Hello again, everyone, this is Aoshiso!
Welcome to Vol. 3, where we will talk about the cabaret club, also called “Kyabakura,” a principle night spot for visitors to Japan.
What Is a Cabaret Club?
The cabaret is a shop where female staff, called "hostesses" or "cabaret girls" arrive at the table and serve drinks while keeping guests company and drinking alongside them. There is usually one cabaret girl per each male guests at the table.
As mentioned in the previous Girls’ Bar article, there are cases where the staff often refuses entry foreigners because due to communication issues caused by language barriers. Unlike girls' bars, cabaret clubs may be more difficult to enjoy when one is unable to have a conversation.
In addition, this may be a slightly difficult concept, but due to the Law Regulating Adult Entertainment Businesses, all staff must be older than 18 years of age and such places must be closed at midnight. If one of these places is open after midnight or a minor is working there, it is probably an illegal establishment and it’s better to avoid it.
Cabaret Clubs’ Charging System
A cabaret club will definitely have a set fee, a service fee, and a tax.
In a cabaret club, there is something called a “set fee” that each shop has. A “set fee” is simply a per-hour charge. In many cases, one set is between 50 and 60 minutes. The set fee includes the cover charge and the house bottle charge. The price range of set fees can range between 3,000 yen to 8,000 yen.
As payment to the cabaret girls, an additional 10-30% of the bill is charged.
This refers to the consumption tax, but in the case of the cabaret clubs, there is a slight difference. A 10-30% tax will be added to the bill on top of the regular consumption tax.
Credit Card Fee
When paying by credit card, many stores will charge a 10-20% credit card handling fee.
If there is a particular cabaret girl you would like to stay at your table, you will need to pay something called a nomination fee. If you do not choose a specific girl you will not be charged this fee. Nomination fees will typically be 1,000 yen to ¥3,000 en.
This fee occurs when the set charge time is exceeded. In the case of the 30 minutes past the set time, it will cost between ¥3000 and ¥5000, and in the case of the 60-minutes, 5,000 yen to 10,000 yen are typical market prices.
Food and Drink Charges
Drink charges are separate from bottle charges that are included in the set price. This charge occurs when you order a drink that is not included in the set, or when you treat a cabaret girl to drinks.
A drink is usually around ¥1500. A bottle costs around ¥4000 and if it is expensive, it costs several million yen. Food has a wide range of prices from 1,000 to 30,000.
3 Caution Points When Visiting Cabaret Clubs
１．Enter the Store After Clarifying the Charges
As mentioned before, since the system differs depending on the shop, there may be cases where charges are more than you imagined.
In addition, there are shops that will rip you off (known as bottakuri in Japanese), and you may be charged an unreasonable amount of money. Although Japanese people often end up in these situations, tourists and foreigners are often targeted as the language barrier and unfamiliarity with Japan are good weak spots to take advantage of.
Be sure to always listen to and carefully memorize the types of fees charged and the prices of the drinks.
２．Do Not Touch the Women
This is an obvious rule, but it is prohibited to touch the women while they are working. The cabaret club is a shop that drinks and enjoys conversations with the girls, not a shop that allows physical contact. If this happens, you will not only receive a warning from the employees, but you can potentially be barred from entry and the police may be notified, so please keep your hands to yourself.
３．Do Not Drink Too Much
When drinking with women, people forget how much time passes. However, it is better to stop drinking after a certain point in a cabaret club. The more time you spend, the more you rack up on your tab. Try to leave the shop in one hour if possible, two hours at most. It is possible to avoid the risk of running a high tab.
Best Spots to Find Cabaret Clubs in Tokyo
Finally, let's introduce some places where it is relatively easy to find cabaret clubs in Tokyo.
Japan's largest nightlife area. This is where the most cabaret clubs can be found lined up. It is also fun just walking by the area.
An area popular with Japanese office workers. There are many popular cabarets clubs. It is popular among a wide age range
A neighborhood representing Japan’s youth. The cabaret clubs are also young and lively here. If you want to meet Japanese Gyaru, Shibuya is a good fit.
If you want to taste a luxury atmosphere, try Ginza and Roppongi. There are a number of cabaret clubs that Japanese celebrities secretly visit. The price is high, but the quality of the staff is much higher.
How did you like it? The truth is, cabaret clubs are sometimes used by Japanese office workers for work related entertainment...a bit strange, isn’t it?
See you again in Vol. 4! Thank you for reading until the very end.
※ This article is a reminder to foreign tourists visiting Japan, FUN! JAPAN does not endorse visiting.