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The Wildest Theme Restaurants (Yes, these are real)

Ninja servers. Neon-lit robots. Toilet bowls for seats. At these 11 trippy restaurants across the globe, anything goes. And we mean anything.

See recent posts by Rachel Beard

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Photo by 2015 Andy Davies/HR Giger Museum


Giger Bar, Switzerland

In the medieval town of Gruyéres, the late Oscar-winning Swiss visual artist H.R. Giger — who worked on sci-fi films like Alien, Dune, Species, and Poltergeist 2 — recreated his creepy fantasy worlds inside this 400-year-old castle. Here, cocktails are served to visitors in throne chairs made with faux bones, under a soaring recreation of an extraterrestrial’s ribcage. Rumor has it the bar is headed stateside in 2016.

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Heart Attack Grill, Las Vegas

Coronary hot dogs with bacon and chili, flatliner fries deep fried in pure lard, octuple bypass burgers with 40 slices of bacon, butterfat milkshakes — while most restaurants across the country are desperately trying to upgrade their menus with more healthy offerings, this Vegas spot advertises its high-calorie dishes with gusto. Scantily clad servers in nurse garb administer Jello shots and wine-bag IVs to customers sporting hospital gowns, and they adamantly enforce the house rules: finish your meal, or receive a paddle smack to your ass. Splitting is prohibited and customers who weigh over 350 pounds eat free. True to its name, one of the diner’s regulars, nicknamed “Patient John,” died of a heart attack outside in 2013. Go America!

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Modern Toilet, Taipei

A golden turd coil greets patrons at this hit Taiwanese chain, where the no-filter bathroom humor could have easily been devised by a team of mischievous second graders. Toilet seats flank bathtub tables, cocktails are served in mini urinals, and spicy curries turn up in plastic toilet bowl vessels. What to order for dessert? Diarrhea with dried droppings (chocolate ice cream), bloody poop (strawberry ice cream), green dysentery (kiwi-flavored ice cream) or hemorrhoid ice (strawberry shaved ice with raisins, marshmallows, mini biscuits, strawberry syrup, and gummies).

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Opaque, San Francisco

Ever had a burning desire to eat in complete darkness? Opaque is a “dining in the dark” dinner party inspired by similar concepts in Europe. In addition to launching in Dallas and New York, the reimagined San Francisco location opens this month. The avant-garde sensory experiment comes with a three-course meal — legally blind servers navigate the pitch-black subterranean space doling out comfort food dishes, while diners chat without the ability to see even their own hand wagging in front of their face. The allure? A meditative meal. Just ask for extra napkins.

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Photo by Conrad Hotels & Resorts


Per Aquum Niyama, Maldives

Sitting 20 feet below the Indian Ocean off Dhaalu Atoll, the newly renovated Subsix — previously a nightclub — hosts champagne breakfasts in eyeshot of hawksbill turtles and moray eels. Guests hop the resort’s private speedboat to reach Niyama Island, where a staircase descends into an underground marine world with anemone-esque chairs, a seashell ceiling, and coral-inspired chandeliers. Go with the seafood, naturally.

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Robot Restaurant, Tokyo

If robot Japanimation sensation Gundam had sex with an EDM concert, the offspring would be this basement restaurant in Tokyo's Shinjuku's Kabukicho district. Every night, three-hour shows starring neon-lit robots, Chinese dragons, and para-para dancers take center stage in front of a raucous crowd. On the menu: bento boxes and canned beer.

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Ninja, New York

Ever dream of stuffing your face while a gang of ninjas perform magic tricks in a faux Japanese mountain village? If so, this underground Tokyo spinoff is your jam. The labyrinth space packs guests into alcoves guarded by lattice doors, where ancient warriors serve flambé tableside steaks and omelets dosed in truffle oil.

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Photos by Ethan Covey and Christa Hamilton


Meow Parlour, New York

Cat nap, anyone? Inspired by the Asian cat cafés that sprouted up in the 90’s, this Soho spot has become a hot reservation for felines, who live here and can be adopted. Visitors often stay all day, using the the space like a Starbucks (Wi-Fi is free). There's a patisserie for Blue Bottle coffee, macarons, and peanut butter chocolate cookies shaped like--what else?--cats.

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Cabbages and Condoms, Bangkok

This business district hotspot dishes out local staples like pad thai and red curry, with a side of family planning. Inside, mannequins don outfits made from condoms and lampshades are fashioned out of latex. Need a quick vasectomy? Pop next door to the owner's health clinic — on the house.

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American Girl Cafe, NYC

Calling all children of the 90s. If the sight of the uber-popular doll gives you a nostalgic pang, head to the creepy American Girl Café (When the hostess greeting is "How many dolls do you want?" you're definitely in a strange place). Everything is miniature, from the sticky buns to the chicken salad cups. Order a Shirley Temple and contemplate the asinine question cards—should handwriting be a graded subject in school? Where's your favorite place to be alone?—to the soundtrack of a never ending loop of Happy Birthday.

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Dylan's Candy Bar, Chicago

This technicolor candyland is every sweet-tooth lover's fantasy. Owned by Dylan Lauren, daughter of fashion designer Ralph Lauren, the 2-story Chicago outpost has every confection you could ever imagine from around the world (gummies, lollipops, Salt Water Taffy, Smarties and hundreds more). Time for that dentist appointment.

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