In Japan they have these restaurant/bars called “Maid” cafes where women in frilly maid outfits serve male customers. Not as sexy as you might think though- this is no strip club. Mostly they giggle and pout and call the guys “master”. We heard from one former patron that it was “creepy”. Also most of the food is shaped like cute bears and kitties.
Girls can go in too, but my sister and I decided to seek out the male equivalent and found ourselves at “Butlers Café”. Given what we’d heard about maid cafes we were prepared for an uncomfortable experience, with lots of giggling and trying not to openly mock our butler servers. Especially after reading the website (www.butlerscafe.com) which explains:
In order to see the smile of the Princess of Japan, elite players who graduated with honors from Butler University in each country, gathered in Butler’s Castle. Deep in the quiet forest birds are chirping, Butler’s Castle is on the mezzanine location overlooking the beautiful lake.
That want you to feel happy and, in spirit more princess us. This is the wish of most of our Butler.
To modern, princess who live in active also need healing and relax sometimes.
To have a “secret” to shine more your smile. Princess of everyone, please come to Butler’s cafe all means.
After a lot of searching we found Butlers Café on the 5th floor of a pretty grungy building, the other floors being occupied by cheap restaurants and bars. Not quite the mezzanine floor of a castle overlooking a forest and a lake as the website promises. We took a cramped, dark elevator up to the 5th floor and were in hysterics when the doors opened.
Fake flowers, hearts and plaster cupids everywhere. Classical music playing in the background. A white-gloved butler in black coattails greeted us, saying “Hello, my princesses” bowing low and taking our hands, escorting us to our table.
Um, OK. I could get used to this.
Butlers Café hits some deep, subconscious girl trigger. You can’t help but love it. It was like when I’d resisted reading the Twilight series and everyone was swooning and telling me how much I’d love it and I was convinced I’d totally think it was dumb. I was only going to read it ironically. But I gave it a try, fell in love, and now own a life-sized cardboard cut-out of Edward. Butlers Café is like that. You know its ridiculous, but Oh MY God I get to wear a tiara that a butler puts onto my head!!! EEEEE!!!
Add to that the little bell on the table that you ring when you want anything and all of the butlers say, “Yes, my princess!” Or “prince” if you happen to be the gay couple that dined at the table near us. Butler Café don’t hate. Also, the toilet must be called the “powder room” and a butler must escort you there. They place napkins in your lap, pull chairs back for you, write your name in chocolate on your plate, and bow to you…constantly. And it all adds up to awesome.
No pictures of the butlers can be taken, but you may take pics of your food, they’ll take pics of you, and for an extra fee you can get a “lift” pic where they will carry you in their arms for a photo op. My sister and I decided not to get a lift pic, tempting though it was, because we were pretty sure none of the butlers could lift us. They were a bit on the scrawny side. And since one of the main goals of the café is to give women a chance to practice their English, all of them are foreign. So our butler, Butler Jeffrey, though he spoke in slow, over-enunciated English as though we had learning disabilities, was actually from Oregon. After an evening with us his English began to return to normal, but it was sad to see the effects of Butler Academy on his speaking normal skills.
Oh that’s right, Butler Academy. The story goes that Butler Café doesn’t take just any run of the mill butler, it only accepts the crème of the crop from the world’s most prestigious Butler Academies. Right… That was even harder to believe since another server, Butler Leo, appeared to be suffering from a minor form of leprosy. Or had gotten into a fight with his razor. Either way, sizable strips of his face skin were missing and he seemed dizzy and to also be struggling with speaking English himself. Hmmm…must have been slim pickings in the butler graduate world this year if that guy got hired.
In any case, maybe it was the delicious rose flavored cocktails with rose petals inside, or the pink toilet paper, but Butler Café won us over whole-heartedly.
The worst part was leaving…because it was awkward.
After paying our bill, Butler Jeffry announced that he heard our carriage outside and took our purses, and the head butler and Leo escorted us to the elevator. When the doors opened, we were met with three confused Japanese people who were coming from a normal bar the floor above. They waited while our butlers bid us a long and flowery goodbye, with bows and a special surprise of chocolates…which they nicely gave to the people in the elevator for having to wait. They were totally perplexed but took the chocolates. Then all 3 butlers- Butler Jeffrey, the head butler and Leprosy Leo bowed. Low. We were looking at the tops of their heads and they stayed that way for a good 10 seconds until the elevator doors closed, at which point my sister and I, and our 3 elevator friends, burst into hysterical laughter. There was no way to really explain that, even if we spoke the same language.
It seemed so sad to stroll back into the street, just a normal girl. But as they say at Butlers Café, “You don’t have to worry Princess, because we know that you’re always and already a Princess, Princess.” Thank you Butler Café, thank you.