Jump to content


Photo

AKB48 Cafe


  • Please log in to reply
17 replies to this topic

#1 Philosoranter

Philosoranter

    7th gen member

  • Senpai
  • 31 posts

Posted 15 November 2011 - 08:25 PM

An AKB48 Cafe opened up right next to the JR Akihabara train station in September.


I went twice today. The first time was in the early afternoon, and there was no line. The second time was in the evening after the theater concert had ended, and there was about a 20-30 minute wait to get in. When I went past it last Sunday, there was already a line in the middle of lunchtime, much longer than the one I stood in tonight. I hear that there is almost always a line on weekends, but you can often get in without a wait on weekdays. Last order is 10pm; anyone under 20 must also leave at this time. I think this is because they serve beer.

The way it is set up inside is pretty nice, quite clean and bright. I was reminded vaguely of Hard Rock Cafe: the walls, some tables, and some furniture are decorated with members' signatures and illustrations; there are TVs visible from every seat, playing AKB48 music videos one after another, from many different releases past and present; and when you leave, you pass through a shop full of member goods. In the hall behind the dining area on the way to the restrooms, there is a large handwritten time-line of AKB48's history, as well as official member photos similar to those in the hall to the theater lobby. One thing unlike Hard Rock is that there is a bookshelf full of photobooks and other AKB48 publications that are free to borrow and read while you're in the cafe. :good:

Another thing that's different from Hard Rock is that the music is always from a band you like. :whistle:

When you enter the cafe, the first thing to happen is that a cute waitress in an AKB48-related outfit (event t-shirt or cosplay) will take you to your seat. If it's your first time there, she will explain that in order to allow the most people to enjoy the cafe, each patron is limited to 90 minutes in the dining area. When your time is up, someone will let you know that you have to settle up and leave - you don't have to keep track of your own time there. It is OK to take pictures of the autographs and decorations in the cafe, but it is not OK to take pictures of the waitresses.

The menu has about 18-20 main dishes, split into three categories: A is rice dishes, K is Japanese noodle dishes, and B is pasta dishes. The side menu includes things like potato wedges, onion rings, and namul; desserts are separate, and may be unavailable by nighttime. You should also order a drink - with each drink order, you get to draw for a coaster printed with a member's picture. It's common to see people order multiple drinks for multiple coasters. The "drink bar" includes free refills of cola, ginger ale, tea, and other simple drinks, but you get just one coaster no matter how many times you refill. Specialty drinks include coffees and espresso, teas, juices and juice cocktails. There is plenty of English on the menu as well, just in case you find it necessary. ;)

The waitresses will never put your drink on the coaster, thus saving your souvenir and also completely defeating the purpose of a coaster. :blink:

The most popular dishes seem to be Acchan's curry omelette rice and Yukirin's penne with spicy tomato sauce and seasoned pork. These are practically the only items with member names obviously attached. I had both; my personal preference is the penne, but others said it was too spicy. The potato wedges were also good. I drew three coasters: Abe Maria, Nakata Chisato, and *gasp* Maeda Atsuko. :o

When your time is up and you have paid your check, you exit through the shop. The shop has cookies and other gift foods, as well as goods for each individual member, including stickers, keychains, buttons, straps, dog tags, and clear files. There are also towels for popular members, and a small selection of DVDs and T-shirts for members with upcoming birthdays. I hear that there are some items in the cafe shop that are not sold elsewhere.

In another section of the cafe there is a theater where you eat from a buffet while past performances and other video releases are played on a big screen. I heard from someone who tried it that the theater aspect is all right, but the food was unsatisfactory. Lastly, there is a private room where up to 16 people can meet and have AKB-themed fun (there are DVDs and magazines here, too). The theater and private room are only accessible by online reservation. More information, including a schedule of what the theater will show, here: Private Room | Theater Room. The cafe dining area is the only area accessible without a reservation; however certain cafe tables are available to reserve online if you so choose.

Members also occasionally drop by; recently Sashiko posted pictures on her blog.
----------------------------------------------
Has anyone else been to this AKB48 Cafe? If you have a chance to go, please share your opinions and experiences here. :)

#2 ♦ AyakaMoon ♦♫♪

♦ AyakaMoon ♦♫♪

    Dawa Fangirl

  • Senpai
  • 1239 posts

Posted 16 November 2011 - 02:35 AM

Woaahh!! It all sounds so cool! :omg:
Definitely worth a stop when I visit Japan.
Thanks for writing this awesome description!

