Isn’t it boring to get the same old latte in the same old cafe, day in and day out? Yeah, it is, but because life is often weird and sometimes even a little bit wonderful, more and more themed cafes have been popping up across North America. If the rest of the world has a bit of a jump on us (um, hello—Switzerland has not one but two dedicated to Alien visionary H.R. Giger), we're catching up. So put down that boring ‘spro, hit the road, and seek out some of these coffeehouses.
Uncle Tetsu's Japanese Angel Cafe
A huge trend in Japan, the maid-style cafe has finally come to Toronto. For those unfamiliar with the concept, it’s like if cosplay and theater had a baby in a bakery. At Uncle Tetsu’s, the waitresses dress in J-Pop-friendly maid costumes while serving up slices of Japanese-style cheesecake and huge matcha lattes. Evenings and weekends are when the real fun begins because you can be treated to one of the staff's choreographed, delightful dance routines. The whole thing is deliciously campy and over the top.
Holy crap! Once again, Toronto has adapted a trend from Japan, because—well, it's a long story. Owner of Poop Café Lien Nguyen has said she's “trying to make poop cute,” and the cafe has done a good job at not shitting the bed on that front. Chairs take the form of toilet seats, while latte mugs are shaped like (you guessed it) toilets themselves. If your stomach is strong, this is where shit happens!
Los Angeles, California
If you are wondering what could have possibly topped the surreal Ukrainian Fest today, well, the answer is a meal at CAFE JACK… Located in Koreatown on Western Ave, just north of Wilshire, this Korean restaurant opened in 2007 and is a tribute to the movie Titanic. It is shaped like a giant boat and is so amazingly cool, bizarre, kitschy & surreal that I can't stop smiling. In fact, my Freudian slip is to keep calling it Happy Jack. ❤️ #nikkisoddballarchitecture
Fans of Titanic—the movie or, you know, the ship itself—need to visit Café Jack. Located in the middle of Koreatown in Downtown LA and housed in a replica ocean liner, the cafe is the vision of superfan Jack Shin (who's also a practicing psychic and Tarot card reader). Customers even get to drink and eat in small, private “cabins.” Throughout the ship, you’ll find movie stills, publicity shots, and weird fan art that Shin has accumulated through the years. Café Jack is the king of the world!
The Moonfyre Café
Miss Pixie Fyre, a professional dominatrix, is having a side of BDSM with her coffee. While The MoonFyre Café is not the first kink-inspired coffee shop, it is a space where coffee is approached with just as much care as the play. While many may fail to see the intersection between coffee and BDSM, for Fyre it’s a natural connection, explaining to Willamette Week that “aftercare is a big part of the lifestyle,” so providing coffee and tea was to help her clients connect with each other after a session and talk about the experience. We’d have to say there is nothing vanilla about this.
Tragic Update: The MoonFyre Cafe has been forced to change venues amidst much drama, reports Willamette Week.
Comic books and coffee? It’s basically the perfect combination! BAMF Cafe co-owners Nicholas Springham and Melissa Murphy have created the cafe of every kid's (and many big adult's) fantasies. Inside you can drink all the coffee you want and buy all the vintage and present-day comic books—along with other geek paraphernalia—your heart desires. Each month, BAMF throws in-house events like movie marathons (the kitschier, the better) and TV parties (Doctor Who or RuPaul’s Drag Race, anyone?). Don't miss the cafe's ever-changing window display, which features action scenes from comics and manga and witty pop culture references.
Café Chat L'Heureux
It would be shameful not to include at least one cat cafe, so here is a good one: Café Chat L'Heureux, one of the first to open in North America. The big attraction is that patrons can pay a cover charge to play with cats in a supervised area. It’s a cute little place but remember the food/coffee area and the cat area are entirely separate. Rules are rules: no kittens allowed at tables! But the cafe's eight cats were all adopted from local shelters (in part for their friendly personalities), and the space is super welcoming, laid-back, and comfortable—perfect for a first date because, be honest, if you don't like cats, we're not going out again.