Butler Cafe Swallowtail in Ikebukuro
Located near Ikebukuro - one of the major stations on the Yamanote line, Swallowtail is one of the best butler cafés in Tokyo.
Without a specific well-known characteristic like other parts of Tokyo: Akihabara – anime and electric town, Harajuku – famous for street fashion, etc., travelers may wonder if they would be better off crossing Ikebukuro out of their must-go list. However, there is one thing that should not be missed in Ikebukuro – having a meal in the famous butler café Swallowtail.
Butler Café Swallowtail
Swallowtail is 10 minutes by walk from 東口(Higashi guchi) / East exit of Ikebukuro station and is located in the basement of Family Mart and K-Books. To get to Ikebukuro station using train, please kindly refer to this guide.
How to make reservation
It is required to make a reservation for any butler café so Swallowtail is not an exception. The reservation site of Swallowtail requires basic Japanese understanding but is quite straightforward. First, please click this link for the English reservation guide. After reading the rules thoroughly, click ご来館予約受付 / Reserve and you will find the available date, time, and table as in the following picture.
Swallowtail offers table for 2 (2名様), 3-4 (3-4名様), or 3-6 (3-6名様) people. Click
After you click 確認, an email with a link to complete your booking will be sent to your email address. From that email, you will have to choose the way you want the butlers to address you (お出迎えの呼び方) such as Ojousama (お嬢様), what they will say when you leave (お見送り台詞) and your mobile number. A final confirmation email will be sent shortly after that and tada, your reservation is confirmed!
What to expect
Don’t worry if you do not speak Japanese because the butlers will try their best to understand and communicate with you.
As soon as you get in, a guy well-dressed in butler uniform will bow to you: Okaerinasaimase – Welcome home. You will be asked for the reservation name and to sit down while waiting for further instruction. As soon as the main door is opened, you will be greeted by 2-3 different butlers who will introduce themselves, carry your bags or jackets and kindly guide you to your table. After you sit down, he will put a navy blue butterfly print handkerchief on your laps, which gives a real princess experience.
After being seated, the butler will explain the menu and the rules of Swallowtail. Swallowtail’s menu and price can be found here. The food they offer change quite often so what you can order will depend on the time of the year. For example, they serve only Madame Butterfly during their 10th anniversary period (19th to 30th March 2016), or Catherine and François dinner set menu in June 2016.
The attentive and polite service that Swallowtail provides is beyond imaginable: There is a small bell on each table for you to ring when you want to call for the butlers. When you want to go to toilet, you will be escorted to the door and back to the table. When you nearly finish your drink, you also do not have to lift a finger as one of the butlers will fill it up for you. They also have small performance when you order certain drink, or when they serve your desert by putting the alcohol on fire and pour the liquid with blue fire onto the ice cream. About 15-20 minutes before your time slot ends, a butler will give you the receipt and your bag to get the money. When you are about to leave the café, a butler will help you put on your jacket and bag, wait for you to check on your makeup in front of the mirror.
At certain time of the year, you may receive some souvenirs from the butlers.
On your way back, don’t forget to check out the souvenir shop right in front of the café. Here you can purchase Swallowtail original goods such as notebooks, handkerchief, tea pots, etc. or butlers’ photo cards. The list of goods on sale can be found here.
Other butler cafés in Tokyo
Different from Swallowtail, the staffs working at Butlers Café are all foreigners thus will give a different but still exciting experience.
Address: Udagawa KK blg 5F, 11-6 udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Closest station: Shibuya
Butler café and Dining – Chikakyuden
Chikakyuden is another butler café located in Ikebukuro but does not provide as much English instruction as Butler Café and Swallowtail.
Address: Luna Osumi Blg B1, 4-6-10, Higashi-ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Closest station: Higashi-Ikebukuro