Wada Ayaka


#3 Erin.

Erin.

    Graduated Member

  • Senpai
  • 3055 posts

Posted 16 November 2011 - 04:24 PM

Never been there, but it sounds awesome!!! Whenever I get to Japan, this is for sure a must do!

#4 goratnik

goratnik

    Graduated member

  • Senpai
  • 1185 posts

Posted 16 November 2011 - 06:59 PM

It is OK to take pictures of the autographs and decorations in the cafe, but it is not OK to take pictures of the waitresses.

Are they worth it?

Posted Image


#5 Philosoranter

Philosoranter

    7th gen member

  • Senpai
  • 31 posts

Posted 16 November 2011 - 11:14 PM


It is OK to take pictures of the autographs and decorations in the cafe, but it is not OK to take pictures of the waitresses.

Are they worth it?

Most of them are cute. Maybe not as cute as your oshi-mem, but cute. Many of them look, sound, and act like they were scouted from maid cafes elsewhere in Akihabara. Some patrons already have favorite waitresses, and some waitresses already remember regular patrons - I think this is another maid cafe-style thing. The ones in cosplay have high quality outfits, so that's also worth a look. :)

While the waitresses are all in AKB-themed dress, there are a few waiters in suits as well. Something makes me think they only work the night shift. :ph34r:

#6 panda-chan

panda-chan

    5th gen member

  • Kouhai
  • 104 posts

Posted 17 November 2011 - 11:13 AM

This sounds pretty neat!! :good: I'll try to stop by whenever I go to Japan..

#7 Tim

Tim

    :D:D:D

  • Senpai
  • 972 posts

Posted 06 December 2011 - 11:39 AM

This sounds really cool. I must go here when I go to Japan.

Also, was it English friendly, or was basic Japanese needed?

#8 Undirrast

Undirrast

    2nd gen member

  • Kouhai
  • 422 posts

Posted 06 December 2011 - 11:40 AM

In order to go around Japan you'll need Japanese as you know that Japanese English aren't that great... But I believe you will still be welcomed :)
Majisuka Gakuen Summary Site - Summary with pictures for episodes of Majisuka Gakuen 2.
Majisuka Gakuen 2 Casts - Complete translation from Majisuka Gakuen 2 Official Homepage.
Nakayan Quest - Nakayan Quests in English! Starting from Lv. 18.

#9 Tim

Tim

    :D:D:D

  • Senpai
  • 972 posts

Posted 06 December 2011 - 11:49 AM

Well, I currently have basic Japanese and I'm not planning on going to Japan for another year, so I've got heaps of time to learn.

#10 Undirrast

Undirrast

    2nd gen member

  • Kouhai
  • 422 posts

Posted 06 December 2011 - 11:57 AM

Well watch tons of AKB programmes and I'm sure you'll be able to reach daily speaking level by the time you're going again :D
Majisuka Gakuen Summary Site - Summary with pictures for episodes of Majisuka Gakuen 2.
Majisuka Gakuen 2 Casts - Complete translation from Majisuka Gakuen 2 Official Homepage.
Nakayan Quest - Nakayan Quests in English! Starting from Lv. 18.

#11 boinky78

boinky78

    6th gen member

  • Shinmem
  • 58 posts

Posted 06 December 2011 - 09:10 PM

thats one of the first places i wanna visit there

#12 anhh

anhh

    Graduated member

  • Senpai
  • 5584 posts

Posted 21 March 2012 - 10:42 AM

HKT one but...



#13 Zorr

Zorr

    Graduated member

  • Senpai
  • 4978 posts

Posted 21 March 2012 - 10:49 AM

I'm thinking I might try and visit the AKB cafe when I go to Japan next month. Does anyone know if they have the option to pay to get a small polaroid photo with one of the maids when you are there? Most maid cafe's seem to have that option so I guess they do but it's just that I can't see any mention of it.

#14 Philosoranter

Philosoranter

    7th gen member

  • Senpai
  • 31 posts

Posted 03 February 2015 - 06:21 PM

I can't believe it's been over three years since I wrote this review.  Regardless, an update is in order. :noo:

 

The interior of the cafe has been rennovated in the last two years, expanding the shop area and removing the buffet element of the theater area.  The simple cafe area has fewer seats, but the theater area is now open for normal customers whenever Anta, Dare? isn't taking up that space.  If you're not familiar, "AKB48 no Anta, Dare?" is a 1-hour live variety show broadcast every weekday from the cafe's theater area.  They start set-up and rehearsal from around 2pm, the raffle for joining the live audience begins at 3:45 and closes at 4:15, the show itself starts at 5:00, and they are ready to open the area back up to customers by about 7:00. 

