First Barbie-themed Restaurant Opens in Taiwan [Video]

An official Barbie-themed restaurant in the Taiwan’s capital city Taipei opened a few days ago.

During her 54-year existence Barbie has inspired many things including Barbie Cafe, a restaurant dedicated to the doll.

Taiwan restaurant company Sinlaku opened the Barbie Café on Zhongxiao road, which is considered to be one of the busiest shopping districts in the country’s capital.

The café’s decoration, estimated about up to TW$50 million (US$1.7 million), is mostly in suitably Barbie-style magenta and pink.

As CNN reports, the furniture of the incredible place couldn’t be more ‘Barbie’ as it is – bar tables remind the heel of a stiletto, chair backs resemble bustiers and chandeliers are shaped likhas a shape of the elegant teapots and teacups with saucers.

In the restaurant a gigantic Barbie box allows to step in and feel like a packaged up, life-size Barbie. It’s quite obvious that waitresses wear tutus and tiaras while their male counterparts look like Ken, Barbie’s on-off squeeze.

US toymaker Mattel has licensed the Barbie Cafe as it hopes that the new place in a bustling shopping district in the capital Taipei will help promote Barbie as a fashion brand.

“We picked Taiwan because theme restaurants are very popular and successful here. We are very confident that the Barbie Cafe can promote our brand image,” said Iggy Yip, a senior manager in Mattel’s consumer products division in Greater China.

Local office worker Jessica Ho, who has a five-year-old daughter, approved the idea of the unusual restaurant. She said, “My child and I both love Barbie and this lovely and cute place is like a dream come true for us. I will take her here to celebrate her next birthday.”

Mattel’s offers the Spa to Fab Barbie and the career-inspiring I Can Be Pancake Chef Barbie, as well as 22 dolls themed around the beauty industry. Barbie has consistently come under attack for presenting an unrealistic image of femininity to young girls.

Rhiannon Williams, editor of feminist website The Vagenda Magazine, commented on the café:

“I cannot imagine anything less pleasant and more nausea-inducing than a Barbie themed restaurant. Not only because I prefer low-impact environments and none of the major food groups are pink for a reason, but also because Barbie is an outdated model of stereotypical femininity and needs to die a death.”

The country is already familiar with Barbie fashion as it used to be a manufacturing centre for the dolls until Mattel relocated its production lines to China and other countries to lower costs in the late 1980s, writes The New York Daily News.

Mattel had launched a Barbie concept store in China about four years ago, as it celebrated the 50th anniversary of the famous brand, but it was closed down after two years amid reports the outlet failed to get off the ground.

According to reports, Sinlaku doesn’t hide its plans to open a second Barbie Café in the central Taiwan city of Taichung and aims opened similar restaurants in Shanghai, Wu ke-jing.

Sinlaku also owns a Hello Kitty-themed café in Taipei, which was opened in 2008. The Hello Kitty restaurant is slightly more expensive than Barbie Café with mains from TW$400 (US$14) compared to Barbie Café’s mains from TW$250 (US$8). You can read our review of the Hello Kitty restaurant below.

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