zealand, all over the Commonwealth. What we want to do is take the best of everywhere.”
So, let’s be clear here… Coat of Arms is no ordinary gaijin bar. The idea, much like that of the Commonwealth itself, is one of multiculturalism, inclusivity, a the bringing together of both the ex-pat and local Japanese communities.
And while it is clear that this ideology is refreshing, it has to be said that their startling look is even more so. Crisp, bright, sunny colors complimented by warm grained wood give the place a contemporary-cum-classic feel not found elsewhere in Nagoya. Yet it’s not just the striking aesthetics that have created the palpable buzz surrounding the Coat of Arms’ imminent opening. These not-so-common Commonwealth commoners have some genuinely innovative and creative plans for Nagoya. Much in the same way that the Commonwealth itself encompasses many diverse cultures from around the globe, Coat of Arms does the same for your drinking and dining experience. But don’t just take Nagmag’s word for it! Let’s go through the checklist shall we?
Looking for an intimate relaxed meal and sick of the usual pub grub? Well, why not sit in the warmly wooden, though crisply minimalist dining area, and sample from their extensive Commonwealth themed menu.
“It’s all about taking bar food and knocking it up a level,” says Jim. “So you’re not just gonna get a regular pub hot wing. You’re not just going to get a regular chicken finger. It’s gonna be a chicken finger extraordinaire, and you’re not going to pay an arm and a leg for it!”
So, forget soggy sandwiches and stodgy fish & chips. You’re looking at spicy chicken sauté, Indian curry, and the one thing that has us here at Nagmag salivating like rabid dogs at customs: proper British Sunday dinner, complete with all the trimmings. Boom!!
But that’s not all, because come special Commonwealth occasions – Australia Day, The Queen’s birthday, Mandela Day – there will be surprise dishes galore to help us celebrate the party times for our far-flung colonial cousins.
Okay, so food’s sorted, and now you’re up for a bevie or two? Don’t forget, Brits love their beer, so there’s obviously a Bass bitter on tap, a Löwenbräu –a knowing nod to the Queen’s true nationality – as well as the fabled Asahi Extra Cold, quite possibly the ultimate in refreshment on a blistering summer’s day. And, should you fancy something a little more adventurous there are beers, wines and spirits from all over the Commonwealth, enough to accommodate all tastes and peculiarities.
So now, you’ve chosen your poison, and you’ve surfeited as would a parliamentary fat cat. Time to watch the match on the tele, so pick a screen (any screen) and get comfy! Coat of Arms has nine huge HDTVs to choose from. Whether it be standing at the bar, kicking back at your table or upstairs in the high ceilinged, open plan lounge area in front of the immense 60 inch screen, there will be always be sports from across the globe. Things will be kicking off with the Six Nations rugby final on the bar’s opening day (that’s March 16th stat. fans!) and the World Baseball Classic this coming month. At Coat of Arms you’ll be able to watch many of the top sports competitions from around the world. Personally, NAGMAG is hoping they’ll be showing India’s Kabaddi Championships, but we won’t hold our breath waiting for that one! (Geddit? Hold our breath? No? Sod you then!)
So, now the sports are over, and you want to hang out with your mates or party into the night to the sounds of one of your favorite local bands. Well, where better to do it than – and NAGMAG is VERY excited about this – on one of Coat of Arms’ very own open-air terraces? That’s right, whether ordering lunch at 11:30, watching the world go by during happy hour, or smashing shots at one in the morning, you can do it all either inside or out on the lovely ground floor terrace; barely a short step through the sash windows to the well-stocked bar.
Of course terrace bars, or – should you not care for sipping One Cup sake with the Harry Ramps in the park – al fresco socializing of any nature is pretty rare in Nagoya, so it wouldn’t be a wild stab in the dark to predict that the terrace (incidentally, the one place smoking is allowed in the bar, which great news for anyone sick of going home reeking like an Icelandic volcano) will be THE place to be this coming spring and summer; quite literally a breath of fresh air in an otherwise smoky and cloistral Nagoya scene.
So, the beauty of New Zealand, the spices of India and the famed hospitality of Canada all tied together with Japanese sense of pride in excellence of service, Coat of Arms – a genuinely thrilling addition to the Nagoya bar scene – truly does encapsulate the philosophy and wonders of the Commonwealth. With that said, though the British have much throughout history to be ashamed of, if they had any hand in the ideological creation of this great pub, then they can hold their collective heads a little higher today.
Coat of Arms Pub and Restaurant’s Grand Opening Week is from March 15th to the 21st with exciting food and drink special all week!!
And don’t miss the St. Patrick’s Day festivities destined to rival all the Irish pubs in town with live music from legendary Irishman Brian Cullen and his band of Guinness-fueled friends, authentic Irish food specials, ¥700 Irish Car bombs, ¥500 cans of Guinness, and mouthwatering Jameson whiskey for the neat price of only ¥500.
Coat of Arms Pub and Restaurant
Nishiki 2-6-12, Naka-ku, Nagoya
Opens March 15th!
Sun ~Thurs 11:30am- 12:00am
Fri & Sat 11:30am- 1:00am
From Fushimi exit 1:
Walk toward Sakae and turn left on the 3rd street. Coat of Arms Pub and Restaurant is located on the left after the 2nd intersection. It’s the place were denizens of the commonwealth are preparing to take their evening tea (a tall pint of Guinness).