Dagashi bars are fueling a sugar high in Japan. They’re candy bars – but in the sense that they serve candy, not that they’re made of it.
Basically, the bars are stocked with lots and lots of inexpensive and retro (circa 1960) candies which adults can pig out on, fulfilling childhood fantasies decades late. The candies often include “chewy soybean candy and pickled squid on a stick.” Usually the bars also offer a selection of other nostalgic, mid century favorites, such as spaghetti with ketchup, along with drinks, like beer.
As is the case with all “retro” trends, the bars are very popular with 20-somethings, in addition to 40+ consumers, who enjoy the novelty of the bars but didn’t live through the era originally. The lure of cheap candy and beer can be a tough one to resist.