Perhaps while wandering near Tits Park, you’ve come across the innocuous skull and crossbones sign announcing the presence of The Lockup. Though only one of many locations across Japan, it is not an experience to be missed. The commitment to a horror-prison themed restaurant from the staff, menu, and ambience leads to a fun and memorable adventure.

 

Getting In

 

Across from a カラオケ館 is the entrance to The Lockup. There is a skull you can paw near the entryway to the elevator. After your ride up to the 3rd floor, a staff member will ask if you have a reservation and your party size. Reservations can be made online at https://www.partners-dining.co.jp/reservation/form.php?reservation[stid]=4 or you can call at 078-327-7757 if you are confident in your Japanese abilities.

 

You will be ushered into a room that would have an epilepsy warning in America, then into the main dining area. Yet another staff member will ask who among you is the worst person and what their crime is.

 

All staff at The Lockup are dressed as police officers, prisoners, or monsters. Due to this, you are not allowed to wear school, police, or prisoner uniforms. Keep this in mind if you decide to visit around Halloween and are also dressed up.

 

Food

 

Shortly after you order, you will receive service popcorn, comprised of three flavors: salted, caramel, and cheese. All are quite delicious, especially if you forget that they are probably covered by your table charge.

 

My favorite foods on the menu are the Camembert cheese potato もち, the fried cheese (some of which have pepper in them and are amazing), and the French fries, for which you can pick a powder. Clearly, I have a health conscious mind.

 

Other foods on the menu are many and varied, which is maybe why the quality isn’t spectacular. For appetizers, the chopped salad has a salty dressing and is good, “but it’s still a Japanese salad, so I give a C,” as said by a dining companion, and the Devil Eye Eggs were enjoyed by those who consumed them.

 

GuillotineChicken
Guillotine Chicken

Main courses were more hit or miss. The Zombie Entrails Yaki doesn’t look quite like its advertisement and has a mysterious protein that may have resulted in an upset stomach for another one of my fellow diner/prisoners. The Napolitan spaghetti is acceptable. Two of the dishes take a while for the kitchen to prepare, and while the Guillotine Rotisserie Chicken is great, the Steak Torture Iron Maiden is quite overdone. The signature sauce it comes with is a delicious addition to the taco rice, which is otherwise unremarkable and, unsurprisingly, can’t hold an olive/cheese eyeball to what you can get in Okinawa.

 

Non-liquid sweets I’ve tried were the Exorcist Parfait, which is cloyingly sweet, and the Fondant Chocolate. The latter should be split between at least three people as the richness makes it unpalatable past a couple of bites. Also, I do not recommend eating the eye.

 

Drink

 

More sugar than anything else, the drinks of The Lockup are nevertheless delectable. On the less entertaining side of the menu, I’ve only partaken of the Assassination Syringe. It is Calpis with blood orange juice and is refreshing, though it looks less than such when mixed into a muddy mess.

 

The fun drinks are served in a variety of methods. The most illegal (at least in America) is the Capsule Bomb. These look like pills and, as such, should NOT be chewed. You have been warned. Everything else I’ve had was delicious, though with the exception of the Jack Honey Highball, they’re also pretty weak. Served in syringes with beakers are Dark Shadows, Interview with the Vampire, and the aptly named Chocolate Syringe (also comes with marshmallows!). The Mukichoueki (mango and strawberry over cotton candy), Mummy Dress (berry watermelon), Sixth Sense (caramel corn, iced tea and milk), Psychopath Medusa (green apple and ginger with sour candy; eyeball also not recommended), and Devil’s Blood Transfusion are the most intriguing presentation-wise. The last one is especially amusing to play around with.

Ambience

 

The dim lighting and prison bars surrounding most of the tables lend to a deceptively intimate experience: it was fairly easy to forget other people outside of your cell are there. I also greatly enjoyed their music selection. Muse’s “Dead Inside” hit my soft spot big time.

 

At some point during your meal (so long as you stay long enough– perhaps around 90 minutes?), you will be treated to a show that makes the horror-prison theme make as much sense as it can. You can join the armada of screaming Japanese women, or you can interact in more exciting ways. One werewolf was touched by our offer of fries and a fancy skeleton wordlessly requested a dance (ignore the fact that the cells are much too small for such antics to actually take place). If you decide to reserve the birthday package, you’ll receive an intense cake, a hat, and a silly song that contrasts hilariously with the rest of the performance.

 

All in all, though the food is forgettable, the sheer ridiculousness of The Lockup is definitely worth an evening of your time. Bad boys and bad girls, monsters and criminals, angels and devils: all are welcome to be imprisoned.

 

Brittany Teodorski