Monday, July 20, 2009

Dansou Cafes

The Metropolis ran an article a little while back on female manga fans - "fujoshi" - that like "boys love" stories. Specifically, it was a feature on the all-female band Fundan Juku, which I had written about in my other blog months earlier. Anyway, they had a side bar on "Dansou" (Butler), and the like, cafes in Ikebukuro that cater to women. I'm running that list here in the hopes that someone will help add to it. I don't get to Ikebukuro often, so I don't know how complete it is, and there's so many places I haven't been to yet in Akihabara that I don't know when I'll visit any of these. To be honest, I haven't seen any of the below places so far.

Ikebukuro Cafes:

One of the first danso cafes in Ikebukuro.
1-31-15 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku. Tel: 03-5957-7297. Open daily noon-9pm. All-male groups can enter from 2-6pm.

80 + 1
The name is slang for yaoi (8 reads “ya,” 0 reads “o” and 1 is “i”), Men are allowed only after 6pm.
3-9-13 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku. Tel: 03-3984-7551. Open daily 3-10pm.

Akihabara Cafes:

Queen Dolce
Hosts lots of tie-in promotions for anime.
3F, 3-15-6 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku. Tel: 03-3252-2031. Open Tue-Fri 2-10pm, Sat-Sun 1-10pm, closed Mon. Nearest stn: Akihabara or Suehirocho.

Good Rock - Boys:Style -
Good Rock offers a wide range of alcoholic beverages.
2-19 Kanda-Sudacho, Chiyoda-ku. Tel: 03-3254-5300. Open daily 3-10pm. Nearest stn: Akihabara.

Just outside Akihabara:

Cafe B’s Prince
Dansou cafe that had at least one "little brother" event. They're apparently tied to the B’s Prince idol group.
5-6-4 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku. Tel: 03-6380-9540. Open 10am-10pm. Nearest stn: Suehirocho.


Butlers Cafe
Not mentioned in the Metropolis article, probably because it didn't meet the author's preconceptions, is Butlers Cafe, which I found on wikipedia. This is a western-style butler cafe with gaijin staff, opened in 2006 by Yuki Hirohata. Check here for the map and address.


  1. Also in Ikebukuro is Swallowtail (, the first butler cafe. It probably wasn't mentioned in the article because it's not inspired by yaoi (the staff are male and they dress like actual butlers). The cafe is so popular that it requires reservations.

  2. Thanks for the heads-up. I'll add this to the over all list. Have you been there? Comments, descriptions?

  3. Would you ever review a butler cafe?

    Just wonder because I love your blog and it has really good info

  4. savannah, thanks for the complement. I've considered it, but I'm not sure how well I'd fit into the environment. I'd be a lot happier if I had a female regular accompanying me for the visit. We'll see, since now I'm running out of new maid cafes to visit.

  5. Wow, this takes me back!! I was living in Tokyo a year ago and spent a lot of time chilling in Akihabara. Queen Dolce was my home base ever since I walked in the first time for a Macross stamp rally event. I was there every week, usually more than once.

    If I was still in Japan, I would have been happy to take you over to Dolce, but I went back to America last summer..

    If you want to check out a Dansou cafe, I would really recommend going to Queen Dolce. It has an unusually high proportion of male customers, and the atmosphere is extremely friendly and playful for a butler cafe. It is very male and foreigner friendly.

    The atmosphere at Dolce is pretty different from a lot of the maid cafes I visited. It's a small place, and the customers at Dolce all generally know each other. The crowd that hangs out there is pretty heavily into video games and mech anime, especially ones like Gurren Lagann and Macross that have lots of events at the cafe.

    If you speak Japanese, you'd have no problems of awkwardness, I think. They can generally handle customers who don't speak Japanese, either, but not many of the staff can speak English.

    If you do go to Dolce, I would LOVE to know! I miss it so much. Tell the staff that "Liz (Rizu)" recommended you go, and I think you might get an icebreaker topic.

