Leaving this theme restaurant off your list would be … criminal.
Remember all of those times you jaywalked, drove over the speed limit or littered, but never got caught? If you’ve ever wondered about what might have happened had you been thrown in the clink, here’s your opportunity to find out. At The Lockup izakaya (a Japanese pub-style dining establishment), diners are greeted at the doors with handcuffs and charges before being escorted by the prison warden to their new homes-eerie prison cells. So, pull together all of that knowledge you’ve gathered from binge-watching prison shows … you’re about to put it to use.
Although The Lockup has a few locations throughout Tokyo, you can be assured that whichever restaurant you end up at will supply a punishingly spooky atmosphere. Darkness, winding hallways, cold gusts of air and the chilling screams of fellow inmates all greet brave patrons, while also immediately putting them on edge. After being stopped by “prison staff” at the entrance, visitors can expect to be treated like criminals, housed in cells complete with slamming doors. The only difference? This food is worth the consequence! Just one piece of advice, should you decide to make the trip: bring company. Nobody likes to be in solitary.
The atmosphere and décor are not the only prison-themed aspects at The Lockup. As you sip on your cocktail or take a bite out of your food, try not to be overly alarmed when the sirens start blaring. Throughout the day, a live-action show takes place right before your eyes. Be witness to a creepy prison break—but, word of warning: I would keep to my cell!
When it comes to price, remember, this is a theme restaurant, so you can expect to pay a bit more than you might at a regular izakaya. All guests are charged a cover of about $5.50 on top of the regular bill. And, although the menu prices are comparable to other theme restaurants, they are more than the average restaurant. Put simply, if you want to have a large, gelatinous, fake eyeball in your martini (mmm….), you’ll have to pay for it.
While on the topic of drinks, fun cocktails abound at The Lockup—and I’m not talking about jailhouse hooch. Both non-alcoholic and alcohol-infused options are available with prison-themed names and intriguing presen- tations—why not play scientist and try mixing your very own concoction from a number of test tubes? Or, sip your chosen beverage from what appears to be a surgical-grade syringe—yum! And, while you’re enjoying your drink, spend some time perusing the menu. You will be pleasantly surprised by the number of choices, spanning from the pancake-like okonomiyaki, to curries, chicken dishes and even some dishes that are more common to us Canadians, like pizza and burgers. In this prison, the inmates are fed well! Plus, with all staff fully decked out to fit the prison scene, you’ll have non-stop entertainment whether you drop in for lunch, dinner or drinks. If you’re struggling to grasp the Japanese language, no need to stress: ask your guard for an English menu. Depending on behaviour, the guard may comply!
Like all theme restaurants, The Lockup can be a busy place. If you’re planning to scratch this one off your list, best to make a reservation to not be disappointed. For the ease of the diner, all reservations can be made directly on the restaurant’s website. Failure to do so could result in punishment … or missing out on a fun experience!
- “All day” is prison lingo for a life sentence…. Yikes
- The typical Japanese prison follows a diet made up of 1,500 calories per day for each prisoner
- “Jackrabbit parole” means a prison escape
- In 2012, Japan had its first prison escape in 20 years when a prisoner managed to scale two high walls
There are 16 locations across Japan, with six of them in and around Tokyo area. Addresses and opening hours are listed on their official website.
Enter the building and look for the creepy stairs! Terror awaits!
Grand Tokyo Bldg. B2F, 33-1 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya, Tokyo
Mon–Thu: 5 pm–1 am Fri: 5 pm–4 am
Sat: 5 pm–5 am
Sun: 5 pm–12 pm