Pig and Whistle, Kyoto
From the street the Pig & Whistle doesn't look at all like an English pub; it's located on the second floor of a nondescript building on a typical downtown Kyoto street. What you will find, however, is a busy spot popular with expatriates and travelers, a good place to hang out and share stories and have conversations in English. With so much great food in Japanese restaurants nearby, we didn't bother to try the food, but the menu showed fish and chips, pizza and lasagna etc. There's a good selection of domestic and imported beers and cocktails, but I was disappointed that they didn't have a bitter on draft. The bartender said that would be coming in a few weeks.
Dress Code: casual
After a week or so of Japanese food, I gave in and visited the Pig and Whistle for fish and chips (I'm an American, but I love my 2 and chips). The atmosphere is cheerful and laid-back. Staff are articulate English speakers and seem to truly enjoy British culture. The pub grub is cheap, hot and tasty (but not spectacular). Beer, whiskey and wells drinks flow. You'll bump into Japanese, Americans and all shades of the Commonwealth. Liked it so much, I went twice. Warning: don't bet on darts with drunk Australians. They're deceptively good.
Dress Code: Appear to be a UK university student and you're golden.
The Pig and Whistle is a popular Irish Pub in Eastern Kyoto at Sanjo Station, just north of Gion. This huge bar and restaurant has seats for probably 75 or 100 customers on either side of the bar. The pub does have an authentic feel, though the staff is almost entirely Japanese, and they do employ the odd Japanese ordering system where they make customers walk to the bar to order and pay for drinks. Of the three pubs I've tried in Kyoto--Man in the Moon, Tadg's and Pig & Whistle--this is my least favorite.
Unfortunately they offer no Japanese craft beers, but they do have microbrews from Europe and the U.S. I tried a few beers from the Black Isle Brewery from Scotland, including their Organic beer and the Scotch Ale. The beers were good, but expensive at 800 to 900 Yen each.
Dress Code: Casual