    I've been to B:Lily-Rose in Ikebukuro as well, but one of the patrons at Dolce told me that it closed down sometime after I left Japan. I don't know if it's true or not. I found it to be less friendly and a bit more uptight than Dolce. The garcon who took care of me was polite and sweet, but didn't seem to know what to do with a foreign customer, especially before 'he' knew I could speak Japanese. I'm a girl, so I know it wasn't an issue with my gender. Male friends who had been told me they felt a bit out of place though. I'm not sure Ikebukuro is the best place for a dude to start out visiting Dansou cafes, anyway, since they're really expecting 95% female customers.

    I went to Good Rock on a return visit to Japan because I know one of the staff, but it was during their Maid Style time. Something to note about Good Rock is that their butler theme is not its own cafe. Good Rock is a bit more confusing than most theme cafes in Akiba. It functions more like an event at the usually Maid or regular themed cafe. On Good Rock's Boys Style website they announce when they'll be doing a Boys Style day. On other days, Friday-Saturday-Sunday is Maid-theme. The way I understood it, the rest of the days there is no Maid or Boys Style theme at all. Maybe they just wear regular uniforms. I did't get to see the Boys Style because they didn't have an event while I was in town.

    Good Rock (the Maid style, at least) has a nice atmosphere and is fairly cheap for a theme cafe in Akihabara. They have an upstairs and a downstairs. The downstairs is more traditional cafe-like, and the upstairs is apparently a shot bar. I didn't go up since I don't drink. The actual shop is a bit difficult to find without having the map with you. It's on the opposite side of the station from the main chunk of Akihabara and kind of tucked into some smaller streets. I'm not sure I would consider it to be inside the Akiba 'proper,' more like on the outskirts.

  6. Paper_cranes - Thanks for the info and the recommendations.

    This does explain a lot. Good Rock is right next to Zoid, and St. Grace Court. After going to SGC, I'd planned on following that up with Good Rock a couple of days later, but there were no customers visible through the window from outside, the place looked like a regular bar, and while two fairly butch-looking women walked in while I was dithering around, there didn't seem to be anything written on the outside sign board announcing the theme for the night. I'll have to go back now that I know what's going on.

    And I'll probably go to Queen Dolce next. I only have maybe 3 maid cafes left (Little BSD, Little PSX and TenPane). There is supposedly Love Cafe and Pure Heart but I just can't find either of them. Plus, Tenpane is a mahjong cafe and I can't play mahjong. Then that just leaves a handful of bars, like Delusion and bBar, which heat up at night, when I'm working, so I don't know if/when I'll be able to get to them.

  7. Also, regarding B:Lily-Rose, the website does say they shut down on Dec. 24, 2009. (There were a couple of other closings that week, as well.)

  8. Not related to Dansou cafes, but have you been to Gentoukan? It's a maid cafe with a bit of a period feel, if it's the one I'm remembering. It's a bit out of the way and quiet, but it was decorated and the maids were friendly.

    I believe you can stay 90 minutes on a 550 yen drink on weekdays with no counter or table charge, so it's a pretty cheap stop. There's a counter charge on weekends.

  9. Yes, I have. Gentoukan is a nice place, and they'll generally have a period Japanese movie playing on the flat screen TV you can watch while you're there. Definitely recommended.

  10. uwaaa thanks for this information!! we've been in Japan, Toyko, and wanted to go to a dansou cafe, but didn't find one. So now we've got a lot of information THANKS!!
    I don't know why, but after I took a look at their pictures, the staff doesn't seem to be all male. Is it only me or are there girls too?? For example in Cafe B's Prince?

  11. Hi Yashiritaka,

    There's a difference between a "butler" cafe and a "dansou" cafe. Butlers are all-male. "Dansou" translates to "male-like", meaning "women cross-dressing as men". So, yes, most of the staff at a danso cafe will be women.