Thursday, 6 March 2014

Maid Cafés in Tokyo

Lots of people wanted to know about Maid Cafés! However, this post will cover the more generic phenomenon of Themed cafes, that usually get lumped together under the term 'maid' cafes.

What most people think of when they talk about japanese Maid Cafés is something along the lines of the very popular "@Home Cafe":
                                             (http://www.cafe-athome.com/about-english/)
Since the last time I visited, they have expanded the small cafe located inside DonK, and opened a while seperate merchandise shop elsewhere. The interior now also features a stage where Maids will call on people to come and have their picture taken together with them!
This cafe features everything a typical Maid Cafe is expected to: cute girls, in cute maid outfits who welcome you, show you to your seat and play games with you at the table. I ordered bunny cheesecake, and a a caramel latte. The maids will usually ask you what you want drawn on your latte in syrup, or if you order food, what you want drawn in ketchup! Of course I said a bunny!


Almost the exact opposite of the maid cafe is the fairly new idea of Garcon Bars.
One such bar being "Queen Dolce"

                                                 (http://akibakotower.com/queen-dolce/)

These bars are run by 'Garcon' girls - a new fashion aesthetic involving beautiful women dressed as handsome men! The term comes from the french word garcon, but the first part is identical in japanese to the already existsing japanese fashion "Gal". Gal is a purely femminine fashion, Garcon is a form, maybe deformation of that.

I ordered this champagne cocktail "Berry Red".
It was delicious, and made even sweeter by the handsome girl that so charmingly served it to me!
An interesting thing to note, is that the atmosphere of this kind of place is much more relaxed for alternative people that most of japan. This was the only place I saw an openly lesbian couple sitting together, and cross-dressing lolitas openly chatting and having a good time! The 'garcon bar' (often labeled in english as a 'cross dresser cafe'), is a very queer-friendly place to be, and that is a huge step forward!


Most standard Maid Cafe's don't have another theme beyond the cute maids in a cute setting, so what sets The Granvania apart is that it's also a german theme restaurant!

      (http://the-granvania.ciao.jp/index.html)

The maids at Granvnia wear a more typical black and white outfit, but they sometimes have theme days where they will be in cosplay or school uniforms.
The thing that struck me the most was how authentic the food was... usually in Japan, even wetsern styled food is very obviously japanese.
But Granvania seems to have tipped the balance, the soup in the meal set was even Scotch broth!
We visited a few times.

Kind of in-between the typical cute maid cafe, and the traditional style of granvania is "Schatzkiste"


                                                                    ( http://schatz-kiste.net/)
The maids are styled as traditional victorian maids, in mop caps and floor length black and white dresses and aprons. The cafe itself is very small and stacked high with books that are free to read while you eat!
Schatzkiste also runs their own in-house manga, featuring the maids as characters.

The last Cafe on this list is my favourite. The infamous "Vampire Cafe" in Ginza!


                                   (http://www.diamond-dining.com/vampire/top_flash.html)

 Classical music played on an organ is the background music of choice. The seats are all black leather and every table is surrounded in its own heavy red velvet curtains for privacy while you eat.
The maids are in black and white, one even had dyed pink hair and fangs.
I ordered a very strong cocktail and risotto. The food was served on a black, coffin-shaped plate with a real rosebud in the centre as garnish.
Even the bathrooms were appropriately decorated, with blood splatter effect across the mirrors.




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