 

Anta Dare is piped into the cafe area's TV monitors during the broadcast time, however it can be difficult to hear all the dialogue over the sound of conversation in the cafe.  Also, since the theater area is closed during this time, the customer turnover rate drops immensely.  If you are in line for the audience raffle and plan to watch from the cafe if you lose out, I highly suggest getting a spot nearer to the cafe entrance, as only the first 10-15 people who line up can make it inside before the show starts. ^_^

 

The menu has undergone several renewals in the last few years as well, at one point being supplemented by many dishes taken from members' Google+ posts.  The order system is based on ordering a main dish, dessert, or just a beverage.  The coasters are also renewed periodically, and certain menu items come with a drawing from a set of limited edition coasters.  The staff will inform you of the recommended dish of the day (also announced on the cafe's Twitter account).  If you order the dish of the day while in the cafe area there is nothing special.  However, if you choose to sit in the theater area, choosing the dish of the day grants you one request, to be played on the massive display.  Menu items are designed in consultation with members, with them taste-testing and lending opinions to the decoration and plating concepts.

 

The cafe's other attractions are beginning to show some age.  The drawings framed on the wall are the same as were there 3 years ago, and many of the members that drew them have graduated.  There have been 2-3 group shuffles since then, too - Anna Iriyama's illustration still lists her as a research student.  :omg:  The autographs on the tables are also the same; what is new is that certain graduating members have started leaving handwritten messages on a certain wall on the occasion of their graduation.  Yuko, Mariko, Sayaka, and others have written dated messages to cafe patrons and fans.  It's not every member, though, just the 'popular' ones, it seems.  There are also a ton of new autographs from HKT48 when they stopped by promoting 'Sakura, Minna de Tabeta'; I think Anna Murashige signed in at least 3 different places.

 

I have had occasion to eat in the private room once, too.  It's big enough for a small party (I think of the Chuck-E-Cheese birthday rooms), has its own monitor (you can choose what will play by asking one of the cafe waitresses), and the walls of the room are simply covered with autographs.  There are autographs on the walls, the counters, even under the table for the especially observant.  While the theater room is now available to sit in without prior reservation, the private room still requires reservation as well as a significant surcharge to be paid by the reserving group.  Incidentaly, this room also serves as the members' waiting room for Anta, Dare; during preparations for the show it is not unheard of to see menu items being carried into the room or to see members themselves stepping out to visit the ladies' room across the hall.  It is not exactly a "dressing room", since the members usually arrive in costume by van from the AKB48 Theater nearby. :ph34r:

 

All in all, it's still worth a stop by.  Your food will be overpriced by a bit, is usually tasty and satisfactory in amount if not matching the menu's picture exactly.  There are no "extras" like other concept cafes in Akihabara have; you can't pay extra to have your picture with a waitress.  In fact, you can't pay extra for anything, really.  They assume you're there because you like the AKB48 Group, and to become a fan of a waitress is silly.  If you want to treat your waitress like an idol, go to IWA and buy your waitress some dessert. :good:



#15 Blu-Cherri

Blu-Cherri

    Selfish shooting star, Make my wish come true

  • Senpai
  • 5673 posts

Posted 03 February 2015 - 06:50 PM

Thanks for the review, glad to hear it's probably doing well still.

If I manage to make it over there whilst it's still up I'd definitely want to pay a visit.


E67uDCX.jpg?1


#16 Philosoranter

Philosoranter

    7th gen member

  • Senpai
  • 31 posts

Posted 03 February 2015 - 06:59 PM

Also a little bit about the other cafes in Osaka, Fukuoka, and Nagoya, now that I've visited them all.

