Sunday, June 23, 2013

4 Unusual Japanese Cafe Concepts

Japan really does takes the themed restaurant thing more seriously than anywhere outside of a Medieval Times.

Here are a few of the stranger cafe and bar concepts you'll find in Tokyo:

1. Nyanron Hanten is a cat/vampire/maid-themed Chinese restaurant in Akihbara. Yes, this is perhaps the first and only usage of "cat-slash-vampire-slash-maid."

Unfortunately, the ambition seems to have exceeded the execution. Despite the cute staff and surprisingly decent-looking mabo tofu, the interior and costumes are nothing special.

Still, there must be some appeal to it since someone saw fit to open another vampire maid bar in Akiba.

Photo: Weekly ASCII
Photo: Moeten
2. Prison Bar Capture in Ueno is a "girls bar" where you are served by women dressed as sexy police officers. (A girls bar is a bar with cute female staff where, in addition to paying for drinks, you pay a fixed charge for however long you stay there, in this case about $20/hr.) The ultramodern interior just doesn't do justice (heh) to the prison theme - a missed opportunity in my book.

3. Girls Office Tokyo was an "office lady" or "OL" themed cafe in Akihabara. In Japan, the term "office lady" (Wikipedia) is a widely-known archetype for women in administrative roles at Japanese companies. The cafe was staffed by attractive young women in business attire, but the bare interior left much to be desired. In any case, the OL-fetish market was clearly not as lucrative as expected since they went under earlier this year.

Photo: Radio Kaikan

That's one sad-looking office. (Photo: Radio Kaikan)

4. Grand Pirates is a pirate-themed maid cafe in Akihabara. The costumes are well-done and while pictures of the inside are scarce, they seem to have done a nice job with the interior design and decorations. I might stop in for a visit next time I'm in Akiba.

Photo: sho Panda

Here's a video showing how to get there from the JR station:

Recommended reading:
  • Twisted Sifter's great round-up of three crazy theme restaurants in Tokyo, a ninja one, a horror prison one, and an Alice in Wonderland one.
  • The Daily Mail's review of the amazing Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku where giant female robots are controlled by real female staff.

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