Kyabakura hostess clubs, where men pay to spend time with a girl who will pour their drinks, light their cigarettes, and generally lavish them with attention, are a common sight in Japanese cities. The equivalent for female customers is a host club, where women can be waited on by smartly-dressed male hosts. A newer addition to Japan’s nightlife scene are cross-dressing bars, which fulfil a niche gap in the industry.

At Bar Prince, in Tokyo’s Nakano ward, the boyish-looking staff in ruffle-trimmed “little prince” outfits are all cross-dressers. The bar operates a strict women-only policy which extends to staff as well as patrons. At hostess clubs, the customer is king: but at this club, the stated mission is to treat every customer like a princess.

The café-bar, which opened in 2012, describes its customers as “o-hime-sama” or princesses. The cross-dressing staff, meanwhile, are referred to as princes.

▼ Bar Prince’s staff lineup. The swept-over coloured hair is typical of hosts, but the snazzy ruffled outfits are original.

This isn’t only a night-time venture, though: it’s open from 3pm for café time, with a menu including “princes’ homemade pickles” for 600 yen (around US $6), and maid-café staple omu-raise (rice omelet) with a picture drawn on it (1,000 yen [$10]).

▼ We think it’s fair to say the princes are prettier than the omelets.

▼ This one’s pretty cute, though!

If you don’t fancy somewhat expensive omu-raisu, you could get cake instead, also with a picture drawn on it (hopefully not in ketchup). Of course, the bar also offers drinks, including non-alcoholic offerings like coffee hand-ground by a prince (1,000 yen [$10]).

▼ You can also follow your favourite prince on Twitter, or on their personal blog.

▼If you’re lucky, you can even take a picture with them! … and by “lucky”, we mean “willing to pay extra”.

▼ The uniforms were designed exclusively for the café-bar, and are appropriately princely.

▼ Here they are in real life!

▼ The decor is pretty swanky, too. Just add customers (and princes to pour drinks and lavish attention on them).

Source: Nakano Keizai, Bar Prince
Top image: Bar Prince via Twitter  Other images: Bar Prince, Twitter