By Brian Fee
Transient

My geek-heart fluttered as the Resident Evil-themed restaurant Biohazard Cafe and Grill S.T.A.R.S. touched down in Tokyo's Shibuya neighborhood. For the unaware, Resident Evil is a survival horror video game that spawned zombified novelizationscomics, and feature-length films. Since it's Japanese, S.T.A.R.S. wouldn't be complete with just a Resident Evil-derived menu (though no “brain” dessert like at Shinjuku's Capcom Bar) and tons of memorabilia. And so, unlike Chuck E. Cheese's, where pizza comes with aweird-ass animatronic theatre show, the centerpiece at S.T.A.R.S. is a life-sized Tyrant that, via 3D projection mapping, “comes alive and attacks,” only to be subdued by the all-female S.T.A.R.S. ANGELIQUE staff's sexy choreography. You just can't make this shit up.

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Dining Out (of This World)

07/20/2012

My geek-heart fluttered as the Resident Evil-themed restaurant Biohazard Cafe and Grill S.T.A.R.S. touched down in Tokyo's Shibuya neighborhood. For the unaware, Resident Evil is a survival horror video game that spawned zombified novelizationscomics, and feature-length films. Since it's Japanese, S.T.A.R.S. wouldn't be complete with just a Resident Evil-derived menu (though no “brain” dessert like at Shinjuku's Capcom Bar) and tons of memorabilia. And so, unlike Chuck E. Cheese's, where pizza comes with aweird-ass animatronic theatre show, the centerpiece at S.T.A.R.S. is a life-sized Tyrant that, via 3D projection mapping, “comes alive and attacks,” only to be subdued by the all-female S.T.A.R.S. ANGELIQUE staff's sexy choreography. You just can't make this shit up.

Think of the potential for other fantastical eateries! Consider Milliways, akaThe Restaurant at the End of the Universe, the time-bending brasserie and titular sequel to Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Obliging cattle that converse before being butchered, mixologist-worthy drinks like the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster, exorbitant prices, and the bestpeople- (or otherwise-) watching...sounds a bit like NYC's Meatpacking District, yeah?

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I'm sure some ambitious local restaurateur could conjure a virtual “Gnab Gib”: the universe-terminating extravaganza enjoyed at Milliways. Evidence: the semi-private “Purple” room of superlounge hellhole Tenjune and the agoraphobia-inducing Great Hall in Buddakan around the block. I despise these places and the surrounding neighborhood, but the American propensity for outsized hyperbole—in restaurants and in life—is limitless.

Unfortunately, Martin Freeman quashed the possibility of a bigscreen Hitchhiker's sequel, so we'll not be seeing Milliways on celluloid anytime soon. All the more reason to consider brick-and-mortar.

Meanwhile, let's think smaller. Cyberpunk novels (and their steampunk cousins) tend to feature awesome, character-riddled booze havens. China Miéville's Perdido Street Station has The Moon's Daughters: your favorite dive bar, if you swap the bikers for “artists, thieves, rogue scientists, junkies and militia informants.”

The opening chapter title of William Gibson's Idoru is the Kafkaesque bar Death Cube K, whose chitinous, surgical, and chilling chambers recall The MetamorphosisIn the Penal Colony, and The Trial, respectively. And though the Black Sun within Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash has a prohibitive door policy and dodgy drug undercurrents rivaling Little West 12th Street, this noirish virtual nightclub is strictly no-drama, hacker-approved.

Given the choice between these and any of New York's countless faux speakeasies (especially one masquerading as a deli), I say without hesitation: So long, and thanks for all the absinthe.

Main image: 4Gamer.net; Milliways via Hitchhiker Wiki