Magic in the Wild West: Hobby Saloon
(UPDATE – Hobby Saloon is in the process of moving their shop to a place with cheaper rent, and will be closed until sometime in September. I will post an updated article once they have re-opened!)
There’s a new place in town . . . a place where whiskey flows like water and Magic cards aren’t the only thing being tapped. This place’s name is Hobby Saloon.
It actually isn’t BRAND new, but it’s new enough. I recently saw this shop’s name appearing on Wizards store locator and was intrigued. It sounded totally different than the other shops I’ve been to before. After talking to some of the staff inside, I learned that the shop actually opened in October of last year (just about the time I started working every day of the week and had to stop playing Magic for a while). As you can see on the shop banner, it’s a Trading Card shop AND a bar.
Right when you walk in to Hobby Saloon, it feels different from any other card shop you’ve been in before. For starters, the nerd sweat and B.O. smell is (currently) missing. It’s nice to have some fresh air when you’re playing cards. Another difference is the amount of space you have when playing. In most card shops, you’re playing on a table with 6 people and space can be extremely limited. At Hobby Saloon, you get to play at your own individual table, and the atmosphere feels more like playing at a restaurant than at at card shop.
Hobby Saloon as a decent selection of single cards and booster packs, but many of them are from the most recent sets. The prices are just like every other card shop in Nagoya. Some cards are overpriced, some are a good deal, and some are at regular market prices. If you’re out comparing prices, it’s worth checking out. The store isn’t always up to date on current prices, so you could end up finding a great deal on a card that has shot up in value at other shops.
Okay, so they have tables, they have cards (including Yugi-Oh and other popular TCGs) . . . why should you visit this place?
Like I said at the beginning, this is a bar and Trading Card Game shop. Because of the special nature of this shop, there is a catch. In order to use their tables (when not playing in a tournament), you have to buy a drink or a single card worth 200 yen or more. Soft drinks start at 200 yen, and after that the prices go up for cocktails, wine, beer, and even hard liquor such as whiskey. Kind sounds crappy, right? You have to buy a card or a drink in order to play there.
But how many Magic shops are open until 2-3 am?
Most if not ALL of the Magic shops in Nagoya close at 9 pm. The only exception is Big Magic, which is usually open until 9:30 pm. Hobby Saloon is open all night, so if you find yourself stuck in Nagoya all night with a few decks and wanting to play Magic, head on over and stay until 2 or 3 am (as long as you don’t mind having to buy a few drinks after 9 pm to stay at the table). I personally think this is a great idea. There are tons of theme bars around Nagoya (Gundam themed, One Piece themed, etc), and a Magic themed bar works. While it’s no Bar Mint in Shibuya, it’s still a nice substitute. It also seems like they have Friday Night Magic every week from 10pm, so you can play your regular one at your local shop from 6-9 then play another one from 10pm-midnight if you feel like it.
How to Get there
From Nagoya: The first time going to Hobby Saloon can be a little difficult. If you’ve been to Osu Kannon, Hobby Station Osu, or Yellow Submarine Osu before, then it shouldn’t be too hard. If you’re coming from Nagoya station, hop on the Yellow Higashiyama subway line and head to Sakae Station. From there, transfer to the purple Meijo subway line going towards Kanayama. Get off at the next stop, Yabacho station and head towards exit 4. At street level you should see an expressway overpass in front of you. Cross the street, walking under the overpass, then turn left and walk up the hill to the next intersection. At this intersection, you should see Big magic on the corner you are at, and a McDonalds across the street. Cross the street and turn a left, walking past the McDonalds.
You’ll walk straight for about a block or two until you see a 7/11 on the corner. Take a right onto Akamon Dori and go straight for about 4 blocks (past the hobby shops and electronics stores), and when you see an intersection with a WEGO store on the corner and a STEP shoe store on the opposite side, you’re close. Cross the street, and continue walking straight. The road will curve a little to the left, but after a minute of walking you should see Hobby Saloon on your left.
From Kanayama: The directions from Kanayama are almost the same. From Kanayama station, take the purple Meijo subway line to Yabacho station, then from there follow the same directions as above.
From both stations it’s about a 20 minute trip or so (including walking). If you want to check out their website for more information, please find it here: www.hobbysaloon.com
If you end up visiting it or playing some games there while in Nagoya, please leave a comment and let me know what you thought of the place. I’ll be posting a link to this article in my “Magic the Gathering” tab at the top of the page, so if you want to check it out later please click on the tab to locate it. Thanks for reading and I apologize for not writing any articles lately, but I’m still trying to figure out this metagame and it can be really frustrating sometimes. I have a few new decks in the work though, so you can be sure I’ll post about them next week sometime. Until then, good luck and I hope that you’re doing better than I am in this crazy meta.