Halloween may have come and gone, but that does not mean that the frightening times have to be over. If you are already missing the combination of cosplay, terror (and perhaps a little tipsiness), why not make your way down to the prison-themed izakaya The Lock Up, just a few minutes’ walk from Nagoya Station, a party location with a difference.
Goodness knows why anyone came up with the idea that the perfect accompaniment to eating and drinking was the combination of a prison, a haunted house and a Victorian ‘asylum’, but as the Lock Up has a number of branches all around Japan, they were obviously on to a winner, and at the Nagoya branch it pays to book in advance.
Your evening starts at the entrance, awaiting your turn to be taken through the prison gates by one of the ‘guards’ in police uniform, hearing the shrieks and screams of other soon-to-be-inmates as they enter. Without wanting to reveal any spoilers, once you pass through the chained doors you should be prepared for anything.
Within the restaurant itself, there are a number of seating options, but if you can you should book a private ‘cell’ for your party as it makes for a much better experience.
There are over 150 food and drink items on the menu, which for some might be a little too overwhelming. If this is the case, it may be advisable to go for one of the party courses, such as the Service Course, with nine light dishes and includes cocktails for 1750 JPY, or the Prison Variety Course with 10 more-hearty dishes for 2500 JPY. If you are particularly hungry you can plump for the all you can eat course for 1980 JPY.
In all honesty, the food isn’t exactly anything to write home about – this is by no means whatsoever fine dining – but it is spookily laid out with plenty of plates coming with egg-and-olive eyeballs, dishes in the shapes of crucifixes and deserts adorned with ghosts and fake blood.
This being an izakaya, you are probably more likely to be into the drink, and here too Lock Up sticks to an eerie theme, with cocktails called Human Experiment Cocktail Set, Xanadu Alien and Culture Hazard served in test tubes, scientific beakers, blood transfusion bags, and hypodermic syringes. There are of course regular drinks, and you can add an all-you-can-drink option for 1100 JPY, plus a further 300 JPY if you want to include the cocktails.
The main draw to Lock Up, however, is not the food or drink, but rather the show, when the monsters, ghouls, and prisoners escape from their confines to terrorize the guests. This is where your cell comes in handy, as you can request that the beasts are kept outside if you have those of a nervous disposition within your party, or you can let them in and get up close and scarily personal.
While it may not be the greatest cuisine in town, and it is all a bit daft, it is certainly a different way to spend an evening, one of those ‘only in Japan’ experiences that you get to tell your friends about and they probably just wouldn’t believe.
If they ever let you out of the cell, that is… Mwaahahahaaaa!
Images: By https://www.lock-up.jp/– (modified)