An offshoot of the Japanese love of cosplay and anime culture, in these establishments waitresses dress as French maids and treat customers as their masters and mistresses. While they can be compared in spirit to the concept of a hostess bar, these cafés are completely innocent in nature; these are temples to the cult of kawaii kitsch, with plenty of cloyingly sweet saccharine but no sauciness at all.
Menus tend to be pretty much the same, whichever café you go to: a variety of beverages that are usually served with whipped cream, desserts (also usually served with whipped cream) and staples such as Om-Raisu; an omelette filled with flavoured rice. Wherever possible, your maid will decorate your food and drink; often with chocolate syrup for drinks and desserts and ketchup for anything savoury. Naturally, these designs and decorations will be as cute as possible – expect to see Hello Kitty, Love Hearts and lots more in a similar vein.
Customers can expect to sing silly songs with their maid and to play childish games – a sort of modern and bizarre version of traditional geisha drinking games. Maid Cafés tend to be loud and bright and expect to see a lot of pink and frills. It’s reasonable to say that more often than not, you’ll have absolutely no idea about what’s going on but that’s ok; just go for the fun and enjoy the ride!