Last year Capcom and Passella Resorts collaborated to open up a Capcom themed bar in Tokyo. The menu features all sorts of Resident Evil, Monster Hunter, etc themed food and drinks, sells merch, and has kiosks setup to play the most recent Capcom games while you hang out.
I'd been wanting to check the place out since it opened, and decided to finally hit it up on Friday night since most of my regular crew happened to all be in Tokyo at the same time. Would Cap Bar be an awesome fusion of gaming and boozing, or an overpriced gimmick? Read on, young ones.
When I heard Cap Bar was located in Shinjuku, I wasn't expecting it to be right in heart of Kabuki-cho. This is Tokyo's infamous red light district, and the largest in Asia. If you've played the Yakuza games, you'll recognize this as the area fictionally represented in that game as Kamuro-cho. It's also been featured in many Japanese films, and despite being cleaned up slightly after the start of the new millennium, is still home to reportedly over 1000 Yakuza members who control many of the districts seedy businesses.
When we arrived at Cap Bar, we were informed that the bar was completely full, and we would have to wait about two and a half hours to enter. Indeed, the table seating list appeared full and had "STOP!!!" written in English on it. We decided to get some cheap beers from a convenience store, and wander around the streets aimlessly drinking, exploring the various busy streets and corridors in the area. It took less than one minute of walking down one of the main streets before we were being chased by touts. They would offer to escort us to their establishments, where we could indulge in pretty much anything we request, from strippers and drugs, to full on sex, if we had the cash to throw down. We had some fun leading on a few of these guys and looking at "menus" before continuing on our way.
After some random drinking on the streets and hitting up a few random bars, it was time to head back to Cap Bar and see if it was going to be a good time, or if we'd just wasted most of our evening trying to get in. When we arrived we were seated outside the closed door to the bar, where some other people were waiting to get in as well. It seems they prefer to have a big group enter all at once to much cheering and fanfare from the staff. They were certainly energetic and enthusiastic enough about it, and the head waiter went into a rather lengthy speech introducing us to the bar before we were able to place our orders.
We were surprised that it was a rather small establishment after entering, but the vibe was right. The room was filled with posters, merchandise and advertising for various popular Capcom franchises. LCD screens with PS3s populated the walls of the room for easy access to play demos. They even let you take the controller to your table so you can play while sitting at a distance with your friends and enjoying one of the many interesting cocktails on the menu. I opted to go with the Resident Evil themed G-Virus drink, which came with a brain shaped ice cube, and a syringe full of a purple colored liquid to mix in. It cost ¥700 yen (about $7.20) and tasted like sugar candy, but it was interesting.
We probably had more fun playing with the syringes and re-purposing them for drinking beer despite their "single use only" labeling. Beer was a reasonable ¥500 per a mug, and we continued our evening on those as opposed to any further special cocktails.
Switching over to food there was Street Fighter themed fried chicken, and a Resident Evil themed brain dessert that I couldn't resist trying out. It was actually really awesome tasting, with a cranberry sauce added on top for some extra flavor. The overly friendly waiter even wanted to get in a picture with me and the dessert. I was going for my best "psychopath with a knife about to eat a brain" look.
After indulging in plenty of the food and drink options, we're getting a little bit drunk (actually, we were drunk before we got here) and decided to start playing some videogames. There was a girl next to me completely kicking ass at the new Devil May Cry, and I offered a complement which was met with a bored "Nah, I have this game at home."
I was getting into some 1943 on the newly released Capcom Arcade Cabinet, but I wanted to see what else they had on the PS3. I hit the PS button to check the installed games list and found Asura's Wrath. That seemed like it would be more interesting at the time so I went to switch it, but a staff member swiftly cut me off and told me I was "pushing the wrong button to shoot."
Overall we had a blast at Cap Bar, but it still felt like a gimmick to get people inside. It's not a bar you'd probably want to hit on a regular basis, and I doubt they have any return customers to be honest. For a few gamers looking for a fun night out related to our favorite hobby though, it was a good time, and the prices were actually reasonable for the most part.
Before leaving, they gave away a download code for Capcom Arcade Cabinet (which one of us won) and we all got a 500 yen off coupon to use if we ever go back. We probably wont, but if you happen to be wondering around the biggest red light district in Asia, there's worse things (literally) you could do than hit up Cap Bar.