Walk through a dark mirrored hallway and hear screams in the distance, get handcuffed upon entry and dine in a locked cell—these things may not sound very appealing but they're actually keys to The Lockup's great success. Besides the Ikebukuro location I visited with friends, there are seven other branches throughout the country. Japan is home to a number of wacky and curious theme restaurants but The Lockup fits in a very particular genre, that of "haunted prison on the moon."
Come to The Lockup with a group of friends who don't mind being a little spooked and bothered while eating. After being "locked" in your cell, expect to be surprised throughout your dinner with monster attacks and power outages. While of course the show is a bit gimmicky, it's a fun time to scream with your friends and laugh along with your nearby cell mates.
The thing to remember about theme restaurants is that entertainment is the priority and food definitely takes a backseat. The menu at The Lockup is filled with on-theme dinner, drink and dessert options like pasta with eyeballs, skull-shaped chicken and goopy libations served in syringes. The most exciting menu choices are surely the roulette platters where one of the five pieces will be sickeningly spicy. Our group decided on the five piece takoyaki (octopus filled ball-shaped dumplings) roulette. Everyone grabs a takoyaki and hopes they won't end up with the unfortunate piece. This experience is a must for any group of friends dining at The Lockup.
To get the most fun out of your themed dining experience, opt for the nomihoudai (all-you-can-drink) or tabehoudai (all-you-can-eat) options. With a coupon from Hot Pepper, Japan's restaurant discount guide, my group enjoyed two hours of nomihoudai for only 999 yen per person. With this deal we also had to buy five plates of food off the regularly priced menu.
The Lockup is a highly entertaining albeit a tad tawdry and makes for a wacky night out with friends. One night at The Lockup will surely fill your theme restaurant needs for quite some time.