Upon the launch of the alcohol-free TAP bar in Auckland recently, we wondered how far other bars and restaurants go around the world in order to stand out. And there were some truly bizarre hospitality joints. A bathroom-themed restaurant? Check. A natural-disaster-themed café? Check. A bar where monkeys serve you? Check.
In New Zealand, Grady Elliot recently launched The After Party (TAP) Bar on Karangahape Rd, Auckland, selling alcohol-free beer and wine, as well as mocktails.
Being alcohol free helps it slide past Auckland’s strict alcohol rules and stay open until 6am. Usually, city bars can only stay open until 4am and suburban bars can stay open until 3am.
We cast our eye elsewhere to the weird and wonderful lengths business owners go to be memorable.
1. A coffin bar
It seems the owners of this bar took the phrase ‘drowning your sorrows’ a bit literally, as they’ve created a giant coffin bar to go to post-funeral. The 66-foot long, 20-foot wide coffin bar is called Eternity. A funeral parlour in Ukraine is the brains behind it.
2. A bar made entirely from skeletons
The Museum HR Giger Bar in Gruyeres, Switzerland, is a slightly intimidating place to have a drink. The ceilings are entirely constructed out of fake skeletons, with double arches of vertebrae crisscrossing the vaulted ceiling above the bar. It’s meant to feel like you’ve been transported into the remains of a mutated future civilisation.
3. A prison hospital bar
Continuing on from the same creepiness as the skeleton bar is Toyko’s Alcatraz ER themed restaurant. It merges a prison with a hospital to create a bizarre mix of things you don’t usually want associated with a night out. Drinks are served in giant syringes and to get a waiter’s attention you rattle your booth with a lead pipe.
4. A bathroom-themed restaurant chain
The Japanese are famed for their eclectic taste in ads, food and well, everything - they make quite a few appearances on this list. The Modern Toilet chain that is in Japan, Taiwan, China and Hong Kong is no different. Patrons can sit on a throne, which is (hopefully) non-functioning. They then have their toilet-themed food served up to them out of novelty toilet bowls.
5. A vampire café
Vampires are hot property – just look at True Blood and the Twilight series. But a vampire-themed café in Toyko is taking the obsession to a whole new level. The rooms customers can wine and dine in are vampire-themed and a little bit scary sounding, such as ‘coffin’, ‘alter’, ‘victim’ and ‘blood’.
6. A natural-disaster-simulating café
Do you have an appetite for disaster? Customers at Disaster Café in Lloret de Mar, Spain, are treated to constant 7.8 quakes, with the challenge being not to spill your drink. Apparently the place is so popular, reservations have to be made in advance. Staff wear safety equipment to keep safe.
7. A sake house manned by monkeys
At the Kayabukiya Tavern, the waitresses wouldn’t be offended if you told them they looked like a monkey. That’s because Yat-chan and Fuku-chan are monkeys. The pair of primates were originally pets that watched the bar’s owner wait tables, but they then started emulating his behaviour. They can take drinks orders and deliver them to tables.
8. An aeroplane restaurant
The Jumbo Stay in Stockholm, Sweden, gives you that first class experience first for a fraction of the price – there’s just no flying involved. The stationary, old aeroplane has a café that has both meals and drinks, as well a hostel for people to stay in. It also allows people to walk out on the left wing observation deck and stand on top of its wing.
9. A penguin bar
If you ever had the urge to crack open a beer in an aquarium, this bar is the bar for you. Penguin Bar allows customers to snack on Japanese dishes and sip alcohol, all while observing some penguins dip and dive in a tank in front of you. The bar insists on their website that the penguin’s funny behaviour will cheer you up.
10. Under the sea bar
It’s rare to dine out while a school of fish floats past you, but The Red Sea Star in Israel makes it possible. It’s an underwater restaurant and bar that’s five metres below sea level. The inside of the bar also has a dedicated underwater theme – lights look like starfish and seats look like jellyfish.
This story originally appeared on The Register.