 

Osaka:  The Namba cafe is located close to the entrance to the NMB48 Theater.  If you have your back to the arch at the top of the stairs down to the Theater, you will see Namba Grand Kagetsu, a Yoshimoto-operated theater in front of you and to your left; the entrance to the Dougu-suji shopping street should be to your right.  Go toward NGK, and make your way around the building to the right; the cafe is on the side of the NGK building.  It is different from the Akihabara cafe in that you place your food order at a counter and it will brought out to your table.  The decorations are a little bit more stylish (a very little bit), and there are fewer seats and fewer monitors compared to Akihabara's cafe as well.  The main menu is largely the same as Akihabara's menu, but some of the limited edition menu items will be different.  There are autographs on the walls from AKB members as well as NMB members.  It is also worth noting that the shop attached to the cafe is probably the largest and best appointed of the cafe-affiliated shops.  The coasters here are for AKB48 members, however some special menu items may give you the chance to draw from a set of NMB members.

 

Fukuoka:  The AKB48 cafe in Fukuoka is a train ride and two long walks away from the HKT48 theater; it is also not nearly as easy to find as the others, being on a side street several blocks away from Watanabe-doori, one of the main drags of Fukuoka.  I couldn't write directions here; you're much better off consulting a map and working it out to your satisfaction.  The shopfront has two entrances, the left door for the cafe and the right door for the shop.  Once you are there and inside, the experience is much like the Namba cafe location: you will order up front at a counter and items will be delivered. A month and a half before the time of this writing, the cafe featured the standard AKB48 cafe fare; in addition there were several dishes designed by HKT48 members.  The main menu items (beverages) come with an AKB48 member coaster; special dishes designed by HKT48 members come with an HKT48 coaster.  The amount of seating is comparable to the Namba cafe, with the addition of a counter section.  There are monitors playing much the same thing as plays in Akihabara, although the seating layout is a little more stylish. The decorations are mostly HKT48 member autographs, but as you finish up, do take a moment to check out the tray return section: covered in autographs from the AKB48 members that have visited Fukuoka in the past.  (It's also fun to see how many times Murashige has signed in this location, too.) The goods shop is oddly laid out, but the selection is decent.  Be thorough and make sure you're not missing out on something because you haven't checked some of the back counters.

 

Nagoya:  The cafe in Nagoya is very much different than the other three.  While the other three cafes are AKB48 cafes for their various locales, this is an SKE48 cafe through and through, with only a few items in the shop featuring AKB48 members.  First, location: exiting from exit #8 of the Sakae subway station in Nagoya connects you to the Sunshine Sakae building.  The SKE48 Theater is one floor up from ground level in this building, notable for the ferris wheel giving a decent view from the center of the city. Above that is a large Tsutaya (CD and DVD rental shop; entrance to the ferris wheel is also here), above Tsutaya is a floor of mens' clothing stores, and above the clothing stores will be the floor with the cafe.  The menu items were all designed with SKE48 member input, and the coasters you get with your drinks will be those of SKE48 members.  The music videos on the wall monitors will be from past singles or segments from SKE48 concerts.  This cafe is a good place to try local "Nagoya-style" foods, since many of the items were based on some local dish such as kishimen or ankake spaghetti.  The best thing about the SKE48 Cafe?  This location probably has the best quality and highest quantity of member autographs and member messages from any of the cafes in the country - including the Akihabara location.  Tabletops, the backs of chairs, tiny spaces on the walls are all peppered with playful drawings and happy messages.  The General Managers of SKE48 Theater have also left their messages.  The worst thing about the cafe? It is small and seating can be cramped; the floor was remodeled to fit this cafe in a space that used to be used to sell member photos.  The seating turnover can be gruesomely slow on busy days. Finally, this is the only location where members still show up in the cafe itself with any sort of frequency (much easier to do here than the other cafes, given the collocation with the theater). If your travels take you to Nagoya or if you make it into a performance at the SKE48 Theater, it's definitely worth a visit here to observe all the decorations.  As you leave, visit the shop - best source of SKE48 goods, with very few AKB48 items.



#17 AragonDx

AragonDx

    2nd gen member

  • Kouhai
  • 435 posts

Posted 04 February 2015 - 12:08 PM

thanks for the review :D

If I ever had chance to go to Japan, I will visit ALL of the cafe! :D :D


Untitled-1%2Bcopy22.png

Kimoto Kanon - Matsuoka Natsumi - Watanabe Mayu - Yagura Fuuko - Tanikawa Hijiri


#18 pink-ku

pink-ku

    Graduated member

  • Senpai
  • 1784 posts

Posted 18 June 2015 - 02:57 PM

AKB48 Café and more by AKBZine:

AKB48 Shopping Guide to Akihabara
http://akbzine.com/2...e-to-akihabara/

>
Man, you could spend the whole week there...

[thanks to AKBZine]




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users