We check out the “negative cafe and bar,” a soothing space for gloomy people.

“Negative people only.”

That’s what the sign says at the street-level entrance to Tokyo’s Negative Cafe and Bar Mori Ouchi. Sure, it may be in the Shimokitazawa neighborhood, one of the favorite neighborhoods for sociable college students and young adults to hang out in, but Mori Ouchi wants potential customers to know it’s a place specially created for pessimists.

Our reporter Mr. Sato figured he was in the clear on this front, as despite his adventurous lifestyle, he’s also quite in touch with his inner grump.

▼ Mr. Sato, filled with sadness after a bad day at work.

However, Mori Ouchi has another entry requirement, in that only women are allowed in unaccompanied. Men, regardless of personality type, are not admitted unless there’s also a woman in their party. Thankfully, fellow SoraNews24 reporter Ikuna just so happened to be free for the afternoon.

▼ Though she has a warm smile, Ikuna’s heart has been filled with sorrow since her parting with a handsome Uber Eats deliveryman.

So the gloomy cohorts made their way to Shimokitazawa and trudged up the stairs to Mori Ouchi’s front door on the second floor. However, instead of a spartan portal to dankness, the entrance was whimsical and downright enchanting.

Maybe they should have expected that, since Mori Ouchi means “forest home.” The woodland theme continues on the inside with rustic touches and plenty of plant life.

In addition to table and counter seating, Mori Ouchi also has private rooms that are especially quaint, looking like little cabins. Rather than being glum places to wallow in depression, they felt more like reassuringly cozy places of refuge from vaguely defined yet unpleasant things that negative-minded individuals can’t help thinking of.

▼ Some of them even have soothing aquariums.

While there’s some light fare on the menu, you’re allowed to bring in outside food. You are required to order at least one drink per person, though, but for every 300 yen (US$2.85) of drinks or food you order, you get 100 yen off your admission fee, which is calculated as 20 yen for three minutes you stay.

Speaking of drinks, the menu has a large variety of original cocktails with extremely long and unique names, such as:
● On My Birthday, My Mom Sent Me a Melon from the Countryside, and I Didn’t Have the Heart to Tell Her that I Don’t Really Like Melon Very Much Anymore
● The Only Good Thing About My Dad Was That He Was an Earnest Person, But 22 Years Ago He Suddenly Disappeared, Leaving Behind a Letter That Said ‘Pegasuses are Real.”
● Yesterday, I Buried the Cursed Kokeshi Doll Deep in the Mountain Forest, But When I Woke Up This Morning It Was Back on My Shelf

▼ They look as colorful as they sound.

Eventually, Mori Ouchi’s owner came out to chat with us, revealing that he personally built all of the wooden interior accents, and also to tell us about how the negative cafe got started. “People always say that being positive is good and being negative is bad, but I don’t think being negative-minded is such a bad thing. I think a lot of negative people tend to be reserved in their attitude, which is a form of kindness, and I thought it would be nice for there to be a relaxing place for them.”

▼ Mori Ouchi’s owner (left) talking with Mr. Sato

“I opened this cafe in the fall of 2019, but I’d wanted to make a place like this since about 10 years ago,” he continued.

“Wait a second, you spent 10 years thinking about opening a place like this, and then you made it happen, even building the interior by yourself?” Mr. Sato asked in reaction. “Doesn’t that make you a really positive-minded person?”

“Does it? I just like hammering pieces of wood together,” the owner replied. “I think it’s important to do little things that make you happy…but I have a gloomy personality, and I like doing them by myself.”

Honestly, talking to Mori Ouchi’s owner only made it harder for us to figure out whether or not he himself is a negative person, but if you happen to be one, you won’t be judged harshly for your personality here.

Cafe information
Mori Ouchi / モリオウチ
Address: Tokyo-to, Setagaya-ku, Shimokitazawa 32-8, 2nd floor
東京都世田谷区北沢2丁目32-8 2階
Open 2 p.m.-10 p.m.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]